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Monday 2 August 2021
 Kabul Local Time
11 Asad 1400, 07:33 AM

Joint statement by Foreign Ministers of SCO Member States on the results of the meeting in the format of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group

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We, the Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States,

advocating Afghanistan's emergence as an independent, neutral, unified, peaceful, democratic and prosperous state,

Aware that achieving peace and stability in that country is a major factor in ensuring security in the SCO region,

Convinced of the need to continue to assist the Afghan people in their efforts to rebuild their country and return to the path of peace and national harmony,

We declare as follows:

As friendly neighbors and important partners of Afghanistan, the SCO Member States are interested in making the country peaceful, stable and prosperous, and reaffirm their respect for the traditions and culture of all peoples inhabiting Afghanistan.

In accordance with generally recognized principles and norms of international law, especially the UN Charter, SCO Member States reaffirm their respect for Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. They intend to assist Afghanistan in becoming a country free of terrorism, war and drugs.

We condemn the ongoing violence and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, whose victims are civilians and representatives of State authorities, and call for their early cessation. We note that the activity of international terrorist organizations remains a key factor of instability in that country. We are deeply concerned by the growing tension in Afghanistan's Northern Provinces caused by the increased concentration of various terrorist, separatist and extremist groups. We consider it important to step up joint efforts by SCO Member States to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism.

We urge all parties involved in the conflict in Afghanistan to refrain from the use of force and actions that could lead to destabilization and unpredictable consequences in areas along Afghanistan's borders with SCO Member States.

The SCO Member States confirm their readiness to further develop cooperation with Afghanistan in combating security challenges and threats in the region, above all terrorism and drug-related crime in all their forms and manifestations, and to jointly confront "double standards" in addressing these tasks.

The SCO Member States, commend the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighboring countries of Afghanistan to Afghan refugees and consider the active efforts of the international community important to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland.

We believe that one of the most important factors in preserving and strengthening security and stability in the SCO region is the speedy resolution of the situation in Afghanistan. In that regard, we stress the need for the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to step up their efforts to restore peace, develop the country's economy and confront terrorism, extremism and drug-related crime. We reaffirm the position of SCO Member States that there is no alternative to settling the conflict in Afghanistan through political dialogue and an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

We call for increased cooperation of all interested states and international organizations under the central coordinating role of the UN for the stabilization and development of this country. In this context, we note the activities of the UN Mission to Afghanistan and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, as well as the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.

We welcome the international community's diplomatic support for the peace process in Afghanistan, including through the inter-Afghan peace talks in Doha, the expanded Troika, the Moscow consultation format and the Tashkent Process. We note the outcome of the ministerial meeting of the "Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process" initiative (March 29-30, 2021, in Dushanbe).

Respecting the Afghan people's autonomous choice of their own path to development, we are convinced that the intra-Afghan negotiation process must take into account the interests of all ethnic groups represented in the country.

We attach great importance to joint work within the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. We consider it necessary to consistently implement the Roadmap for further actions of the SCO Contact Group adopted on 14 June 2019 in Bishkek, in order to strengthen stability in the region and develop relations between the SCO Member States and Afghanistan.

We confirm the readiness of our countries to further deepen cooperation with Afghanistan in the fields of politics, security, economy and humanitarian interaction, including through the fullest realization of the potential of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's participation in the status of an Observer State in the SCO.

Dushanbe, July 14, 2021

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