| GEO Business|
| G8 announces Pak-Afghan economic 'initiative'|
| Updated at: 0615 PST, Wednesday, March 31, 2010|
OTTAWA: G8 foreign ministers agreed Monday on an economic "initiative" for the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions, Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said.
"Stability in the region is critical for global security," Cannon told reporters at the start of two days of G8 talks.
Cannon said the objective of the Pakistan-Afghanistan economic plan was to bolster commercial activity in the economically-depressed border area, with infrastructure investments.
The plan, he said, was developed in consultation with the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, as well as European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton, were meeting to discuss threats such as nuclear proliferation, regional conflicts and terrorism.
Other issues to be addressed at the talks include the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, cracking down on militant bases in Yemen and elsewhere, and the reconstruction of quake-ravaged Haiti.
The meeting in Gatineau, Quebec, near the capital Ottawa, sets the stage for G8 and G20 leaders' summits in Muskoka, Ontario and Toronto in June.