Leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, currently
both on a visit to Washington, have voiced their
commitment to improving regional economic cooperation,
including the facilitation of electricity trade
between Central and South Asia.
President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart
Asif Ali Zardari also discussed the development
of the Central Asia-South Asia Regional Electricity
Market (CASAREM) and Central Asia-South Asia Transmission
Project (CASA 1000 Project).
At a meeting with the World Bank Group president,
they described the project as central to the facilitation
of regional electricity trade. As a first step in
the development of CASAREM, the CASA-1000 Project
will allow the export of existing surplus hydropower
from Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic to South
Asia in summer months.
They noted, together with the governments of Tajikistan
and Kyrgyzstan, a functioning inter-governmental
council was established in 2007 and a secretariat
in 2008 with the objective of developing CASAREM
and the CASA 1000 Project.
A statement from the Presidential Palace said on
Saturday they recalled an inter-governmental agreement
(IGA) signed by the four governments in August 2008.
The agreement affirms their mutual commitments to
CASAREM and CASA 1000.
Believing the development of a regional electricity
market would be beneficial to them and to the region
as a whole, they agreed to continue to deepen their
bilateral cooperation and with Tajikistan and Kyrgyz
Republic in the development of both CASAREM and
In this connection, it was agreed that they would
instruct their representatives to take next steps
that may be necessary to ensure the effectiveness
and enforceability of the IGA and shall endeavor
to complete all actions pertaining thereto on an
urgent basis and to sign the Joint Development Agreement
(JDA), preferably during the Regional Economic Cooperation
Conference on Afghanistan (RECC-A) to be held in
Islamabad on May 14-15, 2009.
Karzai and Zardari noted their appreciation for
the technical assistance being provided by the World
Bank, International Finance Corporation through
its InfraVentures, Islamic Development Bank, and
Asian Development Bank and support of the United
States for the development of CASAREM and the CASA
They also affirmed their intent to seek financing
from these international finance institutions for
the CASA 1000 Project. The presidents recognised
that the completion of CASA 1000 -- being designed
to accommodate an expanded volume of power in the
future -- will catalyse additional energy investments
and trade both in the four CASA countries as well
as in the region.
It could have a positive demonstration effect on
other regional infrastructure projects between Afghanistan
and Pakistan, such as the upgrading of the Peshawar-Kabul
Road and the Peshawar-Kabul Rail Link, they believed.