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Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of The People's Republic of China At the Video Opening Ceremony of Intra-Afghan Negotiations

Colleagues and Friends,

Today, the Intra-Afghan Negotiations officially start. This is a milestone in the history of Afghanistan. I wish to extend warm congratulations on behalf of the Chinese government. The launch of the negotiations has not come easily. It would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of peace-loving Afghan people, regional countries and the whole international community. It will open a window of opportunity for ending the prolonged conflicts and create bright prospects for Afghanistan.

As President Xi Jinping has said, “Peace, like air and sunshine, is hardly noticeable. But none of us can live without it.” Cessation of violence and durable peace is the strongest wish of over 37 million Afghan people and the shared expectation of the regional countries and the international community. As a neighbor linked by mountains with Afghanistan, China sincerely hopes that both parties of the peace talks will seek common ground while resolving differences, beat swords into plowshares, and find an early, effective solution for the political settlement of the Afghan issue

On the negotiations, China has the following proposals and expectations:

First, keep to the fundamental direction of political settlement. History has shown that the Afghan issue can only be resolved by political means. The negotiation process may be fraught with complex challenges. Yet both parties need to keep to this path in order to produce results and realize peace.

Second, uphold the basic principle of an Afghan-led process.The future of Afghanistan must be in the hands of its own people, and the negotiations must be"Afghan-led, Afghan-owned'". No external force should exploit the process for their selfish interests. It is vital for all sides to provide more support and collaboration for Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process.

Third, pursue the goal of a broad-based and inclusive framework. The future arrangements for Afghanistan need to be broadly representative and inclusive. Under such arrangements, all political parties and groups, ethnic groups and religious sects in Afghanistan will be able to participate on an equal footing and share state power. Efforts are also needed to tackle intricate issues head on, such as poverty and drugs, resolutely fight terrorism and uphold a foreign policy of peace and friendship. Such efforts will help truly realize peace and development in Afghanistan

As a Chinese saying goes, good neighbors wish each other well. As a true friend of Afghanistan, China will continue to be a supporter, mediator and facilitator for its peace and reconciliation process. China calls on the global community and regional countries to uphold fairness and justice and jointly support peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. The withdrawal of foreign troops should proceed in a responsible and orderly way to ensure a stable transition in Afghanistan.

I wish the Intra-Afghan Negotiations a smooth start. May Afghanistan enjoy peace, tranquility and prosperity at an early date.

Thank you.

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