Chinese FM chairs 'Afghanistan's neighbors + Afghanistan' foreign ministers' dialogue

HEFEI, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday chaired the "Afghanistan's neighbors + Afghanistan" foreign ministers' dialogue in Tunxi, Anhui Province in east China.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a press conference in Tunxi, east China's Anhui Province, March 31, 2022. (Photo: China's Foreign Ministry)

Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan Interim Government Amir Khan Muttaqi was in attendance alongside foreign ministers and representatives of member states of the mechanism of coordination and cooperation among Afghanistan's neighboring countries.

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi were invited as guests.

"As neighboring countries to Afghanistan, we have witnessed tragedies and disasters caused by years of war and chaos to the Afghan people, and we have also experienced troubles brought about by the long-term chaos in Afghanistan. No country is more hopeful about the early realization of peace, stability, development and prosperity in Afghanistan than us," Wang said.

"After the previous two meetings of foreign ministers of the countries neighboring Afghanistan, we have expressed the shared view, demonstrated the unique role, and guided the international community's perceptions on the Afghan issue," Wang added.

He said that countries in the region should adhere to cooperation rather than confrontation, adhere to openness rather than isolation, treat each other as equals, and oppose bullying.

He said the international community should avoid neglecting the Afghan issue due to their attention to the situation in Ukraine, and should continue to increase investment in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people.

It is necessary to further gather consensus and synergy to help Afghanistan stabilize the situation, effectively fight terrorism, improve people's livelihood and develop the economy, Wang said.

He said that the neighboring countries should fully implement the "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" principle and work with the international community to support the Afghan people in creating a better future.

Muttaqi thanked China for inviting Afghanistan to the dialogue, saying that Afghanistan prioritizes the concerns of all parties involved. He stressed that Afghanistan will never again allow external forces to occupy its territory, nor will it allow any forces to use Afghanistan's territory against other countries.

Noting Afghanistan is committed to peaceful coexistence, friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with neighboring countries, Muttaqi said Afghanistan has adjusted its governance priorities, with a stronger focus on achieving stability and promoting development.

He said Afghanistan is willing to become a bond of regional connectivity and seek common prosperity with its neighboring countries, and eagerly anticipates the early diplomatic recognition of the interim government by neighboring countries.

Muttaqi said that the United States has long undermined Afghanistan's political and economic sovereignty. He also spoke out about the U.S. hasty withdrawal from the country, which resulted in the destruction of facilities and huge consequences for Afghanistan.

Noting Afghanistan urged the United States to immediately lift the freeze on its overseas assets and unreasonable sanctions, Muttaqi expressed his hopes for the international community to provide support and assistance to Afghanistan.

All parties elaborated on their positions and propositions on the Afghan issue, calling on the Afghan interim government to be more inclusive, resolutely and thoroughly combat terrorism, and further protect the rights and interests of women and children.

Muttaqi said Afghanistan has reopened schools and students have returned to classes, adding Afghanistan has never stated that girls' education is prohibited. "There are a large number of women in all sectors of Afghanistan, including health care and education," he said.

The Afghan interim government welcomes all ethnic groups to participate in politics and will invite more professionals to participate in government work, Muttaqi added.

It is hoped that the Afghan interim government will earnestly fulfill all the commitments it has made, Wang said, adding that it is believed that all neighbors of Afghanistan will continue to play a constructive role in the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The parties agreed to continue the "Afghanistan's neighbors + Afghanistan" foreign ministers' dialogue, which Wang said is beneficial.