Silk Road revival vital to regional stability: Rassoul
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Afghan government is working to regain its historic role as a land bridge connecting South and Central Asia with the Middle East, Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul has said.
Convinced that the idea of a New Silk Road holds the promise of achieving an economically vibrant regional order, spanning across borders and continents, he said on Thursday: "Afghanistan is pursuing this vision with urgency."
In this connection, together with its regional partners, Afghans were making important headway on a number of important projects, each of which would serve to benefit their common goals, he added.
Rassoul told the inaugural ministerial meeting on the New Silk Route in New York being co-hosted by Germany and the United States the projects included the TAPI pipeline and the CASA 1000 energy-trading scheme.
Noting the region was full of vast amounts of untapped natural resources, he said mineral deposits were among the largest supply in the world, and had the potential to become the backbone of the Afghan economy.
"As President Karzai stated at the international Kabul Conference, these resources are real and very substantial…and if properly harnessed, these assets can make our state-building affordable," he said.
Rassoul said the goal was to achieve an Afghan economy whose growth was based on trade, private enterprise and investment. "To this end, we have upgraded and modernised our laws to eliminate barriers constraining the movement of goods and peoples, to promote foreign and direct investment, to root out financial mismanagement, to ensure transparency and efficiency in our banking system and to encourage the creation of new and flourishing businesses."
The foreign minister said that it was his conviction that effective regional cooperation and the re-emergence of the Silk Road were vital for peace, security and stability in the region.
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