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Afghan President Urges ECO Nations To Tackle Terrorism --> Opening ceremony of the ECO ministerial meeting in Herat (RFE/RL) October 20, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- President Hamid Karzai said today that Afghanistan and its neighbors must launch a "joint campaign" against terrorism in order to fully benefit from their natural resources and develop trade.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports that Karzai made the comment during a meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in the western Afghan city of Herat.

ECO groups together 10 countries from the region and the Herat meeting marks the first time in decades that Afghanistan has hosted such an intergovernmental gathering.

During the four-day conference, which ended today, ECO representatives discussed investment, transit and transport facilitation, energy, trade, exploration as well as export of hydrocarbons.

Karzai said Afghanistan, where Taliban-led militancy has intensified in the past two years, could serve as a bridge bringing the 10 ECO nations together. Karzai said Afghanistan, through its investment law, was "putting all transportation and business infrastructure at the disposal of its friends."

Karzai said the region has abundant resources and its people are "thirsty for progress."

ECO was founded by Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan in 1985. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia have since joined.

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