PARIS. October 13. At the EastWest Institute’s second consultation on “Alternative Futures for Afghanistan and the Stability of Southwest Asia,” hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speakers pleaded for a more determined process of national reconciliation and a more focused international aid effort in Afghanistan.

The purpose of the event, which builds on the first consultation in Fbreuary 2009, was to highlight views from Afghanistan and its neighbors about measures necessary for stability in the region. It included participants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and international stakeholders including the United States, France, Germany and Russia.

In his keynote speech, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner urged top Afghan politicians Hamid Karzai and opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah to put aside their differences and work together to tackle the current crisis. "Yes, for a national unity government," he said.