Together Talk About the Past One Hundred Years, Jointly Promote Peace in Afghanistan
Excellency. Mr. Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC
Excellency, Ambassador Wang Yu,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning/Good afternoon
It is indeed a great privilege to join all of you on this auspicious occasion to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China at a time when Afghanistan is about to mark its 102nd anniversary of independence. Congratulations to the people of both countries.
It gives me great pleasure to be with you today. Because we are jointly looking at the future by learning from our past.
Let me thank Ambassador Wang Yu for organizing this online seminar not only to celebrate China’s remarkable achievements over the last century, but also to promote and support Afghan reconstruction and development, trade, business and investment opportunities, as well as the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.
I would like to thank the People’s Republic of China for its continued humanitarian and development assistance, investments in infrastructure, transit, mining, energy, education and other sectors in for Afghanistan.
I am confident that as a great neighbor, regional and global partner, China can also play a significant role in the vital peace process.
Looking at history, this landmass was part of the famed Silk Road connecting China with Europe. A peaceful and stable Afghanistan can once again be a hub of connectivity, trade and production in the heart of Asia. We are focused and dedicated to this vision.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and 102nd anniversary of independence of Afghanistan come at a time when our region is facing many unprecedented challenges, including terrorism, extremism, conflict, drug trafficking, migration, climate change, the Corona pandemic, poverty, and underdevelopment. These challenges test our resolve to act collectively and our ability to offer solutions and remedies internally, regionally and globally.
In short, we need close regional cooperation in various fields. We should have constructive interactions considering our historical and geographical commonalities in order to generate a more stable, developed and more prosperous region.
Poverty and underdevelopment are partial causes of instability and the spread of terrorism and extremism in the region. We need to find common ground and aim for win-win outcomes to strengthen balanced and sustainable development in our region.
In this context, we welcome cooperation and planning on enhanced strategic consultation, especially in relations to people-to-people exchanges, regional coordination and prospects for Belt and Road Initiative expansion to support development in the region and in Afghanistan.
We have always promoted the narrative that peace and stability in Afghanistan means peace and stability in the region. An Afghanistan at peace and stability is a better neighbor and a better partner for China and all our neighbors and beyond. This also means that all of our neighbors and regional countries need to respect our sovereign rights and territorial integrity as we aim to transition from a country in conflict to a country post-conflict.
Since 2002, we have attempted to deal with the existing challenges. We are grateful for the international engagement, including China’s, but while rebuilding institutions and infrastructure, we are still struggling to end conflict and steer the country in a new direction, assuring, peace, unity and prosperity.
Despite the challenges, Afghanistan has changed, and we need to come to an agreement with the Taliban on our society’s new realities as well as the wish of the majority on both sides of the political divide. We cannot continue to fight, hurt our people and not seek commonalities and solutions. It takes all sides to come to terms through dialogue. One side alone cannot bring about the desired results.
In recent years, terrorism and extremism have affected many parts of the world, including our regions. Affiliated groups take advantage of weaknesses and vacuums to network and recruit new forces. We need to work together to adopt appropriate regional mechanisms to better deal with such threats.
Afghanistan’s strategic location as a connector, can turn the country into a regional hub. We have significant potentials, including a young population, vital minerals and a strategic location, which can boost connectivity, investment, trade and regional economic integration.
We believe that peace and stability in Afghanistan is pivotal for the successful implementation of regional projects and Belt and Road Initiative.
Ladies and gentlemen,
War is not the solution, and this conflict must be resolved through dialogue. Our people, who are the victims, have and continue to pay a high price in terms of losses.
Through my interactions with many across the society and from all walks of life, I have come to the realization that they all echo one message: A lasting, just and dignified peace. It is my duty and my colleagues’ at the HCNR to work tirelessly for the fulfilment of this noble desire and aspiration of our people.
Afghans were expecting that after the release of prisoners on both sides and the start of negotiations, we would experience a reduction in violence. However, contrary to expectations, the war continues, targeted killings and violence against civilians is high. There is a blame-game underway, allowing spoilers to take advantage of the vulnerabilities. Recent attacks and loss of precious lives are testimony to this cycle of brutality and mayhem.
Our conflict is multi-dimensional. It is not purely a domestic issue. It also has regional and global roots as well as ramifications. Despite the boom and gloom, I remain optimistic that there is no alternative to peace.
I am happy to state that the HCNR has played a pivotal role in creating a national consensus, where almost all political leaders and representatives of women and civil society have agreed on a consolidated peace plan, which is ready to be presented at the upcoming expected peace conference in Istanbul.
With the announcement of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan by September this year, their pledge to continue to stand by us with a new set of priorities, a new chapter has opened for Afghanistan and the region.
The withdrawal is not a threat nor a danger. It creates new opportunities. The Taliban have always claimed that they are fighting because of the presence of foreign forces in the country under the pretext of Jihad.
Although the war in Afghanistan lacks legitimacy, but with the withdrawal of foreign troops, the Taliban no longer have any excuse for war, and we urge them to agree to a reduction in violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire while we agree to a political roadmap to pave the way for an inclusive, just and durable political settlement.
We are asking and expecting the region to play a constructive role to put more pressure on the Taliban to return to talks and commit to meaningful negotiations.
The republic’s negotiating team is in Doha and we look forward to resuming real negotiations. There is no military solution to this war. We need to end the suffering of the Afghan people.
The UN sponsored conference, planned to be held in Turkey, will be vital for the peace process. We expect our friend to use their influence and good offices to put maximum pressure on the Talibs to agree on ceasefire and a just and durable political settlement.
China’s support for the Afghan peace process has been very important, especially in the framework of the extended troika conferences lately.
I would like to seize this opportunity and welcome the Joint Declaration of the members of the extended Troika on peace in Afghanistan and the emphasis on UN Security Council Resolution 2513.
Once again, I thank you for holding this seminar on peace in Afghanistan. I hope that with the active cooperation and participation of the Afghan people, our friendly neighbors and others, we can put an end to the suffering and focus on the task of rebuilding Afghanistan and contribute to world peace and economic growth.