18 September 2020

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Politics

Your Excellency President Karzai,
My Esteemed Co-Chair, Your Excellency Foreign Minister Davotuglu,
Excellencies foreign ministers and heads of delegation from the Heart of Asia countries and the supporting countries to the Istanbul Process,
Distinguished delegates, dear guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
At the outset, let me once again extend my personal and the Afghan foreign government’s collective warm welcome and heartfelt thanks to everyone of you for travelling from near and far to attend today’s historic Heart of Asia Conference in Kabul. It is my sincere hope that your stay in Kabul is both fruitful and enjoyable and that you will take home with you a positive outcome for our deliberations here today and some nice memories from your visit.
We are truly privileged to be able to bring together such an august company of leaders in a spirit of friendship, openness and cooperation to discuss the crucial need for sincere, result-oriented cooperation in this critical region, at this critical juncture.
I also wanted to reiterate the gratitude of the Afghan government to the Turkish government and to my brother Foreign Minister Davotuglu personally for Turkey’s leading role in the Istanbul Process and for an exemplary hosting of the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia of November 2, 2011, the first conference in the Istanbul Process, an effort we regard with hope and a sense of renewed promise for a future of real peace, security, stability and prosperity in this region.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
A quick glance back at the past few months since our gathering in Istanbul makes it abundantly clear that this process has been more successful, more productive and enjoyed much stronger ownership and support by the participating countries than just about anybody expected, especially those outside our region. In our view, the Istanbul Process is one of the most meaningful, the most concrete and the most promising effort at realizing the vision of sincere, result-oriented cooperation among countries of the Heart of Asia region at least over the past one decade!
There are several characteristics to this unprecedented success of the Istanbul Process. I’ll enumerate only some of the more salient of these characteristics that we’ve observed over the past several months of preparations for today’s conference.
First, and as reflected by His Excellency President Karzai a few minutes ago, there is a more intimate, far greater and far clearer understanding of the intertwined nature of both the challenges and problems but also the great potential and opportunities in our region. It is today impossible to compartmentalize our notions of peace and security for our individual countries – to think, for example, that terrorist sanctuaries in one country or terrorist attacks in another country will not affect both the short- and long-term peace, security and stability of the entire region. It is also equally inconceivable to expect that we in Afghanistan will be able to single-handedly tackle the scourge of narcotics because there are key factors and actors beyond our borders that play a central role in the continued existence of this shared menace.
It is also evident that if allowed to unleash, this region’s truly tremendous potential in human and natural resources; trade, transit and investment; services and other fields can not only transform the lives of the peoples of this region for the better but significantly contribute to security and prosperity in the broader world.
Second, the Istanbul Process of far has made clear that if we can muster the will and the commitment, the countries in this region are more than capable of finding workable, consensus-driven solutions for the region’s common challenges and problems.
For the first time in ten years, we have agreed to a set of concrete confidence building measures that will take us from rhetoric to action.
The seven confidence building measures proposed for adoption in this Conference’s final declaration–agreed to through several high-level preparatory meetings among senior officials from the Heart of Asia countries–cover such areas of cooperation as counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, disaster management, strengthening links among national chambers of commerce, educational and cultural cooperation.
Third, there is strong consensus-driven support from all Heart of Asia countries for our collective decision to follow-up our deliberations and discussions first in Istanbul and now here through regular consultations among our senior officials and at least once a year at the level of foreign ministers.
This in our view is another clear demonstration of our real commitment to making tangible, concrete progress on the confidence building measures we’ve agreed to implement.
Fourth, just as there is strong consensus on the ownership of this process by the participating countries, there is broad and firm support among us for the role of the supporting countries and organizations, represented around this table.
The high-level presence of the diverse group of supporters of the Istanbul Process today is a clear sign of the importance and significance of this effort. The presence of supporters underscores the interconnectedness of our world and how security and stability and development in one region, especially in the Heart of Asia region, directly affects security and development worldwide.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Another key element of the Istanbul Process is creating ever closer linkages, coordination and synergy in the Afghanistan-related efforts of regional organizations. Afghanistan is a member of most of these organizations. We believe each one of these organizations has a critical role to play and we’re very happy to have them on board. In this connection, let me reiterate the Afghan government’s satisfaction with our new status as observer country at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and underline our deep gratitude to all SCO member states for their support and welcome.
The participation of the United Nations has been a key pillar of the Istanbul Process.
We the participating countries are all members of the UN and I believe it’s role gives the process greater legitimacy and effectiveness. In particular, we are grateful for the contributions of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) so far, which have been significant and constructive.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Let me repeat myself one more time: we’re more hopeful and more optimistic about making tangible progress on regional cooperation with this Istanbul Process than any other effort so far over the past ten years. Any step we take towards implementing our shared vision within the Istanbul Process will not only be good for peace, security and stability in Afghanistan; real progress on regional cooperation is essential for peace and security in our region.
We in Afghanistan are also determined to reclaim our rightful place in this region–not as an issue, a topic or a problem. Rather, we want to play the role of a regional convener, connector and mediator in improving confidence and cooperation in the Heart of Asia. We’ve been first in suffering the consequences of a lack of confidence and fragmentation in this region, which has in turn had a direct bearing on peace and security in the region.
So, dear friends, Afghanistan’s sincere and real commitment to the Istanbul Process comes from self-interest that is tied to the interests of the region around us.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We all realize that patience is a virture in this collective effort, especially in a region grappling with the legacy and present reality of some real challenges and problems.
But we’ll be judged and I think fairly so–by the steady, concrete progress of our work on taking this crucial process forward one step at a time. We will be watched and judged by each other, by those supporting us and others. It is, therefore, our fervent hope that we’ll all maintain the perseverance, patience but also farsightedness in moving this process forward.
I thank you all very much for your attention and wish us all a successful conference!
 

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Hamid Karzai has been deeply grieved by the terrorist bombing attacks that killed and injured a lot of people in Iraq.

Reports indicate that as a result of several coordinated attacks across four Iraqi cities including Baghdad, over eighty people were killed and more than 200 others were injured.
President Karzai strongly condemns the terrorist attacks and said, “Afghan people feel, better than any other nation in the world, the pain and the grief of the Iraqi people as Afghans have been suffering from the brutal scourge of terrorism for years now.”
The President expresses his deepest sympathies and condolences to the government and people of Iraq and the families of those killed and injured in the attacks.

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Hamid Karzai met today morning with Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Mr. Yerzhan Kazykhanov said that Kazakhstan and Afghanistan have had diplomatic relations for twenty years and added that “we sincerely want to extend our relations with Afghanistan since Afghanistan is a major country in our foreign policy”.
Foreign Minister Kazykhanov gave assurance to the President that “Kazakhstan supports Afghanistan Security Forces” and pledged that his country would provide an assistance of $ 2 millions for the ASNF forces.
President Karzai thanked for Kazakhstan’s support to Afghanistan in a bid to become an Observer Member State in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and added, “the future of this region will depend on development in Afghanistan”.
The President said that Kazakhstan could play “a bigger role in the region” and underlined that under the framework of bilateral cooperation, enhanced engagement between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan is necessary.
President Karzai underscored that countries in the region had to join hands to eliminate radicalism and terrorism in the region.
Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan also expressed his deep sorrow over the recent earthquake in Baghlan province that resulted in casualties and offered his condolences to the President and the people of Afghanistan.
He also congratulated President Karzai on Observer membership of Afghanistan in the SCO.
Moreover, President Hamid Karzai met in a separate meeting today with Prof. Ekmeledddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of OIC.
The two sides stressed on the unity of Islamic countries and described enhanced regional cooperation as the most important element for economic prosperity and a joint fight against terrorism and radicalism in the region.
Prof. Ekmeledddin Ihsanoglu declared OIC’s support to the Afghan peace process and praised the efforts made by the Government of Afghanistan for strengthening peace in the country.
 

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Kabul (BNA) President Hamid Karzai met on Wednesday with William Hague, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to discuss issues of mutual interest.
During the meeting held in the Presidential Palace, the two sides first discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the region, the peace process and Pakistan's role in this regard.
William Hague said that they had spoken with Pakistani officials on the Pakistan's role in the Afghan peace process and hoped that Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to continue their increased cooperation and talks in this respect.
President Karzai said that there was no other way for the region but to join hands and fight the evil scourge of terrorism and radicalism steadfastly, realistically and honestly.
In a separate meeting, President Hamid Karzai also met with Ms. Fu Ying, Deputy Foreign Minister of China.
President Karzai first thanked Chinese government for their hospitality and warm welcome to the High-level delegation of Afghanistan on his recent trip to China and praised the goodwill and intention of the Chinese government, leading to the success of the President’s visit to that country.
China's Deputy Foreign Minister then thanked President Karzai for the meeting and congratulated him on the membership of Afghanistan as an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Ms. Fu Ying also said that China closely followed the transition in Afghanistan and added that under the framework of bilateral cooperation, China was ready to provide assistance and support to Afghanistan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ying added that China was keen to see peace and stability in Afghanistan since peace and stability in Afghanistan would lead to a safe and stable region. In this context, she said that China supported the negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and hoped that the two countries achieve success to this end.
Underscoring enhanced cooperation between countries of the region in the fight against terrorism, the President said that the region had to honestly cooperate in the war on terrorism.
Deputy Foreign Minister of China also said that the Afghan government could spend, in line with its priorities, a grant assistance of 150 million Yuan to be provided by China.
Separately, President Hamid Karzai also met with Torki Soud, Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia.
The two sides first discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the region and the peace process.
Saudi Foreign Minister then said that peace, stability and security in Afghanistan was important for Saudi Arabia.
Reaffirming his country’s support to the peace process of Afghanistan, he stressed on Pakistan's role in this process and added that peace and stability in Afghanistan would mean peace and stability in Pakistan.
President Karzai thanked Saudi Arabia for its assistance and and support and appreciated the role and consideration of his Majesty Khadim ul-Haramain ul-Sharifain (the Custodian of the two holy mosques), King Abdullah in providing cooperation and assistance to Afghanistan.