The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with the president of the people’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, at the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Thursday morning, Astana.
The two leaders talked over topics of mutual interest such as leadership and continuation of political consultations. Issues pertaining to stimulating cooperation on security, joint counter-terrorism efforts, ensuring peace and stability and bolstering economic, commercial and regional cooperation figured in the meeting.
President Ghani thanked the Chinese president for the assistance of Chinese government and people to Afghanistan. He also underscored expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries in different areas.
The Chinese president expressed his condolences to President Ghani and the people of Afghanistan over the latest heinous terror attack in Kabul. Expressing solidarity with the Afghan people, he termed terrorism as a collective threat to the region and world.
President Xi Jinping congratulated the Afghan Government and people on convening the Kabul Process Conference and said that the Conference was held successfully. He also said that the Chinese delegate attended the Conference and that the Chinese government is supporting this process led by the Afghan government.
The Chinese president also said that participation of President Ghani in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is important. He added that he supports role of Afghanistan in this Organization and is interested in increased interaction between SCO and Afghanistan. He also expressed that The Chinese government has a positive opinion about Afghanistan becoming a permanent member of the organization.
Referring to bilateral relations between the two countries, president Xi Jinping said that Afghanistan and China have been cooperating in different areas and this cooperation should be further strengthened.
The Chinese president also stated that China supports the Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process and that China is ready to arrange a trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, China and Pakistan. He also congratulated President Ghani on successfully making peace deal with Hezb-i Islami.
He referred to the commercial cooperation between the two countries in the framework of one-belt-one-road design and said that China is keen to foster commercial ties with Afghanistan especially on construction of railways, dams, roads and housing, implementation of electricity projects and exporting Afghan products to Chinese markets.
President Ghani thanked the Chinese president for his condolences and solidarity with the Afghan government and people. He also appreciated participation and support of Chinese delegation in the Kabul Process Conference.
President Ghani described construction of railways as a central element for encouraging regional connectivity, transit and commercial ties. Such connectivity initiatives will connect Iran with China and central Asia with eastern Asia through the Chinese economic corridor.
The President also stressed that it is time China and Afghanistan and other regional countries should take constructive measures for regional connectivity.
On combating terrorism, President Ghani said that terrorism is a collective threatening menace for the region and all countries and that joint counter-terrorism efforts should be initiated to fully eradicate this acute phenomenon without any distinction of good and bad terrorism.
President Ghani also said that Afghanistan has become a target of twenty international terrorist groups who also target and carry out terror attacks in the regional countries including People’s Republic of China.
The President also added that currently terrorism had assumed new patterns against Afghanistan, China and other regional countries, therefore countries in the region should arrive at a single unified strategy aimed at initiating immediate actions for the utter eradication of this grave phenomenon.
On peace building, President Ghani said, “Since we have a clear and strong will for building peace, we are ready for reconciliation with Taliban and peace building with Pakistan. This is the topic which was also raised during the Kabul Process Conference, but we need unflinching commitment and regional cooperation in this regard.”
Both leaders agreed on expanding ties and exchanging consultations in political, security and economic areas on bilateral, trilateral and multilateral levels. He regarded these interactions essential for ensuring security, stability, economic development, practical cooperation and trust building.
The Chinese president said that Afghanistan is in the frontline against terrorism and it was agreed that regional and international cooperation should be fostered for containing terrorism.
He commended Afghanistan for its infrastructure and development and supported construction of housing, solar optic, and railways which ultimately lead to bolstering of bilateral ties.
President Xi Jinping expressed that China is ready to cooperate with Afghanistan on equipping ANDSF and expediting the earnest fight against terrorism which is an acute and serious threat to both countries.
Both leaders agreed to foster interactions on main topics on bilateral and regional levels.
Following the meeting of the two leaders, two memorandums of understanding were signed by Afghan ambassador for China and chairman of Chinese company on construction of Sher Khan port-Herat railways and implementation of an electricity project in Kunar.
As mentioned in the MoUs, the Chinese company will conduct a feasibility study in twelve months on construction of Sher Khan port-Herat railways.
Also, the mentioned company will draw up a design for an electricity project in the Kabul-Kunar zone and will accordingly implement it in six months.