Statement by H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

15th meeting of the Council of Heads of Governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

2-3 November 2016

Beshkik, Kyrgyzistan

 

In the name of God, the most compassionate and the most merciful

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov,

Honorable Heads of Governments,

Your Excellency, Secretary-General Rashid Olimov,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me and my delegation to participate and represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at this meeting of the Heads of Governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. I take this opportunity to thank our esteemed Kyrghyz hosts for their excellent arrangements and warm hospitality.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we meet again within the SCO framework to review and discuss vital issues pertaining to our collective peace, security and prosperity.

These three vital objectives and demands cannot be achieved without a common vision, political will, coordination and cooperation. It is through the SCO as well as other viable regional mechanisms that we can turn this vision into reality.

Afghanistan attaches high importance to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a regional platform for addressing international terrorism, violent extremism, separatism and narcotics through confidence-building and enhanced economic and security cooperation. Afghanistan’s request for becoming a full-fledged member of the SCO is a testimony of my government’s firm resolve to participate and contribute to the discussions and policy lines adopted by this forum. I am, therefore, requesting that all SCO members extend their full support for Afghanistan’s membership.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan stands at a new and critical juncture. In the last two years, the Afghan National Unity Government has been focused on preserving the hard-gained achievements of the past 15 years, and has taken major steps to fight terrorism, improve good governance, expand rule of law, limit corruption, implement electoral reform, enhance regional cooperation and provide opportunities for the promotion of private sector activity, investment and economic development.

Security and stability continue to be major concerns for our people and the Afghan Government. Our sincere endeavors to engage the Taliban and nudge Pakistan to assist the peace process have thus far yielded almost no concrete results. Different terrorist and militant groups, with roots beyond Afghan borders, are engaged in a low-intensity conflict across several provinces. These groups have attempted to disrupt peace and security by committing suicide attacks and killing innocent civilians. However, their efforts have failed and they are facing stiff resistance by our brave Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. Meanwhile, our effort for just and durable peace will continue.

Mr. President,

The recently held Brussels Conference on Afghanistan was a great success. It was in fact a strong reaffirmation of mutual commitments between the Afghan Government and the international community. I would like to thank and express my appreciation to all supporting countries present here, including regional and international organizations, for their continued support in the past, as well as new pledges made toward Afghanistan's peace and development framework.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Regional cooperation is one of the most effective tools for addressing regional challenges and achieving economic integration. Attaining shared prosperity and stability requires enhanced regional cooperation through confidence-building measures and by providing economic and investment opportunities, promoting trade, transit and connectivity, as well as increasing people to people interactions.

To this end, Afghanistan, through the use of existing regional mechanisms such as RECCA and Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, and with the support of regional countries and international friends, regards regional cooperation as a priority and intends to turn Afghanistan into a regional hub and economic roundabout for trade, transit, energy transfer, connectivity and business in Heart of Asia. ¬So far, the fruits of these efforts are ongoing progress with TAPI, CASA1000 and the Chabahar agreements.

I am happy to inform that the 6th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference is scheduled to be held on 4 December 2016, hosted by our friends in India, which is viewed as another important step in the ongoing process of enhanced regional integration and cooperation.

Mr. President, Excellencies,

We are all fully aware that terrorism and extremism, which involves ISIL or Daish, are major threats to our shared peace and stability. Terrorism is the enemy of all humanity, and terrorists belong to no particular ethnicity, region or religion, as they do not recognize borders. There is no good and bad terrorist. We need to fight them together, to assure their defeat. 

In conclusion, I would like to remind our friends that we hope to see the SCO continue to make progress with its win-win agenda, continue to play a more active and constructive role, not only in furthering regional economic cooperation, but also in addressing regional security challenges in a forthright manner, without which economic cooperation will face challenges. 

Thank you Mr. President.