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International Conference on Afghanistan Held in The Hague

On 31 March 2009, an international conference on the future of Afghanistan co-hosted by the United Nations, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Governement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was held in The Hague. Vice Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Wu Dawei attended and addressed at this conference. Mr. Wu has also met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, foreign ministers or representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, the United States, Iran, India and Romania to exchange views on issues of common interest.

The full text of H.E. Mr. Wu's statement at the conference is as follows:

Foreign Minister Verhagen, Foreign Minister Spanta, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan Eide, Dear Colleagues, 

On behalf of the Chinese Government, I wish to extend my congratulations on the convening of the Conference and express my thanks to the Government of the Netherlands, the Government of Afghanistan and the Secretariat of the United Nations for what they have done for the success of the Conference.  

In the past 30 years, the people of Afghanistan have endured and suffered too much from the trauma of war. It is a misfortune imposed not only on the Afghan people but also on the entire international community. The Chinese people hope this misfortune will soon pass into history.  

Yet, it is heartening to see Afghanistan taking steps forward on the road toward national reconstruction in the past seven years. We witnessed this country rising from the ashes of war. And from Bonn, Berlin, London, Paris to the Hague today, the international community has firmly stood side by side with the 29 million Afghan people.

It is the common aspiration of the entire Afghan people and the whole international community to see political stability, social progress, economic development and improved livelihood of the people in Afghanistan. The door to these accomplishments is now open, but many difficulties and challenges are still lying ahead. The international community and Afghanistan should join hands and take a comprehensive approach to achieve these goals.

Dear colleagues,

To achieve peace, stability and development of Afghanistan, the international community should, on the basis of respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, focus its efforts on the following fields:

The Chinese side strongly supports the endeavor to combat terrorism in all manifestations. At the same time, we maintain that counter-terrorism efforts should be made to address both the symptoms and the root causes of terrorism, and particularly to avoid civilian casualties. Efforts should be made to eliminate the hotbed of terrorism through peaceful development. We support the Afghan Government and army to strengthen capacity building and assume, at an early date, the responsibility of maintaining their own national security and stability.

Without the support of the people, the reconstruction process will lose its foundation and driving force. The international community should continue to support Afghanistan in implementing the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) so as to translate the peace "dividend" into development and ensure that the fruit of development benefit the Afghan people.

To ensure smooth elections is an important task facing Afghanistan. It also constitutes a key precondition for ensuring political stability and achieving peaceful reconstruction of this country. We call on the international community to provide financial and security assistance and create favorable conditions for steady and smooth elections. The choice of the Afghan people should be respected. We truly hope that all ethnic groups and sects of Afghanistan will put their national interests above anything else and realize national reconciliation.

Afghanistan needs continued attention and assistance from the international community, and it is the responsibility of all parties to act in coordination at both the international and regional levels. The Chinese side supports the United Nations to continue to play a leading role in coordinating international assistance efforts for Afghanistan. We appreciate the positive role played by the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and by Special Representative Eide. As a member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China supports the Organization to continue its active role in regards of the issue of Afghanistan.

Dear colleagues,

China is a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan and is committed to developing good neighborly and friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with Afghanistan on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. Since the establishment of the new government in Afghanistan, China has taken an active part in the Afghan reconstruction process through bilateral and multilateral channels, and provided assistance to Afghanistan within its capability. To show the friendship of the Chinese people, the Chinese Government has decided to provide Afghanistan with an extra US$ 75 million of free assistance in the coming five years. We will continue to provide assistance in areas like capacity building upon the request of Afghanistan Government. The Chinese Government will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to take part in Afghan reconstruction.

Thank you.


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