April 29, 2019
The Second Trilateral Seminar between Afghanistan, China and UK was co-organized by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) in Beijing.
Officials and experts from the three countries as well as from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, ADB and various research centers participated in the seminar.
The seminar included five sessions covering topics such as prioritization under the trilateral framework; Afghanistan’s railway infrastructure needs; Central Asia-South Asia connectivity; the Belt and Road corridors as well as UK-China cooperation in humanitarian needs.
Speakers from Afghanistan included Mr. Khyber Farahi, Advisor to the President on Migration and Social Development; Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Director General for Economic Cooperation, MoFA; and Mr. Bismellah Alizada from the Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies.
Mr. Soroosh spoke in the opening session as well as in the first and third sessions on prioritization and Central Asia-South Asia connectivity. In the first session, he presented the outline of Afghanistan’s new strategic development framework under ANPDF as well as priorities under the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP). He also explained the investment selection criteria and priority projects under RECCA and stressed the importance of alignment of activities under the trilateral framework with priorities under NIP and RECCA. In the third session, he spoke about the importance of Afghanistan’s centrality and its implications for Central Asia-South Asia connectivity. He highlighted the significance of addressing both soft and hard infrastructure as well as the importance of bringing greater synergy among regional cooperation platforms and initiatives to which Afghanistan is a party.
Mr. Farahi shared the Afghan perspective about the humanitarian needs and spoke about the ongoing efforts as well as challenges and priorities in this respect.
Mr. Alizada spoke about the BRI and regional connectivity and presented an outline of their recent research on BRI.
The Seminar participants stressed the importance of clear prioritization under the trilateral framework in line with priorities and needs as stipulated under ANPDF, NPPs and particularly NIP.