Statement by H.E. Edrees Zaman Acting Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Meeting
Bratislava- Slovakia, 5-6 December, 2018
Excellency, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák Chairman of the OSCE
Excellency Secretary General Mr. Thomas Greminger
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to echo all previous speakers in expressing our deepest gratitude to the Slovak OSCE Chairmanship for hosting today’s Ministerial.
Let me take this opportunity to thank Italy for ably chairing the Asian Contact Group this year. We now look forward to work closely with Slovakia as the next Chair of the Asian Partners for Co-operation Group for the year 2020.
Our gratitude also goes to H.E. Thomas Greminger and the OSCE Secretariat for their continuous engagement and cooperation in strengthening our partnership with the OSCE.
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 16th anniversary of our partnership with the OSCE. During these sixteen years we have benefited immensely from knowledge and expertise of the OSCE in different fields.
Mr. Chairman, Excellences;
Just few days ago, our brave Defense and Security forces wiped out Daesh from eastern parts of our country. Around one thousand Deash fighters have surrendered together with their families after scores of their commanders and fighters were killed. As the country on the forefront of fighting international terrorism, we are vehemently determined to wipe out terrorist footprints from our territory.
Taliban continue to be the primary partner for all foreign terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan. There are still strong links and cooperation between Taliban and Al-Qaida, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as well as nearly 20 other regionally and globally focused groups.
Taliban and these other associated terrorist groups maintain their ability to generate financial revenues through narcotics trade, illicit mineral extraction, taxation, extortion and donations from abroad. Taliban are immensely involved and greatly benefit from the international narcotics trade. This not only provides them with a significant source of income but also brings them into systematic engagement and partnership with the regional and international organized crime groups.
The Government of Afghanistan remains engaged in implementing its national strategy to address the lingering problem of narcotics, in all its aspects. We hope to do so with a greater degree of collaboration with regional and international partners.
Excellences, Distinguished Delegates,
The war in Afghanistan has been going on for decades but with the withdrawal of the bulk of foreign troops in 2014, the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces have been bearing the brunt of fighting insurgency and terrorism in the country. We are of the view that the war in Afghanistan should end through political settlement.
I am pleased to announce that the Afghan government has prepared a 7 steps Peace Plan. We have clearly asserted that regional and international support is vital for the success of the Afghan-led peace process. I would like to take this opportunity to express a word of thanks to all partners, inside and outside our region, who are supporting our peace efforts.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Regional co-operation remains key in addressing regional challenges and threats. The Afghan-led initiatives such as the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and RECCA Process have also tremendously contributed towards greater economic cooperation, building mutual trust, increasing regional connectivity and shared prosperity. In this regard we look forward to the next Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process Ministerial Meeting which is going to be held next week in Istanbul.
Mr. Chairman; Ladies and Gentlemen,
Afghanistan is committed to develop and strengthen a long-term cooperation with the OSCE. Afghanistan-related projects have benefitted immensely from the OSCE field presences in Central Asia..
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we commend the progress achieved so far by the Asian Partners for Co-operation group in the OSCE and we welcome the proposed Ministerial Declaration on Co-operation with the Asian Partners particularly the references made on Afghanistan in paragraph 5, and look forward to its adoption shortly.
Last but not least, I would like to welcome Albania as the next Chair of the OSCE and look forward to working closely with them as we move forward.
Statement by Idrees Zaman Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at The Informal Meeting of CICA Foreign Ministers
Distinguished Foreign Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to address this Meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) here in New York.
Let me first express my gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan for its outstanding efforts and leadership in chairing CICA over the past two years. I would also like to congratulate Tajikistan on the successful convening of the 5th CICA Summit in Dushanbe in June We also warmly welcome the Republic of Kazakhstan’s intention to assume the chairmanship of this forum for the period 2020 to 2022.
Regional cooperation is key for economic development, peace and prosperity in our region. Our success in this area depends exclusively on our continued collective efforts to a comprehensive understanding between our nations.
Since its establishment, CICA has made great efforts and achievements in building trust among its Member States. Nevertheless, there is much more potential for this forum to contribute further in the areas of peace, security and prosperity in the region and beyond. Afghanistan, as a Member State, supports such efforts and will continue to accompany all steps taken towards the strengthening of this platform.
The existing global threats require close collaboration and cooperation amongst nations across the world. The security threats posed by international terrorist activities are one of the main challenges of our region, with negative impacts on regional development and economic cooperation. Addressing these challenges requires greater and more sincere efforts by all of us.
A particularly important and urgent area where we need to work more effectively is counter-terrorism. We must deny safe havens to terrorists and dismantle and target their operational capabilities. In this regard, it is essential to strengthening regional and international cooperation, since no single state can tackle the threat of transnational terrorism alone, especially with the rise of regional terrorist groups such as ISIS/Daesh.
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process is an important initiative towards strengthening regional cooperation. The process has been an addition to this forum - providing further grounds in building regional trust and bringing synergy to the region. Afghanistan has been placed at the heart of this process and we have been active in highlighting CICA as one of the most important regional platforms to make the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process a success. Let me note that one of the three mandates of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process is to cooperate and to complement the work and efforts of other regional processes and organizations such this one. In doing so, we will continue to work closely with CICA in the implementation of the Confidence Building Measures set by Heart of Asia, and in political consultations on the framework of that Process
In closing, Mr. Chairman, please allow me to once again reiterate Afghanistan’s full support and commitment to this Conference, its guiding principles and the need to achieving its important goals and objective of securing a peaceful and stable Asia for all its inhabitants.
ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani, and State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi held the 3rd Session of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Islamabad on 07 September 2019.
The three sides noted with satisfaction the progress made under the trilateral cooperation since the 2nd Dialogue held in Kabul, on 18 December 2018. The three Foreign Ministers reiterated their resolve to further deepen various strands of trilateral cooperation. They agreed to continue their joint efforts for building political mutual trust and supporting reconciliation, regional peace and stability, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as key areas of the trilateral cooperation.
The three sides condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, Konduz, Baghlan and Farah, which have taken many innocent civilian lives including women and children.
China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, while closely following recent developments in the regional situation, reiterated their support for a politically negotiated settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan. In this regard, they took note of the talks between the U.S. and the Taliban. They expressed hope that intra-Afghan negotiations including direct negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban begin soon and lead to full cessation of violence bringing lasting peace for the people of Afghanistan. They particularly underlined the need for an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process leading to a comprehensive agreement for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Based on respect for the will of the Afghan people, while appreciating the efforts made by the Government of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan expressed their continued support for Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process as well as for the efforts towards reconstruction and economic development in the country.
The three sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their relations, exploring new ways of deepening cooperation, including advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and other regional economic initiatives.
The three sides agreed to explore ‘China-Afghanistan-Pakistan plus’ cooperation, as well as working towards promoting trade and connectivity projects between Afghanistan and Pakistan, such as Kabul-Peshawar Motorway.
The three sides welcomed the progress made on implementation of projects agreed under the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Practical Cooperation Dialogue (CAPPCD). They agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of economic development, capacity building, improving livelihood and people-to-people exchanges.
China expressed its readiness to support construction of refrigeration storages, clinic centers, drinking water supply schemes and immigration reception centers at crossing points between Afghanistan and Pakistan to facilitate the movement of people and trade activities among the two countries. The three sides welcomed the plans to hold a trilateral friendly cricket tournament among junior cricket teams of the three countries in Beijing in October 2019. They also agreed to arrange a capacity building workshop of young diplomats from the three countries under the Junior Diplomats Exchange Program to be held in Pakistan in October 2019.
The three Foreign Ministers agreed to organize an Archaeologists’ Exchange Program, explore cooperation among the Red Crescent Societies of the three countries, besides regularly undertaking exchange projects in the areas of media, think-tanks, sports, joint training etc.
China, Afghanistan and Pakistan reiterated their strong resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and without any distinction. They reaffirmed commitment of not letting any terrorist organization, element or individual use their soils against any country. They also decided to work towards effectively implementing the trilateral MoU on Cooperation in Counter-terrorism, signed at the 2nd round of Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue held in Kabul, and agreed on a list of initial projects of enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation in this regard. They recognized the need to continue their joint fight against ETIM and its supporters and facilitators. The three sides committed to promote measures to counter terrorist’s logistical capabilities including terror-financing, recruitment and training.
The three sides agreed to take advantage of the trilateral Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue, the Vice-Ministerial Consultation on Counter-Terrorism and Security, and the Director-General Level Practical Cooperation Dialogue to implement the consensus of the 3rd Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue.
The Foreign Ministers of China and Afghanistan thanked Pakistan for the successful organization of the 3rd round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue and for its warm hospitality. The three countries decided to hold the next round of Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing in 2020.
Statement by H.E Salahuddin Rabbani Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the High-Level Conference "International and Regional Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and its Finance through Illicit Drug Trafficking & OC
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Your Excellency, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Brother Sirojiddin Muhriddin,
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to thank our good neighbor the Republic of Tajikistan for the kind invitation and hosting this important meeting on a very pressing issue in a crucial moment for our region.
Despite international investment, terrorism and organized crime are growing and bringing instability and disruption to the region and beyond.
As a country suffered massively over the past four decades in fighting terrorism, Afghanistan attaches high value to such initiatives aiming to take collective and integrated approach to defeat this menace as the enemy of our civilization.
There is deep linkage and interaction between terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking, and therefore, we need to develop a multidimensional regional strategy for countering narcotics and establishment of coordinated structures.
It is an undeniable fact that our region has the highest concentration of the terrorist networks anywhere. They are not just regional, but also international, such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh.
The main goal of these terrorist groups is to create a network of cooperation with criminal syndicates, and to destabilize the national security of the countries.
They obtain funds by extorting the population, kidnapping, illegal extraction of minerals, human and drug trafficking.
The mounting pressure on Daesh in Iraq and Syria, may lead to the relocation of this group to some other parts of the world, including our region.
This is the issue that remains a source of great concern and history must not be repeated elsewhere.
The disrupting of terrorists funds by using financial investigation can be an effective method for the regional countries to better respond to this challenge.
As part of our commitment in fighting terrorism and organized crime, since 2006, we have established the Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Center of Afghanistan (FinTRACA).
The main mission of this center is to deny the use of the Afghan Financial institutions to those who have obtained funds as the results of illegal activities, and to those who would use it to support terrorist activities and other crimes.
At the international level, FinTRACA has signed 18 Memorandums of Understandings, including with the five Central Asian states and the Russian Federation.
We share long borders with three Central Asian states, namely Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Therefore the security, stability and prosperity of our countries and the region are deeply inter-connected with each other.
To this end, we need to further increase information sharing, enhance border security and management, develop our legal regimes and exchange the best experiences on countering financing of terrorism.
From our perspective, the network of financing terrorism has regional and global dimensions, and not a single country can solve this problem alone.
It is imperative to develop a common and coordinated strategy to address all aspects of terrorism and organized crime, including financial flows.
We need regional cooperation to establish a mechanism of verification and coordination for eliminating the existing threats, and to take practical steps in implementing the United Nations Global Strategy on countering terrorism and its financing, and the UN Security Council relevant resolutions in this regard.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In conclusion, I would like to assure the international community that Afghanistan will continue to be a reliable partner in fighting terrorism and organized crime.
At the same time, to achieve a durable peace is our highest national priority and fundamental demand of our people.
To this end, during recent months, efforts have been increased nationally and internationally, and we are hopeful that these efforts will create a favorite environment leading to direct talks between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. It is also necessary that any engagement should be based on the Afghan owned and Afghan led peace process.
We strongly believe that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan would be in the interest of the entire region and beyond.
Opening Remarks by H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Ambassadorial Meeting
Ambassadors of the member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to thank you all for your presence and participation in this meeting.
It is an indication of your strong commitment to the SCO and the implementation of its mission objectives for ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity in the SCO region.
I hope this meeting will help us explore more ways to expand further cooperation between Afghanistan and the SCO member-states in the coming months.
And in the coming years, we look forward to achieving full membership of the SCO, on which we need the support of all of you, as you rendered such support to India and Pakistan, which acquired full membership in 2017.
Also, please allow me to extend my appreciation to each one of you for further deepening ties between Afghanistan and your respective countries.
As we all know, our nations share common needs and are confronted with similar challenges, which require us to work together to maintain peace and stability in the SCO region and to free our region from such threats as terrorism, radicalism, separatism, and criminality.
Regional Cooperation lies at the forefront of our foreign policy, and SCO with one-third of the world’s population and a growing economy in our own broader neighborhood, is naturally very important for Afghanistan.
Indeed, we are an organic part of the SCO region, neighboring near and far all SCO member-states.
This demonstrates the inevitable inter-dependence of the SCO region where peace and prosperity in one member-state spills over into another, as much as the threats, which I pointed out, transcend the borders of the SCO region.
That is why the Government of Afghanistan applied for the full membership of the SCO in 2015.
This will help enable us to address the challenges that commonly face all of us in the SCO region, while enhancing collaboration on the many shared opportunities for regional connectivity for increased trade and people-to-people ties among our respective nations.
As our SCO membership remains pending, we continue requesting support from all member-states to back our consistent efforts to join the SCO.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a coordination group, which consists of representatives from Office of the President, Office of the Chief Executive, and the Parliament, helping speed up the process of our full accession to the SCO.
Moreover, the Afghanistan-SCO Contact Group resumed its activities in 2017.
A protocol was signed between Afghanistan and SCO in 2018, on the sidelines of the Qingdao Summit in China, to conduct consultations on political issues and the fight against terrorism, extremism and illicit drug trafficking, as well as involving Afghanistan in the regional economic cooperation processes.
I would like to thank the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China for holding the first and the second meetings of the Contact Group.
We will have the next meeting of the Contact Group on April 19 in Bishkek, and I wish to thank the Kyrgyz Republic for hosting the meeting.
The upcoming meeting is of particular significance, as Afghanistan, based on the agreed protocol, will co-chair it with Kyrgyzstan for the first time.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our region is facing numerous security challenges. Terrorism remains our primary concern, as the Afghan people have borne the brunt of attacks by terrorist networks, which continue to find easy and safe havens in the region.
That is why we must cooperate under the SCO umbrella to fight this transnational menace.
The protocol on counter-terrorism cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO in 2015.
We are committed to fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, while exchanging our experience and public information analysis with the RATS.
I am confident that our full membership in the SCO would enable us to do more, working with others more closely to achieve the intended goals of the RATS against the common security threats facing the SCO member-states.
Connectivity improves regional economic cooperation, spurring economic growth and development of our region for integration.
As the Heart of Asia, Afghanistan is a natural land-bridge in the SCO region, connecting the member-states with each other and providing land-routes for goods from East Asia to Europe, as well as serving as a hub for the Silk Road’s trade and transit routes.
With these potentials for security and economic cooperation in mind, I renew our call for your kind support to expedite Afghanistan’s full membership of the SCO.
The sooner we are a full member, the more we will be able to contribute to the SCO efforts to further enhance regional economic and security cooperation.
Thank you again for your participation. Deputy Foreign Minister Zaman will be here to chair this meeting, and I look forward to your productive discussions throughout the meeting.