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Statement by H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai

Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan

Mr. President,

Distinguished Heads of State and Government,

Honorable Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the people and Government of Afghanistan, I would like to express my appreciation to the people and the government of Kazakhstan for the convening the first summit on interaction and confidence-building measures in Asia . We owe His Excellency Nazarbayev a vote of thanks for taking the initiative in bringing us together.  

We are gathered here to discuss peace, confidence building and cooperation. To illustrate the evil of war I would like to invite all distinguished leaders, my friends, to come to Kabul and to see what war and terrorism have done to our country.

We in Afghanistan have been subjected to the reign of terror, as our entire country had been turned into the breeding ground of terrorism and the launching pad of terrorist attacks on Afghanistan and the entire world. The tragic events of September 11 were a consequence of success of terrorists in finding a nest in Afghanistan to plan and proceed with their evil designs throughout the world.

We were able to liberate ourselves from the menace of terrorism with the help of the United States of America and the international community. We sincerely appreciate the constructive role of the anti-terror coalition and the peacekeeping role of the International Security Assistance Force in our joint fight against terrorism. Since then, we have resolutely pursued our struggle to deny the terrorists and terrorism the opportunity to threaten international and domestic peace and security. We will very decisively continue to fight terrorism to its complete annihilation. We request other states to deny their territory to terrorists, who would use force and violence against their own people or other nations.

Afghanistan has managed to disrupt the networks of terror that threaten the stability of the region and the world, but we all need to join hands to preempt these networks from rising again from the ashes and threaten the peace and stability of any country in the world. All of us must commit ourselves to deny sanctuary to terrorists and make certain that they do not operate cross borders and export violence.

Afghanistan has reclaimed its rightful place in the community of nations, and we are committed to honor the fundamental principles of CICA,particularly the principals of sovereignty,territorial integrity,non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, mutual respect and civilized interaction with nations of the region and the world.

As a sign of return of stability and security to our country, more than 800,000 refugees have returned to Afghanistan and thousand others are crossing the borders daily.

The close connection between the networks of terror and the drug traffickers is unmistakable, as funds from trafficking of narcotics are regularly used to underwrite and finance terrorist activities. Our government and people have resolutely pursued the fight against drug production. In fact, as of May 10, 2002, our eradication program has destroyed over 760 tones of opium with a street value of up to $8 billion in Europe . We are delighted that our people responded positively to our decrees on the eradication of the crop, and actively cooperated with the government's eradication program.

We are now e mbarking on a comprehensive program to strengthen our institutions of law enforcement and to assist our farmers to find alternative means of livelihood. Containment of trafficking requires regional cooperation, as it affects the people of all our countries. We are ready to extend full cooperation to our neighboring-countries and to the international organizations to eradicate drug production and trafficking.

Mutual economic interest is a foundation of stable political relations among sovereign states. We see trade and investment as a mean of binding us all together. Afghanistan is the land bridge between Central Asia and South Asia . We would like once again to be the crossroads for the peaceful interaction among merchants and citizens of the countries that recognizes that interdependence is a source of strength rather than weakness.

The agree ment signed between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan on May 30, 2002 to explore the construction of an oil and gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and beyond was an important step in laying the ground for the creation of a grid and network of prosperity and connectivity. We are delighted that all the participants of the summit expressed a hope that the pipeline would be extended to India . We named the project the Pipeline for Peace and are confident that its construction and utilization will be a means of building confidence and trust in the region.

  Our vision for reconstruction of Afghanistan entails a framework of close cooperation with our neighbors. Our initiatives on our road and transport networks will turn Afghanistan into a conduit for easy transport of goods, people and ideas across our region. Our plan for trade and investment, again, will open up opportunities for companies from the region and the world to engage in open competition for creation of wealth and prosperity in our country and the region. We are committed to creating a business friendly environment and to see investment in our country as a means of ensuring peace and prosperity.

We have been in the office for just over 5 months. During this period, we have restored the confidence of our people to the sovereignty of our country and our trust in the international community. We have also pursued a political process that increasingly empowers the people to choose their leaders freely and democratically. On the 10th of June, Loya Jirga will convene in Kabul to elect the Head-of-the State for the Transitional Government.

Men and women from all over the country will gather together to express our national unity, affirm our sovereignty, and commit us to the creation of institutions of good governance. We are united in our quest to create a national army, a national police force, and institutions of economic and political governance that would enhance our people's confidence in a prosperous and stable future.

The Almaty summit has provided us with a unique opportunity to express our confidence in each other, and to commit ourselves to the pursuit of fundamental principles that would ensure our common interests. We support the draft declaration, as Afghanistan firmly believes in cooperation, solidarity and constructive dialogue on issues of common concerns.

In conclusion, I would like to once again thank the Government of Kazakhstan and other distinguished participants of this meeting for their commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes, mutual respect for sovereign rights of people, and our common struggle against terrorism,drug trafficking and extremism.

Thank you.