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.