|Qin Gang Attends the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan|
On April 13, 2023 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang attended the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Samarkand. The meeting was chaired by Uzbek Acting Foreign Minister Bakhtiyor Saidov. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev, and Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar were present.
Qin Gang said that in the midst of unsettled stability, change and confusion, Afghanistan is standing in a critical period of domestic and foreign policy adjustment and transformation, which calls for more urgent attention and input from the international community, especially its neighbors. All parties should demonstrate the spirit of good-neighborliness, friendship and mutual assistance, advance the implementation of the outcomes of the previous foreign ministers' meetings, and speak with one voice on supporting Afghanistan's reconstruction and development and promoting regional security and stability.
Citing a Chinese saying, Qin Gang noted that “when one family gets in trouble, all its neighbors may be affected”. The long-standing Afghan issue stems from both the "uncured old diseases" and "new illness". Afghanistan's neighboring countries should play a leading role in helping Afghanistan overcome difficulties and challenges and achieve stable development.
First, crack down on the terrorist forces in Afghanistan, remove the breeding ground for terrorism, and resolutely prevent Afghanistan from relapsing back into a safe haven, breeding ground and diffusion source of terrorism. At the same time, neighboring countries of Afghanistan need to deepen regional cooperation on counter-terrorism, drug control and refugees, strengthen border control, and jointly help Afghanistan enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities to effectively curb cross-border movement of terrorists and prevent them from growing stronger and wreaking more havoc.
Second, urge the United States to fulfill its responsibilities. The US, who created the Afghan issue in the first place, has yet to reflect on the serious harm it has caused to the Afghan people. The US should immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and return Afghanistan's overseas funds.
Third, call on Afghan Taliban to promote inclusive governance. On the basis of respecting Afghanistan’s independence, sovereignty and national self-esteem, neighboring countries of Afghanistan should guide the Afghan Taliban to follow the trend of the times, learn from the mature practices of other Muslim countries, and show more inclusiveness and progressiveness in building a government and exercising governance.
Fourth, carry out practical cooperation related to Afghanistan. Neighboring countries of Afghanistan should speed up the implementation of the Tunxi Initiative, and support Afghanistan in leveraging its geographical advantage as the "heart of Asia" to integrate the country into regional connectivity and economic integration, and enhance its capacity for self-reliance and sustainable development.
Qin Gang said that China will continue to provide support within its capacity for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and is ready to work with neighboring countries to act on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendships and partnerships with neighbors, deepen friendship, mutual trust and convergence of interests with neighboring countries, join hands to promote proper settlement of the Afghan issue, and stay committed to promoting universal security and common development in the region.
The participating parties conducted in-depth discussions on the Afghan issue, and agreed that the meeting of neighboring foreign ministers is held at the right time, and that countries in the region, sharing a common future and destiny, should strengthen coordination and cooperation, jointly implement the Tunxi Initiative, and promote regional connectivity. They noted that it is important to maintain communication with the Afghan Interim Government, guide its efforts to fulfill internal and external commitments, promote and exercise inclusive and moderate governance, protect women's rights and interests, restore the economy, and improve people's livelihood. They called on the Afghan Taliban to pay attention and respond to the major concerns of neighboring countries, and effectively combat terrorism and drug trafficking. They voiced opposition to non-regional forces undermining the security and stability of Afghanistan and the region, and opposition to countries mainly responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan evading their responsibilities and closing the door of contact and dialogue with Afghanistan.
The meeting issued the Samarkand Declaration of the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan.
After the meeting, Qin Gang and other parties attended the "Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan Plus Afghanistan" Foreign Ministers' Dialogue.
On the same day, Qin Gang chaired the second Informal Meeting on Afghanistan between Foreign Ministers of China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran in Samarkand, and met respectively with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan Interim Government Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi.