His Excellency President Xi Jinping
Honorable Heads of States and Governments
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to attend the 4th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and to take part in important deliberations on enduring peace and common prosperity in our Asian continent. I wish to take the opportunity to thank President Xi Jinping for hosting this important summit, and for the very warm welcome and hospitality extended to us in this historic and vibrant city of Shanghai.
We are confident that under China’s chairmanship, the CICA process will be further strengthened. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Bangladesh and Qatar as new members of CICA. May I express our gratitude to President Nursultan Nazarbayev for his wisdom in initiating CICA and my brother President Abdullah Gul for the excellent chairmanship of this forum during the last four years, and to re-iterate our heartfelt condolences for the loss of life in the tragedy of the Soma coal mine.
Since its inception in 1992, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia has strived to bring our countries closer towards promoting peace and security in Asia. By promoting trust at regional and international levels, it serves the most fundamental necessities of our times in ensuring sustainable peace and development.
In today’s globalized world, where multilateralism has become imperative, it is only through mutual trust, respect to each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and sincere cooperation that we can shape a secure and prosperous destiny for all who inhabit this continent.
With this perspective, we wholeheartedly support the New Asian Security Concept presented by President Xi Jinping and commit to its principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination among the countries of Asia. China’s leadership in advancing this comprehensive security vision for Asia is highly commendable and can greatly contribute to continental and global peace and security. This approach can help our countries rise above narrow national security interests and build a new international security and economic order based on mutual respect, equity, dialogue and cooperation.
While international assistance has helped the Afghan people to pursue the path of social, economic and political development, we have been certain that Afghanistan’s sustainable security and development is best realized through collaboration with our neighbors and the wider region.
Afghanistan and the region as a whole are vulnerable to a host of transnational threats such as terrorism, radicalism and organized crime. Terrorism by far remains the greatest threat to peace and security in the region. The recent terrorist attacks across Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as those here in China demonstrated the growing reach of the elaborate terrorist infrastructure that has found ground in our region. They are also horrendous reminders of the imperative to consolidate our efforts for effective responses to this deadly menace, and to forcefully condemn any state entity that continues to harbor, support, and finance terrorist networks as an instrument of policy and in pursuit of narrow interests.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The potential for economic growth in our region is enormous. Enhanced and effective cooperation in key fields such as trade, transit, transportation and energy can exponentially contribute to maintaining a virtuous cycle of peace and development. It is from this perspective that we endorse President Xi Jinping’s proposal for the continuance of development efforts for a Silk Road Economic Belt. The renewal and promotion of the Silk Road, of which Afghanistan is a part, will unleash unprecedented opportunities for regional cooperation and integration.
The Istanbul Process is an important initiative towards strengthening regional cooperation. The process provides a platform for political consultation, dialogue and cooperation among the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries in order to contribute to peace and security in Afghanistan and the region. I wish to thank China for hosting the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Istanbul process in Tianjin later this year. Under China’s wise stewardship, we are confident that the meeting will give a new momentum to our common vision of peace and prosperity in the Heart of Asia and help achieve its full potential in advancing regional cooperation.
Contrary to negative speculations of the international media and the cynical and doomsday narrative of what may befall us after departure of international forces, every milestone achieved indicates our smooth transition to the transformation decade. We managed to complete the transition process from the ISAF/NATO forces to Afghan forces before it was originally predicted. Our 350,000 strong national security forces have proven their ability to secure our country and our borders.
Our April 5th presidential and provincial council elections were a remarkable success laying to rest many of the exaggerated fears. Nearly 7 million Afghans defied threats and cast their ballots on elections day. In doing so, the citizens of Afghanistan gave expression to the confidence and trust that they have invested in their government and security forces. This election was a clear example of the Afghan people’s will and determination to maintain a democratic government and to sustain the achievements of the past 12 years.
It has been my privilege to serve the people of Afghanistan as they build a better future. As I stood before you twelve years ago, the enormity of the challenges Afghanistan faced were daunting. Today, Afghanistan is transformed country, well on its path towards peace and prosperity. This would not have been possible without the support and partnership of Afghanistan’s friends in the region and the international community. I am confident that the relationships that we have developed together will be further strengthened by my successor. May I also in particular thank our host, Xi Jinping, for China’s firm and committed support to Afghanistan in the past twelve years and as we move forward.