About Us Afganistan

Statement by H.E. Mr. Jawed Ludin

 Deputy Foreign Minister

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan 

Honourable Chair,

Your Excellency Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you to the Republic of Kazakhstan for hosting this 4th Ministerial of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia so wonderfully in this beautiful city of Astana.   

Thank you to the Republic of Turkey, the Chair of CICA, for its vision and commitment which has brought energy and leadership not only to CICA but to the cause of regional cooperation in general. 

Ever since the initiative of His Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the 1992 United Nations General Assembly, CICA has taken great strides towards strengthening peace and security in the Asian continent. 

On this historic occasion today, we express our gratitude to the Republic of Kazakhstan for this initiative.  I also congratulate all our fellow members for the 20th anniversary of working together within CICA. 

During the last 20 years, CICA has proven its relevance for regional cooperation and gone through significant changes, including the expansion of its membership, the establishment of the Secretariat, and the adoption of a catalogue of confidence building measures (CBMS) to strengthen peace and security and to address the challenges of conflict, organised crime, terrorism, weapons proliferation and the menace of narcotics in Asia. 

Meanwhile, challenges remain and as CICA Member States today we continue to have a common state in working together in the interest of security and stability of the continent we all call our home. 

Addressing these and new challenges and threats require not only commitment but also greater effort and more sincere cooperation to security and stability and to bring prosperity to our peoples.

Mr Chairman,

More than a decade after the start of our journey to stabilise Afghanistan, with the help of our friends in the international community, terrorism remains the number one impediment to peace and stability in Afghanistan.  However, this is a challenge that we share with the wider region and the world at large. 

With experience gained through this time, we have learned that terrorism will not be defeated without addressing its regional dimensions, including the sources and root causes of terrorism, and without the destruction of terrorist sanctuaries wherever they may be.  Therefore, we emphasise the need for sincere efforts by all States to fulfil their obligations in aggressively countering the terrorist threat, as well as all the challenges we share in common.

In our quest for peace, we in Afghanistan are currently going through a historic transition which involves the taking over of responsibility from international forces and the withdrawal of those forces by end of 2014. 

To ensure lasting peace, we will also negotiate with all armed opposition elements who renounce violence, cut ties with international terrorism and respect the supremacy of the Afghan Constitution. 

As a sovereign country, these are essentially our own affairs to handle.  However, we will appreciate any assistance and support our fellow CICA members can provide. 

Afghanistan is determined to use its geographical and historical position to promote security, stability and economic cooperation in the region that surrounds us.  We support all efforts that are aimed at exploring regional potentials for the welfare, stability and development of our region, and we welcome all mechanisms and initiatives that help us work together more effectively, and contribute to greater confidence among neighbours – near or far.  We are convinced that any initiative that is based on sincerity and mutual accountability brings added value towards our shared goals. 

We in Afghanistan are committed to the principle of multilateralism.  Therefore, promoting regional cooperation is not only a main pillar of our foreign policy – it is really at the heart of our vision for a stable and prosperous future we seek to build for our people. 

Over the past decade, we have sought to use Afghanistan’s position to promote genuine cooperation and succeeded in making some difference.  Located at the Heart of Asia, we believe it is our destiny to be a land-bridge that connects Asia’s great landmasses in trade, transit and interaction. 

In this context, the Istanbul Process presents a new agenda for regional cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ region.  The Istanbul Process is a genuine, regionally owned process led by Afghanistan, with support from our near and extended neighbours, and with the aim of building confidence, cooperation and security in the Heart of Asia region.  This Process is not intended to substitute the existing efforts of regional organisations, but to cooperate with each of them and complement their efforts for result-oriented regional cooperation.

Following its successful launch in Istanbul in November 2011, the first follow up Ministerial meeting of the Heart of Asia countries was held in Kabul this past June, where the region’s foreign ministers adopted a set of confidence building measures on key issues such as disaster management, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, regional economic development and education.

The Istanbul Process is a visionary process, aiming at practical steps to achieve our shared goals of regional stability and peace.  We in Afghanistan will not spare any efforts to gradually build stronger trust and open dialogue in our region for the benefit of Afghanistan’s peaceful transition, and for the benefit of greater security and peace in the region.  These objectives are very much consistent with the noble goals of CICA.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Republic of Kazakhstan for being the host of next Ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process.  We look forward to working with our Kazakh and other Heart of Asia partners in taking this important agenda forward. 

Mr Chairman,

Regional cooperation will, of course, only remain a slogan unless it produces tangible outcomes for our peoples.  The importance of putting in place infrastructure for connectivity, trade, transit and movement of people at the regional level cannot be emphasised enough.   

In particular, the building of road and railway networks and energy transmission projects are key priority areas in this regard.

In conclusion, Mr Chairman, I would like to reiterate Afghanistan’s commitment to CICA with the aim of securing stability, prosperity and confidence building in our continent.  

We appreciate Turkey’s continued strong leadership of CICA in the current Chair of the organisation, and we fully support the People’s Republic of China’s bid to take the Chair of CICA from 2014. 

I also wish to reiterate the deep gratitude and appreciation of the Afghan people to all CICA member States in aiding our efforts for realising the vision of peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.  

Thank you.