Initiative to help Afghan gain economic self-reliance
WASHINGTON (PAN): Led by the US and Germany, the international community on Thursday came out with an ambitious vision of a New Silk Route that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said would make Afghanistan firmly embedded in the economic life of a thriving South and Central Asia.
An international web of economic and transit connections that would include things like rail lines, highway infrastructure, and new energy infrastructure, the New Silk Route would be able to attract new sources of foreign investment, connect to markets abroad and provide people with credible alternatives to insurgency.
A meeting held in this regard in New York was co-chaired by Clinton, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul.
"The New Silk Road vision is a shared commitment to promote private-sector investment, increase regional trade and transit, and foster a network of linkages throughout the region” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
It added the creation of a New Silk Road would help Afghanistan and its neighbours maximise the value of natural resources, build human capacity, create jobs, generate revenue to pay for needed services and capitalise on the region's economic potential.
The participants condemned in the strongest terms the heinous attack that killed Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, chairman of the High Peace Council, who contributed greatly to the reconciliation process.
They wished Mohammed Masoom Stanikzai, chief executive of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme, a speedy recovery from his injuries. The events should serve as a reason to redouble efforts for reconciliation and peace, they said.
An Afghanistan firmly embedded in the economic life of a thriving South and Central Asia will incentivise those interested in peace and reconciliation, according to the statement, which said neighbours and near-neighbours had a major stake in ensuring that Afghanistan developed from a post-conflict society to an active player in the global economy.
Clinton said in the short-term, the international community needed to work together to support the Afghan people as they met economic and security challenges that came with transition from the military mission.
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