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Wang Yi Attends First Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan
2021/09/08

On September 8, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the First Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Beijing via video link.

Wang Yi said, Afghanistan is now standing at the crossroads of history. The United States and its allies withdrew from Afghanistan hastily, indicating that the power politics, military intervention and so-called "democratic transformation" promoted by the Western countries led by the United States ended in failure. However, Afghanistan is still facing severe challenges such as humanitarian issues, people's livelihoods and the COVID-19 pandemic. Some international forces may also use political, economic and financial means to create new troubles for Afghanistan. Yesterday, the Afghan Taliban announced the formation of an interim government, the "interim" indicated that Afghanistan's future still has a lot of uncertainties.

Wang Yi noted, we, as the neighboring countries are more eager than anyone else to see Afghanistan get out of war and chaos, and resume peace and development. We should seize the critical window for the situation in Afghanistan to change from chaos to governance, to exert a positive influence on the situation development on the basis of respecting the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

Wang Yi stressed that we should make an objective assessment of the history of the Afghan issue and call on the United States and its allies to learn profound lessons and assume their due responsibilities on the Afghan issue. The United States and its allies are the culprits of the Afghan issue. Over the past 20 years, terrorist forces in Afghanistan have been on the rise instead of being eradicated, and the Afghan people have been stuck in poverty and hardship instead of achieving development and dignity. The common view of the international community is that the end of military intervention by the United States and its allies should be the beginning of them assuming their responsibilities. They are more obligated than any other country to provide economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, and help Afghanistan maintain stability, prevent chaos and move toward sound development on the premise of respecting the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan.

Wang Yi said, we should guide and urge the Afghan Taliban to unite with all ethnic groups and factions, build a broad and inclusive political structure, pursue moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, draw a clear line with terrorist forces, and establish and develop friendly relations with other countries, especially neighboring countries. The Taliban has recently made positive statements on issues such as forming a government, fighting terrorism and making friends with its neighbors. We welcome the statements and the key is to transform them into concrete action. The two most important points are extensive tolerance and resolute crackdown on terrorism. We hope that the Taliban can learn from historical experience, actively interact with all ethnic groups and factions in Afghanistan during reigning the interim government, and earnestly fulfill their commitments to strive for international recognition.

Wang Yi said, Afghanistan's neighbors should play a unique role in addressing their own legitimate concerns and providing a good external environment for Afghanistan's stability and reconstruction. At the current stage, we can focus on coordination and cooperation from the following six aspects:

First, helping Afghanistan strengthen pandemic prevention and control. As one of the countries with the lowest vaccination rate in the world, Afghanistan is at risk of accelerated spread of the pandemic. All parties can join hands and continue to provide anti-pandemic supplies and technical assistance to Afghanistan. China has decided to donate 3 million vaccine doses to the Afghan people in the first batch. China is also ready to provide more anti-pandemic and emergency materials to Afghanistan under the China-South Asian Countries Emergency Supplies Reserve.

Second, keeping port gates open. Afghanistan's economic and trade exchanges are highly dependent on land ports. On the premise of ensuring the security of our countries, we should maintain unimpeded ports of entry with Afghanistan. China is ready to actively discuss the resumption of China-Afghanistan freight trains, support other neighboring countries in enhancing customs clearance capacity-building with Afghanistan, and facilitate Afghanistan's interaction with the outside world, especially its access to humanitarian supplies.

Third, strengthening the management and control of refugees and migrants. The United States and its allies should take the primary responsibility for addressing the issue of Afghan refugees and migrants, while providing countries that are in a position and willing to host Afghan refugees with necessary compensations. We call on the Taliban to make its administration more inclusive and predictable, so that the people can live and work in peace and contentment, a move which will fundamentally reduce the number of new refugees and migrants. Meanwhile, we should vigorously support the United Nations and other multilateral mechanisms in playing an active role in this regard.

Fourth, offering humanitarian assistance as soon as possible. Neighboring countries ought to help each other and lend a helping hand to each other in times of difficulty. Based on the needs of the Afghan people, China has decided to urgently provide food, materials for winter, COVID-19 vaccines, and medicines worth 200 million yuan. When security and other conditions are available, China is willing to help Afghanistan build projects that will contribute to improving people's livelihood, and support peace, reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan within its capacity.

Fifth, deepening cooperation on the counter-terrorism and security fronts. Changes in the situation in Afghanistan have complicated the landscape of international and regional fight against terrorism. We should urge the Taliban to resolutely make a clean break with all extremist and terrorist forces and take effective steps to restrain and combat them. All parties should step up intelligence sharing and cooperation in border control, timely arrest and eliminate terrorist groups slipping in from Afghanistan, and ensure regional security and stability.

Sixth, carrying out cooperation in drug control. The Taliban has recently announced that Afghanistan would not be a country of cultivation of opium anymore, which we should encourage and support. Besides, we should also help Afghan farmers launch alternative cultivation and jointly eliminate the sources of drugs in the region. Meanwhile, China is ready to take joint actions with all parties to combat transnational drug crimes in the region and protect the people's lives and health and social stability in the region.

Wang Yi concluded that the foreign ministers' meeting today is the first attempt by Afghanistan's neighboring countries to work closely in response to the evolving situation in the country. It also signifies the establishment of a coordination and cooperation mechanism of its neighboring countries, which is both timely and necessary. The meeting will give a common voice and an explicit political message of its neighboring countries. China supports the continued operation of this unique mechanism so that countries can share policy propositions, coordinate their positions and jointly address challenges through this platform.

The participants stressed that it is imperative for Afghanistan's neighboring countries to harmonize their opinions and stances in the face of the changes in this country. The international community should respect Afghanistan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, assist it in realizing security and stability and rebuilding its economy, and provide urgent humanitarian assistance. The United States and its allies must shoulder their due responsibilities. The participants called for an open and inclusive new Afghan government which will represent all ethnic groups and factions and completely cut its ties with all types of international terrorist organizations. All participants spoke highly of the consensus reached at the First Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, recognized its unique role, and agreed to institutionalize this foreign ministers' meeting.

The First Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan was chaired by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, and Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev attended the meeting.

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