On April 13, the fourth ministerial gathering of Afghanistan’s neighboring nations took place in Samarkand, with foreign ministers from Uzbekistan, Iran, China, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan in attendance, the Foreign Ministry press service reported.
Afghan Interim Government Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki and Taliban representatives also attended the meeting, Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Hafiz Zia Ahmad said on Twitter.
The event was chaired by the Uzbek side.
“We, Afghanistan’s closest neighbours, are more interested than anyone else in the speedy stabilization of the situation in the country. Moreover, like it or not, we shouldered the main burden of responsibility for reviving the Afghan economy and providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people,” acting Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov said in opening the conference.
He asserted that the international community must extend its efforts beyond merely providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, emphasizing the need to support economic and infrastructure projects within the nation that will lay the foundation for a peaceful future.
Photo: Foreign Ministry Press Service
The acting minister noted that the format of consultations of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries is in demand and “contributes to the development of joint approaches and actions regarding the current situation in this country.”
“The situation in Afghanistan remains complex. We are deeply convinced that in the foreseeable future the Afghan issue will continue to be one of the key factors of regional and global security, affecting the interests of many states, especially the neighbouring countries,” Bakhtiyor Saidov said.
He stressed that the world community expects the new authorities in Kabul to fulfil their obligations, especially the creation of an inclusive government, respect for the rights of women and national minorities and severing ties with terrorist groups.
Bakhtiyor Saidov also noted that the situation in Afghanistan in the foreseeable future will remain a key factor in regional and global security.
Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki said in his speech that the Samarkand meeting “demonstrates our joint commitment to stability, security and economic prosperity in our region.
“This indicates that we have a common future, and we must come together to take full advantage of opportunities related to stability and security and respond responsibly to common threats. Afghanistan is ready for close and coordinated engagement with the region,” he said.
He added that the Taliban hopes that regional countries will work together to create conditions of stability and economic prosperity in Afghanistan so that it can help Afghanistan play a constructive role.
“We are also ready to fulfil our obligations as a responsible government. Under no circumstances will we allow Afghanistan to become an arena of negative clashes and illegitimate rivalries,” Amir Khan Muttaki said.
Almost two years after the establishment of the current government, he said, “there has not been a single serious security incident rooted in Afghanistan.”
The states of the region, he said, must remain vigilant so that their policies toward Afghanistan do not fall prey to negative propaganda and machinations of opposing powers.
“Rather, Afghanistan should be viewed through the lens of regional security, stability and economic ties. Positive and decisive regional cooperation in the political, security and economic spheres can prove beneficial to the interests of both Afghanistan and the entire region,” Amir Khan Muttaki stressed.
During the forum, the sides discussed the current situation in Afghanistan, the issues of implementation by the current authorities of this country of the key requirements of the international community — creation of an inclusive government, providing access to work and to education for Afghan women, respect for the rights of national minorities.
The need to develop a mechanism for joint actions aimed at providing humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and restoring the national economy of the country was emphasized.
The gathering underscored the significance of bolstering efforts by Afghanistan’s neighboring nations in the fight against international terrorism, as well as tackling drug production and trafficking.
The parties noted the importance of promoting Afghanistan’s potential as a key factor in regional connectivity between Central and South Asia.
In this context, the parties called for the implementation of infrastructure and socio-economic projects in Afghanistan with the participation of neighbouring countries, which will not only help create new jobs but also more actively integrate the country into regional economic processes.