Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Saturday addressed the 18th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s 2019 Council of Heads of Governments in Tashkent. He stressed the need for further cooperation among countries in the region to boost peace and stability in Afghanistan and to improve regional connectivity.
Abdullah said regional cooperation is a key element of Afghanistan’s foreign, security and economic policies.
“We are making efforts for strengthening national consensus on peace and we hope that all regional and international stakeholders who support the peace (process) will work together in this respect,” Abdullah said.
“We believe that through regional cooperation and thoughtful integration, not only will we identify and seize new opportunities for development and growth across our vast and rich region, but we can also overcome the structural impediments and deal with common challenges,” he added.
Abdullah appreciated the United States, Russia, European Union, Uzbekistan, China and other countries’ cooperation in Afghanistan’s peace process.
Abdullah stated that Afghan participation in the presidential election despite threats by Daesh and the Taliban was “a step forward towards achieving peace in Afghanistan.”
He mentioned that successful regional cooperation experiences are critical for advancing social and economic development objectives and for generating wealth, assuring stability and long-term peace.
“It is in this context that we consider the SCO as a unique regional platform for converging ideas, policies and projects on regional issues including trade, infrastructure development, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism,” he added.
According to Abdullah, Afghanistan remains on the frontline of the global threat of transnational terrorism.
He praised the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for their fight against terrorist groups who, according to him, have regional and global reach and threaten international peace and security as well as the shared security goals of the countries in the region.
He reiterated that there is an urgent need to develop a more efficient joint counter-terrorism strategy in order to deal with the evolving threats of terrorism.
“We propose that the SCO undertakes necessary measures for developing an SCO regional counter-terrorism strategy in order to address the evolving menace of terrorism in our region through collective and concrete measures,” he added.
He said that the prosperity of the SCO region is closely associated with peace and stability in Afghanistan and therefore “it is incumbent upon us to work closely to address our common challenges in a collective and constructive manner.”