Samarkand meeting participants seek inclusive government in Afghanistan

The fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring States was held on April 13 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan where foreign ministers and senior officials of China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended.

The participants of the meeting in a joint declaration published by China’s Foreign Ministry said that in a frank and pragmatic atmosphere of mutual understanding, the Parties held a comprehensive, deep and constructive discussion of the current situation in Afghanistan, the prospects for its development.

The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the development of Afghanistan as a peaceful, united, sovereign and independent state, free from the threats of terrorism and drug trafficking.

They noted the importance of building an inclusive and broad-based governance system in Afghanistan that reflects the interests of all segments of Afghan society.

The parties noted that the terrorism-related security situation in Afghanistan was still severe and reaffirmed their commitment to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism and security among neighboring countries and to develop a united front against terrorism, the declaration said.

They pointed out that all terrorist groups, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaeda, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Jundallah, Jaish al-Adl, Jamaat Ansarullah, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and other terrorist organizations based in Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to regional and global security.

The participants of the meeting stressed the importance of combating the drug threat and called for support for the development of drug crop substitution programs, as well as for combating drug production and trafficking.

They emphasized the need for the international community to maintain dialogue and communication with Afghanistan and called for further measures to improve the living conditions of the people and expressed confidence that “the Afghan authorities” will respect fundamental human rights, including the rights of all ethnic groups, women and children, and will provide every citizen of Afghanistan with equal rights to participate in the socio-political, economic and cultural life of the country.

The parties noted the relevance of coordinating regional and international efforts to ensure security and stability in the region, emphasizing the positive contribution of existing regional forums, including the Tashkent International Conference “Afghanistan: Security and Economic Development” and the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan.

They expressed their deep concern about the humanitarian situation and the poor economic situation in the country, declaring their readiness to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and providing support for the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The participants highlighted the key role of the United Nations in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, calling on the international community to intensify emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

They reaffirmed the importance of countering attempts to politicize the provision of humanitarian assistance needed by the people of Afghanistan and stressed that the distribution and use of humanitarian assistance should serve for the benefit of the ordinary Afghan people.

The parties emphasized that assistance to Kabul in restoring the national economy will allow creation of decent living conditions for the population and reduce the flow of migration abroad.

They noted the fundamental significance of major international energy, transport, communication, infrastructure and other projects implemented by neighboring countries for the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and its active integration into the world economy.

The parties took note of the initiative of Uzbekistan to create an International Negotiation Group under the auspices of the UN and Tajikistan’s initiative to create a “security belt” around Afghanistan and look forward to receiving comprehensive concept notes from the initiators.

They urged the countries mainly responsible for the current predicament in Afghanistan to earnestly fulfill commitments on the economic recovery and future development of Afghanistan.

The parties reaffirmed the launch of three working group meetings namely political and diplomatic, economic and humanitarian, security and stability at an early date.

The declaration concluded that the parties expressed gratitude and appreciation to Uzbekistan for holding the Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers at a high organizational level, and supported the proposal to hold the Fifth Meeting of Foreign Ministers in Ashgabat in 2024, or at an earlier date, if needed.

The meeting was also attended by the Taliban’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.