TEHRAN, Jan. 20 (Press Shia Agency) – Iran is very eager to see a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, and welcomes any achievement in the path to an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, Iran’s UN envoy Al-Habib said on Friday.
Es’hagh Al-Habib, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, addressed the UN Security Council Ministerial Debate on “Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to link Security and Development” on January 19 in New York.
Al-Habib noted Iran’s efforts in strengthening cooperation with Afghanistan as a “major pathway to consolidate peace, stability and economic development” in the neighboring country, such as more than 300 development projects, the Trilateral Chahbahar port facilities between Iran, India and Afghanistan and Khaf- Herat Railway, as well as funding and implementing many projects in transfer technology, know-how and training with Afghan workforces in various fields to help reconstruct their own country.
The full text of his statement is as follows:
In the Name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful
I would like to express my sincere appreciations to the Kazakhstan presidency for its timely initiative to organize this debate. I believe the significantly high level participation, clearly demonstrates the level of importance the international community attaches to this meeting.
We fully share the views in the concept note presented to this debate by the Presidency. Building regional partnerships and cooperation, not only in Afghanistan and Central Asia but in all regions of the world, serve as the most appropriate model to reinforce the inseparable nexus between security and development.
The security in Afghanistan continued to deteriorate since the US invasion in 2001, each year exponentially increasing and reaching its highest level. More than a decade after its invasion, Afghanistan, the Region and the world are not any safer. This is a fact and has been the case for all invasions which have occurred in our region.
Afghanistan should become the objective for regional and international cooperation rather than competition. The world should regard the situation in Afghanistan as an opportunity to establish peace, security, stability through development. A win-win approach for Afghanistan, its neighboring countries, including Central Asia and the international community in general. Investing in long-term cooperation with Afghanistan, enhanced economic interaction and connectivity, implementing regional infrastructure, trade, investment and transit transportation projects, can not only bring about security, political and economic benefits for Afghanistan but also for all its partners in the region and the world. This partnership also helps to weaken the breeding ground for terrorist and extremist groups.
Security and development are interrelated and mutually reinforcing factors that go beyond national boundaries of a single state in today’s world and often require a comprehensive and all-inclusive regional approach.
Iran is indeed very eager to see a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan as its neighbor. Security and development in Afghanistan directly and indirectly affects security in our borders and the region.
Our support for the Afghan National Unity Government is unrelenting. We welcome any achievement in the path to an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process leading to lasting and comprehensive peace in Afghanistan. It is in this context that Iran welcomed and continues to participate on Kabul process as well as any other similar processes to help peace and security in Afghanistan.
Strengthening our regional cooperation with Afghanistan is a priority and a major pathway to consolidate peace, stability and economic development in our neighboring country. In this context, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has spared no effort to promote its brotherly relations with Afghan people. Over a decade and in total, Iran has funded more than 300 development projects, including reconstruction and building infrastructures totaling $ 500 million US, include major projects such as Trilateral Chahbahar port facilities between Iran, India and Afghanistan and Khaf- Herat Railway. We have also funded and implemented many projects in transfer technology, know-how and training with Afghan workforces in various fields to help reconstruct their own country. These projects have the capacity to change the regional economic perspectives which can help prosperity and stability in Afghanistan.
These projects are on top of the fact that Iran, for more than three decades, hosted millions of Afghan refugees wherein it has and continues to share its much needed subsidized goods and services including basic commodities, public health, and public education. This year alone, our schools are providing education to nearly 400 thousand undocumented Afghan students.
The challenges facing Afghanistan are complex and interconnected. The nexus between security and development has deeper roots and cannot be addressed solely through military buildup and strategies. For example, the 87% growth in opium production is not only a clear indication of under-development, low-income and lack of economic opportunities but is, at the same time, alarming when we notice that narcotics provide a major source of income for these terrorist groups. Further, poverty provides immense and abundant opportunities for recruitment of terrorist groups and drugs networks.
UNAMA is playing a very crucial role at this critical moment for Afghanistan and definitely needs more support from the international community.
Let me conclude, Mr. President by expressing my best wishes to fraternal people and government of Afghanistan and reassure of Iran’s full support in their endeavor to reach peace and prosperity in their country.