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Remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Istanbul Summit on Friendship and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia
2010/01/27

ISTANBUL, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Yang Jiechi, special representative of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Minister of Foreign Affairs, made remarks at the Istanbul Summit on Friendship and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia on Tuesday, following is the full text of his speech.

President Gul, President Karzai, President Zardari, Vice President Rahimi, Excellencies and Colleagues,

It is a distinct pleasure for me to come to the magnificent city of Istanbul and attend the regional summit on Afghanistan as the special representative of President Hu Jintao. Let me begin by wishing the meeting a full success. We highly appreciate Turkey's efforts in addressing the issue of Afghanistan, and we support the tripartite cooperation among Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Excellencies and Colleagues,

Over the past eight years, we have seen how the Afghan people have risen to challenge and worked unyieldingly to rebuild their country. Afghanistan has gradually recovered from the traumas of war and scored commendable achievements in institution building, economic development and external relations. The successful presidential election held by the Afghan people in 2009 was of special significance, as it marked an important step forward towards the goal of "Afghanistan run by the Afghans." The international community, for its part, has actively reached out to Afghanistan to help secure peace, restore stability and rebuild the economy. Countries around the world have shown great care and concern for the well-being of the Afghan people. But on the other hand, Afghanistan is still confronted with a myriad of daunting challenges. The security situation remains volatile, the process of economic reconstruction is slow and people's livelihood needs urgent improvement. All these are sources of particular concern.

Excellencies and Colleagues,

Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. It should build on past achievements and strive for greater progress. We sincerely hope that with the hard work of the Afghan government and people and the strong support of the international community, a peaceful, stable and independent Afghanistan that enjoys development and good-neighborliness will emerge in the world.

A peaceful and stable Afghanistan should be free from war and turmoil. It should eradicate the threat of terrorism. It should accept the existence of diverse ethnic groups, religions and political affiliations and rise above their differences to achieve comprehensive and enduring national reconciliation.

An independent Afghanistan should be treated as an equal member of the international community and fully respected by all countries. It should enjoy inviolable sovereign independence, territorial integrity and national dignity. Its future and destiny should be determined and its state affairs run by its own people.

An Afghanistan that enjoys development should follow a development path that suits its national circumstances and the trend of our time. It should make unremitting efforts to improve institutions, strengthen governance, develop the economy, raise people's living standards and achieve social equity, justice and harmony.

An Afghanistan that enjoys good-neighborliness should grow amicable ties and engage in win-win cooperation with all other countries in the region, especially its neighbors. It should be a part of the regional cooperation mechanisms and contribute its share to peace, stability and development of the region.

Excellencies and Colleagues,

How can we, countries in the region, and especially neighbors of Afghanistan, help to build such a new Afghanistan? I believe we should focus our efforts on the following four aspects.

First, we should bring into full play our advantages and get actively involved in Afghanistan's reconstruction process. Countries in the region have special associations with Afghanistan due to geographical, religious, ethnic and linguistic reasons. We should employ our unique influence to help Afghanistan realize peace, stability, economic development and social harmony at an early date. We should facilitate its integration into regional and international cooperation. And we must always remember to fully respect the independence of Afghanistan.

Second, we should scale up cooperation and make our assistance more focused. We should enhance coordination and achieve greater synergy in helping Afghanistan. We should accord top priority to Afghanistan's capacity building and human resources development. And we should, under the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, engage in result-oriented cooperation with Afghanistan in such key areas as transport and trade facilitation, energy, communications, drug control and education.

Third, we should strengthen coordination and improve efficiency. There are now quite a number of mechanisms and initiatives regarding Afghanistan. Countries in the region should increase communication to ensure that the relevant mechanisms are viable, practical and efficient and can play a positive role in bringing about an early solution to the Afghan issue. We should avoid overlapping of various mechanisms as that can only waste our resources. It is important to fully respect and accommodate the shared aspirations of Afghanistan and its neighbors, engage in consultations on an equal footing, seek incremental progress and gradually build and expand consensus.

Fourth, we should be open and inclusive and promote sound interactions with other partners. Cooperation between countries in the region and Afghanistan is only a part of the international endeavor to support Afghanistan's reconstruction. It is imperative to respect the leading role of the United Nations in coordinating international efforts and demonstrate openness and transparency. Countries outside the region should vigorously support the efforts of countries in the region and fully appreciate their difficulties in order to foster sound interactions between the two.

Excellencies and Colleagues,

China is a neighbor of Afghanistan and the friendship between our peoples dates back to antiquity. China has actively supported, promoted and participated in Afghanistan's post-war peace and reconstruction effort. Since 2002, we have cancelled all mature debts owed by the Afghan government and provided a total of more than RMB 900 million yuan grant assistance. We have launched a large number of assistance programs in Afghanistan to help improve people's lives, including a series of big projects such as the Jomhuri Hospital (Republican Hospital) and the Parwan irrigation project. These projects have made a positive impact in the country's reconstruction process. China has trained over 500 Afghan government officials in a broad range of areas, including diplomacy, economy and trade, medical and health care, finance, tourism, agriculture and counternarcotics.

Looking ahead, China will continue to give support to Afghanistan within its capacity. China announced last year that it would turn all its previously committed 75 million U.S. dollars concessional loans into grant assistance, to be provided over a five-year period. The first tranche of funds was already delivered in 2009, and the remaining 60 million U.S. dollars will be made available in the coming four years. In addition, we will keep on assisting Afghanistan in such areas as vocational training and human resources development. Thank you.

 
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