|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Arria Formula Meeting on Afghanistan|
Thank you for chairing today’s meeting. I welcome the presence of President Ghani and Foreign Minister Atmar of Afghanistan and all the other Foreign Ministers. I listened carefully to their statements and the remarks of the briefers and other representatives.
Afghanistan is the heart of Asia. The situation there has a direct impact on the peace and stability of the region. As the peace and reconciliation process now enters a critical juncture, so does the future of Afghanistan.
China welcomes the launch of the first intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on 12 September, which provides a window of opportunity to end the conflict that has plagued Afghanistan for decades.
Parties to the negotiations should increase mutual trust and work towards a representative and inclusive political arrangement. As a close neighbor of Afghanistan, China sincerely hopes that the parties involved could, through peace talks, bridge differences, lay down their arms, and find an effective political solution that will bring peace, stability and development to Afghanistan at an early date.
There is no doubt that the negotiation process will not be an easy and smooth sailing. But the parties involved should stay committed and strive for best results. History has told us that the Afghanistan issue can only be resolved through political means.
The international community should respect the Afghan people's will and make sure the peace process is "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned". No external actors shall impose solutions, or use the Afghanistan issue to serve their domestic agenda.
China stands ready to provide a platform for intra-Afghan talks, and will continue to work with other parties to push forward the peace process under relevant mechanisms, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral dialogue.
We strongly condemn recent terrorist attacks against educational institutions in Afghanistan, which caused heavy casualties among students. This once again shows that the security situation in Afghanistan remains tense. Much work needs to be done.
Continued support from the international community is needed to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan security forces so as to better combat terrorism, protect civilians, and improve the security situation on the ground.
China calls on all parties in Afghanistan to heed the SG’s ceasefire initiative and stop the violence immediately.
While implementing the US-Taliban agreement, parties concerned should ensure that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan be conducted in an orderly and responsible manner to avoid a security vacuum which will lead to the return of terrorists and undermine the interests of Afghanistan and regional countries.
Afghanistan is a bridge between South Asia and Central Asia. Only through connectivity and regional cooperation can it fully unleash its geographical potentials to better promote national development and improve people’s livelihood.
China will continue to help Afghanistan strengthen economic ties and connectivity partnerships with regional countries, including through collaboration under the Belt and Road Initiative. We call upon the international community should provide more support for the socioeconomic development of Afghanistan and help it implement the National Peace and Development Framework (2021-2025) to better address difficult issues such as poverty, refugees and narcotics.
China welcomes the upcoming 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva. We wish the conference a full success and hope to see pledge of substantial assistance to Afghan people by the international community.
It is highly imperative to scale up humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to help it contain the COVID-19 pandemic. China has already provided several batches of medical aid and sent medical expert teams to Afghanistan, and will continue to stand with the Afghan people and offer our help.
Finally, let me emphasize that as a close neighbor and sincere friend of Afghanistan, China is a supporter, mediator and facilitator of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. We will continue working closely with the international community and playing a constructive role for peace, tranquility and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Thank you, Mr. President.