Kabul (BNA) Addressing the 19th ministerial meeting conference of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) entitled people-centered regional cooperation in the post-COVID environment, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said extended the deepest sympathies and solidarity of the Afghan people and government with all countries and all the fellow citizens of CAREC countries that have suffered and are continuing to suffer from the adverse impacts of Covid-19.
The president, as quoted in the presidential press office statement, said that CAREC laid the foundation to be part of fundamental transformation of Asia into a continental economy. “It is a tribute to Asian Development Bank’s leadership, vision, persistence and building trust with partners to serve as an analyst, convener, facilitator, investor and partner.”
The president thanked ADB for over 4. 5 billion [dollars] investments since 2005 in CAREC projects and for 40 million dollars of help in containing Covid and the recently announced 100 million dollars to overcome the social and economic impacts of this pandemic. “I would like to thank each of the countries of Covid for their investment in infrastructure, in trade, in trade facilitation, in energy because each mile of railway, each hundred megawatts of power, each strengthening of the value chains and supply chains has been a step in integration of Afghanistan. Particularly, I would like to thank Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia for ensuring that the Lapis Lazuli Corridor has taken off,” the president said, as quoted in the statement. Besides thanking Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for Casa 1000 and for related transport things, the president said that 17 Asian countries accounted for 50 percent of global investment in electricity, road, telecoms, rail, water, port and airports between 2007 and 2015. “The investment rose from 1.8 trillion in 2007 to 2.3 trillion in 2015 showing an annual increase of 2.9 percent.” The president added: “We are extremely proud that we have reclaimed our historical place in Central Asia, and we are delighted that Caucuses and Central Asia are looking northward while Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the rest of South Asia looks northward.”
The president further said: “We are also delighted that our Asian partners have endorsed the vision of an end state for the peace process in Afghanistan that is a sovereign, united, democratic Afghanistan capable of preserving and expanding the gains of the last twenty years. But particularly we are delighted that all our partners now are seeing that regional connectivity is key to regional stability, to peace and to mutual prosperity.” Welcoming the CAREC 2030 document connecting the region for shared and sustainable development, the president said that all the priorities that have been singled out in the 2030 document are important. Concluding his speech the president said that Asia in general and CAREC countries in particular are capable of engendering a reset that would be much more equitable, much more based on the advantages of cooperation and that all will be winners and would not only deal with Covid but with a climate change that again is one of the persistent threats to Asia.