Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Special Event on Security and Economic Cooperation in Eurasia in the 21st Century

Statement of H.E. Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul at the

“Special Event on Security and Economic Cooperation in Eurasia in the 21st Century.”

Istanbul – June 7, 2010

Excellencies,

Distinguished Colleagues,

I begin by thanking the government of Turkey for hosting the third CICA Summit, which brings together a unique and diverse group of countries from across Asia to promote regional and international peace and security. This year’s Summit is a reaffirmation of CICA’s commitment to stability in Asia and global security.

I’m also pleased at the opportunity to participate in this special forum on “Security and Economic Cooperation in Eurasia in the 21st Century.”

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It goes without saying that the 21st century sees us living in an interdependent world, in which common threats and challenges affect us all, irrespective of cultural, religious and geographical differences. I can say this for the menace of terrorism, which has proven its ability to strike anywhere, and at any time. This is clear with attacks across the globe: in Asia, Europe, Africa and North-America. This is also relevant with other challenges, including the global financial crisis, which led to economic hardships for millions around the world.

In this context, effective cooperation and collaboration is vital for overcoming present challenges and promoting global security. Achieving these requires effective collaboration: collaboration between and among states; states with regional and international organizations; and regional and international organizations amongst each other.

With regard to Afghanistan, thanks to the support of our international partners, today’s Afghanistan is much different than that of nine years ago, when our country served a base for international terrorism. We have come along way in promoting democracy, strengthening our state-institutions, and building our infrastructure, including roads, schools, hospitals and clinics.

In the coming years, we will work to implement our reinvigorated strategy for Afghanistan’s peace and stability. We will strive to increase Afghan security force capability to assume full security responsibility by the end of five years; enhance regional cooperation for addressing existing challenges; advance progress in the fight against corruption; as well as implement our comprehensive reconciliation strategy to consolidate peace and security across the country.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We know that consolidating peace and security requires not only military efforts, but also an effective political approach. That is why just last week we convened a national consultative peace-jirga, which brought together 1,600 representatives from all segments of society, including tribal and religious figures, civil society, members of parliament and women rights groups. The resolution adopted at the conclusion of the jirga offers a clear guideline for a successful outreach initiative. And we will spare no effort to implement the jirga’s resolution.

We count on the support of the international community and relevant regional partners, particularly the brotherly government of Pakistan to support and assist our reconciliation initiative. We also reiterate our appeal to international partners to contribute to our “peace and reconciliation trust-fund.” By the same token, we also know that defeating terrorism and improving security will not be possible in the absence of an effective regional effort for addressing terrorist sanctuaries and safe-havens in the region. Such support centers are a main source of insecurity in Afghanistan, and unless they are addressed, we will fail to defeat terrorism. We therefore stress increased focus and attention by relevant actors for achieving this goal.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan will not be possible without sustained international support. The progress achieved thus far is the result of the joint efforts and sacrifices of the Afghan people and international partners. In this regard, the OSCE has delivered an important contribution for Afghanistan’s stabilization. OSCE support ranges from election support and monitoring, to training of Afghan border officials to prevent trafficking of illegal activities, including terrorism, narcotic drugs and their chemical precursors, and organized crime. In that regard, we also appreciate OSCE/ODIHR’s decision to dispatch an election support team for our up-coming parliamentary elections.

We also reiterate OSCE’s continued support towards Afghanistan, not only in present areas of cooperation, but other also other areas, which will help improve the lives of Afghans.

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Regional economic cooperation is another vital factor for the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region. In our part, we will spare no effort to increase trade and transit with countries of the region.

A number of important projects to this effect, including the CASA 1000 and TAPI pipeline, aimed at energy and electricity transfer in the region are underway. The steady implementation of the said projects is essential for the further development and prosperity of our region. In this regard, we note with satisfaction that the issue of regional economic cooperation has been rightly highlighted in the Third CICA Summit declaration, to be adopted at the conclusion our Summit gathering.

As one of the founding members of CICA, Afghanistan is fully committed to the goals and objectives of this forum. We are grateful for the forum’s support of stabilization efforts in our country, and would appreciate an assessment of possible areas of specific cooperation with Afghanistan.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan is an example of how various countries and regional and international organizations have come together for a common purpose and goal. Together, we come a long way, but much remains to be accomplished. Afghanistan fully supports the prospects of increased collaboration among the OSCE and CICA in relevant areas. Both the OSCE and CICA have proven effective in promoting regional and international peace and security. And we look for their continued role in support of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

I thank you.