Statement of H.E. Janan Mosazai, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Haimen-Mazar e Sharif Cargo Train Service

Category: Aug 25, 10:24 AM

Afghan and China Train LineHaimen, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China
 
In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful.
 
Excellency Zhang Lei, Vice Governor,
Fang Wei, Deputy Secretary General of Provincial Government,
Chen Yong, Party Secretary of Haimen Municipal Government,
Yang Caoming, Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor of Haimen,
My dear friend and colleague Excellency Ambassador Deng Xijun, Special Representative of China to Afghanistan,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
It is a great pleasure for me to represent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at this auspicious launch of the China-Afghanistan cargo rail service. I want to especially thank the People’s Municipal Government of Haimen for this kind invitation to attend this important inauguration ceremony. And, of course, I would like to offer my warm congratulations to the provincial leadership of Jiangsu and the municipal leadership of Haimen on this important success. I am also happy that the Embassy of Afghanistan in Beijing also played its own role in the success of this project, and would like to assure you that we will continue to offer full support to this and other initiatives that bring our two countries and the region together in closer ties of win-win cooperation.
For most of the past several centuries, Afghanistan has been a crossroads of one of the most dynamic and populous regions in the world, namely the Heart of Asia region, comprising our next-door and near neighbours. Afghanistan and China were linked economically, politically and culturally for hundreds of years through the Ancient Silk Road, a history that underpins the close friendship and strategic cooperation between our two nations.
 
This project that we are inaugurating today fits perfectly into the common vision of the leadership of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Specifically speaking, the project is a step towards the realization of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s vision for Afghanistan as a landbridge and Asian Roundabout for trade, commerce, investments and the flow of people, goods, capital and information between China and West Asia, and South Asia and Central Asia. This direct cargo rail service will also play its role in increasing the trade volume between Afghanistan and China, including an increase in Afghan exports to China, as well as boost Chinese investments in various sectors in Afghanistan.
 
As has already been highlighted, this project also fits well with the One Belt, One Road initiative proposed by H.E. President Xi Jinping, which is a bold vision for closer and deeper economic integration among the countries along the Belt and Road. We were very proud to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on jointly implementing the One Belt, One Road initiative between our two countries in May this year during the visit of Afghan Chief Executive H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to Beijing at the invitation of H.E. Premier Li Keqiang.
 
 
Pioneered by such historical figures as Xuan Zang, who visited and spent time in Ancient Afghanistan, the rejuvenation of the Ancient Silk Road through the OBOR initiative will transform the region and also help us in Afghanistan regain our natural and rightful place in the region as a landbridge and roundabout.
 
This project will enhance trade and commercial linkages between China, Central Asia, Afghanistan. Once the key portions of our national railway network in Afghanistan are in place, which is a key priority for the government, this cargo service can then easily be extended down to Iran, Pakistan and beyond.
 
Other projects that we hope to implement through bilateral cooperation and working with other countries in the region include the China-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran Five-Nation Railway and the North-South Railway in Afghanistan that will link Central Asia with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. We hope that you will offer your full support to these additional initiatives between our countries, too, because they are going to benefit our people, especially our business communities. I was looking at some numbers just yesterday and learned that there have been more than 2000 rail cargo trips between China and Europe as part of OBOR projects. With the inauguration of this pioneering project today here in Haimen, we hope for the same number of rail journeys between China and Afghanistan and through Afghanistan to other countries soon.
 
Finally, this initiative is very much in line with the fundamental principles of the Sino-Afghan relationship: deep friendship, mutual trust, respect, support and mutual benefit.
 
A-Zhong You Yi Wan Sui. Fei Chang Gan Xie.