Terror impeding economic progress: Karzai
XIAN (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Thursday said the scourge of terrorism inflicted great suffering on people on the one hand and decelerated the region’s economic growth and development on the other.
Recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar and Nairobi in Kenya underlined the geographic scope of terrorist networks, with no country immune to the menace,” the president added.
Addressing the Europe-Asia Economic Forum here, Karzai said: “Today, I invite you all to work towards a Euro-Asian partnership to confront extremism and terrorism with a shared determination to destroy their networks, sanctuaries and sources of financing.”
He believed the benefits of globalisation in Eurasia could be best achieved if the states concerned worked together to translate the extraordinary potentials and strengths of their populations, resources and markets.
“In order to achieve our aspirations for Eurasia as a driver of global economic growth in the 21st century, there is need for equitable and coherent strategies for multilateral economic cooperation, trade and connectivity,” he observed.
The president also spotlighted the opportunities and potential of Afghanistan contributing to the modern-day revival of the Silk Road, and the formation of a new Euro-Asia inland economic architecture.
Because of its strategic location, he said, Afghanistan served as a natural land bridge for transit and commerce between east and west. His country could contribute to promoting trade and transport links between European and Asian economic hubs, he asserted.
After decades of foreign interference and conflict that destroyed its transit and transport infrastructures, Afghanistan had taken great strides toward regaining its central position in the larger region, the president explained.
“We have rehabilitated our road and highway networks, constructed railway connections and expanded cross-border transportation infrastructures with the aim of facilitating transit and the flow of trade between regions,” he continued.
Karzai said commercial aircraft crisscrossed Afghan airspace, shortening travel times across the continent, and plans were being devised to build a pipeline that would carry Central Asian gas to the markets of India and Pakistan.
He voiced Afghanistan’s readiness to help accelerate economic collaboration and growth in Eurasia and South Asia by facilitating the transfer of energy, rail and road transportation, communication and trade development.
While endorsing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal for the development of a Silk Road Economic Belt, he said Afghanistan would not only unleash unprecedented opportunities for regional cooperation and integration, but would also contribute to global economic growth and security.
“Good neighborliness, relations based on trust, mutual understanding and constructive engagement are essential prerequisites for the achievement of shared goals of development, well-being and prosperity in Eurasia and South Asia,” the president stressed.
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