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Work Together Towards a Peaceful and Stable Afghanistan

—Speech by H.E. Special Envoy Dr. Yue Xiaoyong at the International Conference on Afghanistan

2022-07-26 23:55

July26,2022, Tashkent

Your Excellency Acting Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov,
Excellencies and Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. It’s a great honor andpleasure to meet you all in this beautiful capital city ofTashkentand participate in the International Conference on Afghanistan (ICA). First of all, I’d like to thank Uzbekistan’s efforts for making this conference possible.

I believe strongly, as you would all do, that the situation in Afghanistan today matters a lot to humanity, and to regional and global security and stability, in spite of many other changes in the world. If Afghanistan situation deteriorates into chaos, the international community will no doubt be negatively impacted. And that would be a disaster for the region first and foremost, and no less so to the whole world as well. It’s been nearly one whole year since the Kabul Moment. With joint efforts from the international community and regional countries, stability is gaining ground in Afghanistan, and there has yet been no major refugee exodus so far. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the economy and people’s livelihood are facing serious difficulties due to some major power’s unilateral sanctions and significant drop in external aids. Frequent natural disasters also added hardship. Now, 72% of the Afghan population live below the poverty line with 23 million people in the shortage of food.The unemployment rate has reached 38%. The IS launches terrorist attacks every now and then, and the terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ETIM are taking advantage of that situation to accumulate strength. Terrorism and security threats in Afghanistan are far from alleviation. With distraction from the Ukraine issue and the so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy pushed and sold by the US, external attention and input to assist Afghan people both have declined. It is essentialthat we all continue to bring high international awareness of Afghanistan issue, helping the country to realize peace, stability and reconstruction as soon as possible while keep moving towards good governance.

Dear colleagues,

China has been all along trying its best to assist Afghan people to tide over the current crisis. Since the fundamental changes in Afghanistan in last August, China has provided the country with over 350 million RMB yuan of urgent humanitarian assistance through bilateral channels. Assistance such as food, medicine, vaccines and winter supplies helped the Afghan people through the hardest and coldest winter. Moreover, China resumed the “pine nuts express”, and imported more than 1600 tons of pine nuts via chartered cargo flights. We are also importing signature products such as saffron, almonds, figs and raisins to relieve the Afghan people’s difficulties through various means. In March 2022, China announced its 1 billion yuan of humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan. After recent earthquake, we provided 50 million RMB yuan’sworth of urgent humanitarian assistance at the earliest possible time. Those tents, blankets, foldable beds, as well as cash donated from both public and private sectors, includingthe Chinesegovernment, companies and organizations, helped directly and significantly.

Furthermore, China has conducted intensive multilateral coordination on Afghan issue. While actively participating in the UN, Moscow Format and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) effort in addressing the Afghan issue, China, together with our neighboring partners,launched the Mechanism for Coordination and Cooperation among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, with the foreign ministers’ meeting as the main body, and helped to shape international consensus of engagement and regional efforts in stabilizing and assisting Afghanistan. In late March 2022, after State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s successful visit to Afghanistan, China hosted the Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Tunxi, Anhui Province. The meeting has achieved real and significant results, including Joint Declaration stressing continuous support for Afghanistan, and the Tunxi Initiative focusing on economic rebuilding and practical cooperation, producing strong call and more actionsfor enhancing peace and stability for Afghanistan and the region.

Colleagues,

It is therefore very timely that today’s conference is held aiming at “Afghanistan: Security and Economic Development”. Security and development are not only two major challenges for Afghanistan, but also global challenges for all. It is exactly for tackling with those challenges that China’sPresident Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. President Xi stresses the need to forge a united, equal,balanced and inclusive high-quality globaldevelopment partnership with no country or individual left behind. He also emphasizes the importance of holding fast the vision forcommon, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security towards world peace and tranquility. China would uphold the spirit of those initiatives and work with the international community and regional countries in helping Afghanistan addressing thoseissues like governance, stability, economy and people’s livelihood in a systematic way. To that end, China would like to enhance coordination and cooperation with allregional and international partners in following aspects:

Number one,to offer necessary guidance to Afghanistan’s internal and external policies in an appropriate way. Any true help for Afghan people can hardly be materialized if one bypasses the Afghan authority in operation. Although the acting government has much room for improvement, it is important to engage with it in an equal and respectful way,whether to promote inclusive government structure, to bring about moderate and prudent governance or to realize decisive countering of terrorism. While many have paid extensive attention to women, human rights and education of middle-school girls in Afghanistan, suggestions, guidance and necessary assistance are to be offered in a way acceptable for the Afghan authority, to create conditionsto genuinely help the matter gain visible progress at an earlier date.

Number two, to break the deadlock Afghanistan faces in economic development and people’s livelihood. Development is the ultimate solution to maintaining security. The international community needs to continue to provide Afghanistan with assistance in economy and people’s livelihood, andsupport the UN in playing its role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistanand coordination for assistance. The acting government of Afghanistan, as the leading actor in aid distribution and allocation of foreign aid, should be respected in clear opposition to politicization of humanitarian actions. We see it very important to not onlygive fish to the Afghan people in need, but also provide guidance on fishing themselves by strengtheningthe country’s capacity for self-reliant and sustainable recovery, and adopting a development path that best fits its own national conditions forindependence, prosperity and social progress.

Number three, to improve and enhance connectivity. Afghanistan sits in the heart of Asia. Many plans of regional inter-connectivity projects, with Afghanistan at the center, are well underway. China supports all sides in empowering Afghanistan’s location advantages. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China is ready to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor out to Afghanistan. We are also ready to study how to support the projects such as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Highway and the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Railway. Additionally, we would be happy to see tech firms like ZTE and Huawei go to Afghanistan and join the region’s efforts in building and improving telecommunication network. China is committed to helping improve the inter-connectivity among Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia.

Number four,to join international efforts to urge lifting any unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan. Despite the fact that UNSC resolution No. 2615 rules that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan does not violate UNSC sanctions, many banks refuses to work with humanitarian institutions in transferring funds to Afghanistan for fear of sanctions from the US. The US should lift unilateral sanctions and unreasonable financial restrictions as soon as possible if it istruly supporting Afghanistan in obtaining peace and reconstruction. As the starter of the Afghan issue, the US is still avoiding facing up the chaotic situation there and insists onholding and controlling Afghanistan’s 7 billion US dollar assets.Afghan people are right now in dire need for life, and the US is dragging its feet in unfreezing the assets of the Afghan central bank. The US needs to return in full the 7 billion assets to Afghanistan right now, and find effective operation and monitoring mechanism to implement assets unfreezingby working with the Afghan side on an equal footingto assure thoseassets are used for Afghan people.

Number five, to enhance cooperation in countering terrorism and strengthening security. According to recent UN monitoring report, Al-Qaeda is still in close connection with the Taliban, and its operation in Afghanistan expanded. It is necessary to the whole international community to watch closely the activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, including the ETIM, and urge the Afghan side to fulfill its promise on countering terrorism by taking visible and verifiable measures. We should enhance cooperation on countering terrorism and security through concrete actions and eliminate the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan and the region. Any double standards or selective approach on counter-terrorism is unacceptable. Supporting terrorist groups for one’s selfish interest will only make Afghanistan the breeding ground, safe haven and origin of proliferation of terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As an old Chinese saying goes, however far or harda journey shall be, he that keepson going reaches destination. China is ready to work with all parties and keep on going to contribute, as our host repeatedly emphasized today “with joint and combined efforts”, tolasting peace, security, stability and common prosperity in Afghanistan and the whole region.

Thank you.

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