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Li Keqiang Attends the Opening Ceremony of the Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan Together with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan and Delivers a Speech

In the morning of October 31, 2014, Premier Li Keqiang attended the opening ceremony of the fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan together with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan at the Fanghua Garden, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and delivered a speech.

Li Keqiang, on behalf of the Chinese government, extended warm congratulations on the opening of the conference. He said that continued progress of the Istanbul Process will help bring about an early solution to the Afghan issue and the ultimate attainment of security and prosperity in the region. We hope that this conference will send a clear signal of strong support of countries in the region and the international community to a smooth transition, security and development in Afghanistan, reiterate their long-standing commitment to peace and reconstruction there, and demonstrate their full confidence in the future of the country.

Li Keqiang pointed out that a united, stable, growing and friendly Afghanistan is what the Afghan people hope for and it represents the common interests of countries in the region and the international community. It is important that we support Afghanistan's peace process and its reconstruction, and work for an early solution of the Afghan issue, as this is the unshirkable and common responsibility of countries in the region and the international community at large. China is willing to raise five points regarding the settlement of the Afghan issue.

First, Afghanistan must be governed by the Afghan people. The Afghan people should be allowed to take their destiny into their own hands and truly become the masters of their country. The international community should truly respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, refrain from interfering in its internal affairs, and support Afghanistan in its efforts to achieve security and stability at home.

Second, promote political reconciliation. The international community should back the Afghan government to formulate comprehensive reconciliation strategy, support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, and create an enabling external environment for peace and reconciliation to happen in Afghanistan.

Third, speed up economic reconstruction. The international community should fulfill its assistance commitment and help Afghanistan enhance its self-development capacity and realize sustained economic development as well as remove the breeding soil for extremism.

Fourth, explore the path of development. The international community should respect the right of Afghan people to independently choose social system and development path, so that they can develop a way of governance that suits their national conditions and achieve political stability and economic development.

Fifth, provide stronger external support. The international community should give firm support to Afghanistan in developing external relations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and in taking an active part in regional and international cooperation, help Afghanistan with security capacity-building and support the United Nations in playing a leading role in coordinating international assistance to Afghanistan.

Li Keqiang stressed that the Chinese government has always firmly supported and actively participated in the Afghan peace and reconstruction process and provided assistance to Afghanistan within its capacity. China will firmly pursue a policy of friendship with Afghanistan, support Afghanistan in advancing the peace and reconciliation and reconstruction process, help Afghanistan enhance capacity-building for independent development, and support Afghanistan in joining regional cooperation to the benefit of increased trade, closer economic cooperation and greater connectivity in the region. China is wiling to join efforts with the international community to achieve peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan at an early date.

In his speech, Ashraf Ghani agreed with the five-point proposals raised by Premier Li Keqiang and extended his gratitude to China for its long-term help and support to Afghanistan. Ashraf Ghani expressed that the Istanbul Process will be conducive not only to an early settlement of the Afghan issue, but also to regional peace and stability. All parties including China have made important contributions to promoting the Process. The Afghan side, with the support of the international community, will push peaceful reconciliation, and play a positive role in the development of the region.

Inaugurated in 2011, the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan is the only Afghanistan-related regional cooperation mechanism led by regional countries and has made positive contributions to the peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan. This was the first time for China to host the large-scale Afghanistan-related international conference, and Foreign Ministers or representatives from 14 regional members, 16 other countries and 12 international and regional organizations attended the conference.

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