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Tashkent – Uzbekistan

March 27, 2018

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

The Honorable Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov,

Distinguished Heads of Delegation,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to join H.E. President Ghani in extending our sincere gratitude to the Government and brotherly nation of Uzbekistan for hosting us all today.

The exceptionally warm welcome we have received in the beautiful city of Tashkent is a manifestation of Uzbek traditional hospitality and Uzbekistan’s firm commitment to stabilization of Afghanistan through regional security and economic cooperation.

I particularly want to thank my counterpart and brother, Foreign Minister Kamilov, for co-moderating with me this session, as well as for his efforts throughout this productive Conference.

And we are grateful to all heads of delegation and your colleagues for your continued, active participation in this and other peace forums under the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A month ago, the Government of Afghanistan had the honor of hosting you for the second meeting of the Kabul Process—where President Ghani announced our unprecedented peace offer to the armed opposition, including the Taliban.

As I said in that meeting, our comprehensive peace offer speaks to the demand and desire of every Afghan for an immediate, lasting end to years of imposed conflicts on our suffering people.

Sadly, I must recall the heinous terrorist attack on Nowruz, the first day of New Year, in Kabul. The attack killed and maimed over 50 innocent Afghans, as they were celebrating Nowruz, a cultural symbol of peace, hope, and rebirth in my country.

We appreciate strong international solidarity with the Afghan people, condemning this and other terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

Despite these crimes against humanity, we will not give up our peace efforts.

Our national dialogue for peace will continue to ensure that every Afghan voice in our diverse society is heard and included in our search for a just peace, as we seek to engage in direct, results-driven negotiations with any reconcilable elements of the armed opposition.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We welcome with appreciation the broad and strong international endorsement and support of our peace-offer to those Taliban, who renounce violence and terror.

This Tashkent Conference is a manifestation of regional and international support for the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, as we collectively renew our shared call on the Taliban to take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to cease violence against their own people and to opt for direct peace talks with the Government of Afghanistan.    

For these peace-making efforts to bear fruit, however, they should be supported by the international community in general and our neighbors in particular, in ways that help ensure our unity of purpose towards the success of the Kabul Process.

Of course, this process wouldn’t yield the results we collectively need to achieve, unless our partners in the region and beyond support our repeated call to engage with us in a comprehensive state-to-state dialogue, which would help address both sides’ legitimate concerns.

Moreover, to reinforce our common peace efforts, I wish to recall the specific proposals we set forth in the last Kabul Process meeting to adopt and implement a regional counter-terrorism (CT) and counter-narcotics (CN) strategy. In addition, I renew our request to hold a regional conference to agree on a regional CT and CN strategy to complement our peace efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you again. I look forward to a productive discussion in this session. Thank you!

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