June 08, 2010, Istanbul
Ladies and Gentlemen,
السلام علیکم و رحمت الله و برکاته
I would like to thank the government and people of Turkey for their warm reception and kind hospitality that have always made our visits to Turkey memorable. I am delighted to join the Third Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, and to convey the warm greetings of the people of Afghanistan.
I take this opportunity again to condemn the Israeli commando attack against efforts to bring humanitarian relief assistance to the besieged people of Gaza. I wish to express our deep condolences for the loss of life and injury to the government and people of Turkey resulting from this violent act. There is no doubt that such acts of violence blatantly trample respect for human dignity and undermine peaceful co-existence.
Earlier this year, Turkey’s initiative to host “the Summit on Friendship and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia”, focusing on Afghanistan’s security and development challenges, provided a clear example of Turkey’s dedication towards safeguarding peace and stability in our region. In assuming the Chairmanship of CICA, and hosting this Summit, Turkey once again displays its solid commitment to promoting mutual trust through dialogue, and to cementing strategic ties among Asian nations through confidence-building measures. I am convinced that under Turkey’s auspices, CICA will continue to be an effective platform for comprehensive engagement and cooperation across the region.
In June 2002, by signing the landmark Almaty Declaration, we committed to work in partnership to make Asia a common area of security, prosperity, and peaceful co-existence. Today, our commitment remains as strong as ever.
CICA was born due to the vision and efforts of His Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev. I commend President Nazarbayev for his visionary far-sightedness. I believe that CICA will be a long-lasting testimony to President Nazarbayev’s desire for comprehensive peace and security in our continent. As Kazakhstan assumes the chairmanship of the OSCE, we wish President Nazarbayev continued success in his mission for peace and security.
Afghanistan is delighted that CICA has grown in size and diversity. In this regard, we welcome the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Iraq as CICA’s newest members. We also welcome the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as observers in this forum. Their participation in CICA will certainly enrich our dialogue, and give added impetus to our efforts for peace, security and mutual understanding.
Given the importance of CICA, Afghanistan is encouraged by the expansion of its collaboration with other regional and international bodies and institutions. We welcome, in particular, the establishment of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Ashqabad.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Factors endangering security in Asia are multifaceted, with terrorism, extremism, proliferation of nuclear weapons, trans- national organized crime, and illicit drugs as the most troubling problems.
Events across the globe clearly show that threats posed by terrorism and extremism are not specific to any one country. From Moscow to New York, from Istanbul to Mumbai, and from Kabul to Lahore, extremists and terrorists have killed, maimed, and created a climate of fear among millions of innocent citizens.
Terrorism should not be identified with any specific nationality or religion; neither should the fight against terrorism be subject to double standards. Without condition or reservation, we must all resolutely condemn and fight terrorism whenever and wherever it occurs, whoever it is directed against and in whatever form it appears.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the years, terrorism, trans-national organized crime, and illicit drugs have become interlinked, thus aggravating the threats to our common security. In response, we must make concerted efforts to expand our cooperation in interdiction, intelligence exchange, security consultations and training, as well as efficient border management.
For Afghanistan, the problem of narcotics production and trafficking is a by-product of three decades of conflict. Countering this problem requires time, patience, and most importantly, enhanced collaboration between transit- and consuming countries.
The potential for economic growth in our region is enormous. Enhanced and effective cooperation in key fields such as trade, transit, transportation and energy would exponentially contribute to maintaining a virtuous cycle of peace and development in Asia. To this end, Afghanistan is actively working to regain its historic role as a land-bridge connecting south and central Asia with the Middle East. We are looking forward to the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline for energy transportation to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan. We also look forward to the realization of the Central Asia-South Asia Regional Electricity Market Initiative (CASA 1000).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The people of Afghanistan appreciate the support of our friends in Asia and beyond in helping us to safeguard our security, territorial integrity, and stability. A stable and prosperous Afghanistan can contribute tremendously to the cause of stability and prosperity in our continent.
To achieve stability and prosperity in Afghanistan, we need enduring peace. Just a few days ago we held a Grand Consultative Assembly aimed at promoting dialogue and consensus-building required for achieving enduring peace. The events of the Grand Assembly fully displayed the unity of purpose and the desire of the Afghan nation for peace.
The participants of the Grand Peace Jirga gave strong recognition to the role that our brotherly Islamic nations can play in peace efforts in our country. They, with gratitude called upon the Custodian of Huramain and Sharifian, His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to continue to support Afghanistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation. The Grand Assembly also expressed great appreciation to Turkey for facilitating the tripartite dialogue with Pakistan and invited its continued support in this regard.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our gathering today is witness to the fact that we are united by common goals to safeguard peace and stability in our continent, and to ensure our peoples’ security, well-being, and dignity. These common goals constitute the corner-stone of our mutual identity.
Let’s build our future on the foundation of this mutual identity with optimism, energy, and confidence.