The Third Meeting of the OSCE Asian Contact Group in 2018 was co-organized by the Chairperson of the Asian Contact Group and the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan on October 01, 2018 in Vienna with a dedicated discussion on Afghanistan entitled “Regional Cooperation and Women’s Economic Empowerment”.
The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Florian Raunig from Austria as the Chairperson of the Asian Contact Group for 2018 and opened by H.E. Thomas Greminger, the OSCE Secretary General. The Secretary General highlighted key pervious, ongoing and planned activities for Afghanistan under the OSCE and stressed the importance of continued support to Afghanistan as an important Partner for Cooperation.
The meeting continued with a presentation on regional connectivity by Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Director General for Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a speech on women’s economic empowerment by H.E. Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel, Ambassador of Afghanistan in Vienna.
Other speakers in the meeting included Mr. Daniyar Seidaliyev, Deputy Director of the Department of the Americas, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Mrs. Ermelinda Meksi, Deputy Coordinator of OSCE Economic Activities.
Mr. Soroosh explained about key Afghanistan-centred regional projects with the OSCE Participating Countries serving as the main stakeholders including the Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement. He further elaborated on the prospects for collaboration between the OSCE, RECCA and HoA-IP in areas such as policy coordination, investment promotion, research and capacity building with respect to regional trade and connectivity.
Ambassador Ebrahimkhel spoke about the policy and institutional frameworks for women’s economic empowerment in Afghanistan as well as the ongoing efforts and achievements at both national and regional levels including in the area of women’s entrepreneurship development in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been a Partner of Cooperation under the OSCE since 2003 and is actively engaged in the OSCE’s activities including those implemented by regional centres and field offices in Central Asia.