CLOSING REMARKS BY THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN H.E. HEKMAT KHALIL KARZAI AT THE FIRST SENIOR OFFICIALS MEETING (SOM) OF THE HEART OF ASIA PROCESS

Dehli, India

April 26, 2016

Excellency Dr. Jaishankar,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Once again, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Government of India for hosting us today. I also wish to thank delegates from the participating and supporting countries of the CBMs for being here, as well as for their informative reports on the progress of various CBMs, which they have led and supported.
  • Through all three Sessions, we were able to highlight and discuss the key issues of mutual concern and interest. Most notably, I am grateful to all countries represented here for reaffirming their commitment to the stabilization and sustainable development of Afghanistan. In this light, we immensely appreciate the condemnation by all of you here of the recent tragic terrorist attack in Kabul, which killed and maimed more than 400 innocent Afghans.
  • I was quite heartened by the consensus expressed in each Session that stability in Afghanistan contributes to regional security, which is necessary for advancing our shared economic objectives. By contrast, however, we have agreed today that a failure on the part of certain state actors to cooperate honestly in the fight against terrorism would not only destabilize Afghanistan but would also have far-reaching negative implications for stability throughout our region and the rest of the world.
  • In this regard, in light of our shared, intertwined security and development interests, I was heartened by the consensual reaffirmation by all participants of their countries’ strong support for the Heart of Asia Process, which should be harnessed as a regional platform for dialogue to develop and implement mutually beneficially projects.
  • Indeed, through the CBMs mechanism, which we discussed today, we can and should do more to ensure regional connectivity towards longer-term economic integration, the benefits of which we are well-aware of from the experiences of the EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, and other such successful economic groupings. To that end, Afghanistan strongly supports the implementation of such major connectivity projects as the Chabahar Port; the Five Nations Railway; the Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan Railway; the TAPI; CASA-1000, and others.
  • Please allow me to assure you of our Government’s continued hard efforts to implement our broad-based reforms agenda. Countering the systemic problem of corruption is one of our key priorities, as we continue implementing the commitments we have made in various conferences on Afghanistan. Those include our ongoing efforts to institutionalize the equal rights of women, as well as safeguarding the freedom of press and expression.
  • Indeed, as we are making steady progress to address the challenges confronting us, we will remain reliant on international support. In this connection, we look forward to the Warsaw Summit in July and the Brussels Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan in October where we will assess the progress we have made together, as well as our ongoing needs for international assistance. 
  • In conclusion, once again, I would like to thank all distinguished delegates for your active participation in today’s discussions, as well as for continuing to work with us to follow up and implement the objectives of the CBMs, which we discussed today.

Thank you.