China’s Foreign Minister calls for regional unity to stamp out terrorism

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called on all parties attending the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Tajikistan to join forces and increase the fight against “terrorist organizations like Al-Qaida, ISIS and the ETIM until they are completely eliminated”.

He also stated that “foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan in a responsible and orderly way, so as to prevent the various terrorist forces from ramping up and creating trouble”.

He noted that he believes all parties attending share a strong desire and firm resolve to advance peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Wang said with the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan standing at a crucial juncture, there is a rare, historic opportunity for a political settlement of the Afghan issue.

“In this sense, the theme of this Conference, ‘Strengthening Consensus for Peace and Development’, is most fitting and meaningful. Peace is an urgent priority and a prerequisite for development; development is a perpetual pursuit and a guarantee for peace.”

He said the Istanbul Process involves all of Afghanistan’s neighbors and major countries in the region, as well as many international players supportive of the Process an in line with this “China expects all parties to deepen cooperation in the following three areas:

“First, sustaining the momentum of peace talks and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan issue can only be resolved by political means, and the future of Afghanistan should be kept in the hands of the Afghan people.”

Wang said the Afghan people must stay confident and patient, and strive for broad-based, inclusive and durable peace through sincere dialogue and negotiations.

International supporting parties should abide by the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” principle, put aside self-interests, uphold fairness and justice, and contribute more positive energy to the peace and reconciliation process, he said.

Second, he said while Afghanistan has made big strides in economic and social development in recent years, “it lacks internal drivers of growth”.

“Currently, the implementation of the China-Afghanistan MOU on Belt and Road cooperation is well underway, and China has provided several billion yuan in grant to Afghanistan.”

He also noted that China had helped during the COVID-19 pandemic,and that it will soon provide free vaccines to Afghanistan.

His third point was on terrorism which he said was a serious challenge for countries in the region and a common enemy of humanity.

“It will be ill-advised to follow double standards in counter-terrorism, as they will backfire at the end of the day. All parties need to join forces and double down on fighting terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the ETIM until they are completely eliminated.

“Foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan in a responsible and orderly way, so as to prevent the various terrorist forces from ramping up and creating trouble. In this context, China will continue to strengthen coordination and deepen cooperation with all other parties concerned,” he said.

In conclusion he noted that China will continue to do its best to support, mediate and facilitate Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process.