Kabul , 8 May 2016, the Center for Strategic Studies and the Directorate –General for Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan held a one-day joint seminar with the cooperation of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China under the theme of “One Belt and One Road” chaired by the Deputy Foreign Minister H.E Mr. Hekmat Khalil Karzai with the participation of the Chinese Ambassador to Kabul and members of the Chinese Embassy, National Assembly members, researchers, analysts, academia and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul.
H.E Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai in his speech focused on the role of researches in formulating and implementing the economic oriented Afghan foreign policy , bilateral cooperation between Afghanistan and China and strategic potential of One Belt One Road initiative.
He said that the Great Silk Road is about routes of trade and cultural exchanges connecting the Asian, Europe and African civilizations. It becomes the starting point to establish links between East and the West. It opened a huge opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and ideas accumulated in different parts of the world along this corridor.
Renewing economic development process along the Silk Road will reshape the international development order that has been centered in our region and carries great significance for human development in the 21st century.
Today’s seminar, will discuss important matters to strengthen the One Belt One Road through Afghanistan, create a research based platform for bilateral communication, speed up resource integration, cultural acceptance, and expand policy cohesion and advance greater cooperation between China, Afghanistan and the region.
In this aspect, nothing is more important than the role of research and academic collaboration.
One Belt One Road used to be a concept; now it is a policy tool for decision-making. Much of the work has been greatly carried out by academia and researchers through studies and dialogues.
DM Karzai pointed out the importance of One Belt One Road through Afghanistan as follows:
- If Afghanistan remains land-locked so do much of Central Asian Countries
- If Afghanistan remains landlocked we cannot build a viable economy and governance
- If Afghanistan remains isolated we will remain a burden on the regional community
- If Afghanistan does not emerge as an energy transit hub between Far East and Central South Asia, we face the risk that we never create positive mutual dependencies
- If Afghanistan does not develop dry land ports along trade and transit corridors, many of the markets destinations we all wish to access will remain too far,
- Most importantly, unless the OBOR comes through Afghanistan, peace and prosperity will remain as a dream and conflict will continue to affect the entire region.
Both Afghanistan and China plan to sign an MoU on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road later this month in Beijing.
This MoU will not only focus on economic cooperation but on peace, openness, inclusiveness, and mutual benefits.
Both countries will sign this MoU to realize the goal of common development, and translate the advantages of solid political ties, economic complementarities and people-to-people exchanges into a pragmatic cooperation.
Thus, Afghanistan welcomes China’s One Belt One Road initiative and strongly supports its implementation through Afghanistan.
The One Belt and Road Initiative is a systematic project, which should be jointly built through consultation to meet the interests of all, and efforts should be made to integrate the development strategies of the countries along the Belt and Road, said Yao Jang Chinese Ambassador in Kabul.
As an important neighbor to China, Afghanistan is one of the important countries along the ancient Silk Road. Afghanistan used to be the traffic hub connecting Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia, and has tremendous geographic potential. As President Ghani Said, with the aim to make Afghanistan as the transit hub connecting central Asia and west Asia, we hope to revive the Silk Road.
Ambassador Jing added, China wishes to take the opportunity to work together with Afghan side, to inherit and carry forward the Silk Road spirit, to write a new chapter of the Silk Road and build the China-Afghan community of common destiny, so as to create a bright life for all of us. China would like to cooperate with Afghanistan on construction of the Belt and one Road corridor in the following five fields:
- Policy Coordination
- Facilitate Connectivity
- Unimpeded Trade
- Financial Integration
- People - to – people Bonds
Later on, University professor and head of full text here (ATRA), Mr. Najib Azizi, head of Center for Crisis and Peace Studies, Mr. Halimullah Kawsari, Director General of Economic Cooperation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wahidullah Waissi, former Minister of Information and Culture and Afghan-China Friendship Association head, Dr. Sayed Makhdum Raheen, and Parliament Member, Mrs. Nahid Farid delivered their remarks in this seminar respectively.