|Statement by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at the High-level ad hoc Meeting on Afghanistan|
I appreciate the assiduous efforts made by Secretary General Kofi Annan, Special Representative Brahimi and all members of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to implement the Bonn Agreement. Under the leadership of President Karzai and with the help of the international community, positive progress has been made in Afghanistan's reconstruction. However, the foundation for peace in Afghanistan is still weak, and there is a long way to go in reconstruction. I share the Secretary General's view that the lack of security is the gravest challenge to the Bonn process.
The process of peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan is now at a critical juncture. As the Chinese saying goes, "one must not relax one's effort when a task is nearing completion". We should persist to the end, and we must not forget the solemn commitment we have made to the 25 million Afghan people. Currently, priority should be given to the following five aspects:
1. To stabilize the security situation in Afghanistan. It is essential to accelerate the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program, rebuild the Afghan army and the police force and assist governments and judicial organs at all levels in performing their normal functions so as to restore law and order. The Chinese side hopes that the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries will give positive consideration to the proposal put forward by the Secretary General for expanding the areas of operation of the International Security Assistance Force, with a view to helping stabilize the security situation outside Kabul.
2. To support the transitional government of Afghanistan. The international community should respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan, and in particular, the principle of non-interference in its internal affairs. The authority of the Afghan central government should be upheld. All parties should act in real earnest and in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Kabul Declaration on Good-Neighborly Relations.
3. To honor the pledge of aid. The international community has made generous pledges of aid for Afghanistan, but the actual implementation is not satisfactory. We call on the countries concerned to honor their commitments in earnest. The Chinese side supports the endeavor to help Afghanistan enforce the drug control strategy and develop an alternative economy under the auspices of the United Nations.
4. To successfully complete the enactment of the constitution and general election. The general election in Afghanistan is a crucial step towards peace, democracy, growth and prosperity. Efforts should be made to follow the timetable set forth in the Bonn Agreement and ensure that the election is free and fair so as to set up a fully representative government.
5. To support the United Nations in playing a leading role. The UN has been playing an important leading and coordinating role in the process of Afghanistan's reconstruction. The international community should further support the work of Special Representative Brahimi and the UN Assistance Mission and provide essential human, material and financial guarantee.
As a friendly neighbor, China has always supported and taken an active part in Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction process. We have committed ourselves to providing US$ 150 million reconstruction aid. Within this framework, we have signed with the Afghan side an agreement on economic and technological cooperation, providing it with US$ 45 million worth of aid gratis. The Parwan Irrigation Project is now in preparation, and the reconstruction of the Republic Hospital has already started-both with Chinese aid. The Chinese side is ready to work with the international community to help bring stability, prosperity and dignity back to the Afghan people.
Thank you, Mr. President.