Thursday, October 06, 2016

Transcript of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks Brussels Conference on Afghanistan

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Your Excellencies, let me begin this morning with a note of thanks on behalf of Dr. Abdullah and myself to the distinguished representatives of the 75 countries and 25 representatives from the international community who are gathered here today with the sole aim of helping Afghanistan. We have come together as a partnership of countries and international organizations united by a common perspective on the value of democracy and human rights, a shared vision of the grave threats to world stability that terrorism poses, the need for leaders to unite in the common cause of respect for international law and sovereignty of states, and the commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve the Social Development Goals.   

It is a privilege to express the heartfelt thanks of the Afghan nation.  Knowing sorrow that follows from war and the loneliness of displacement, exile and migration has been our condition for four decades.   Despite the adversity, resilience is our national characteristic, derived from our long history as a meeting place of cultures and civilization, our abiding Muslim faith, our firm belief that we can overcome the past, and our culture of hospitality and friendship. 

You, distinguished leaders of the international community, have been our friends and the font of hope for our people.  The international community has offered our people a hand to help lift us out from the years of warfare, poverty, and cruelty. In a country that yearns for its children to be educated, you have built schools. Where lives were filled with trauma, disease, and early deaths you have built clinics and trained our nurses and doctors.  Where our fields had been destroyed and filled with landmines that suddenly left innocent children playing their childish games without legs and arms, you helped us clear them of danger and replanted our vines and orchards. Our citizens- boys and girls, men and women, students and teachers, nomadic, rural and urban, young and old --grasped that hand of friendship and today we acknowledge the gratitude of our nation. 

Poverty is our enduring challenge, as 39% of our people live below $1.35 a day.  That means 1-2 meals a day and low probability of their children ever attending school.   Nonetheless, the 61% that live above the poverty line and can eat 3 meals a day and send their children to school owe their changed lives to your assistance – for in 2001—after five years of drought and the cruelties of the Taliban– we were facing social collapse in the face.   I thank you for your generous new pledges on behalf of our poor, as we are going to be relentlessly focusing on reduction and elimination of poverty.  

Your commitment, however, has been much more significant than spending of treasure.  Your sons and daughters have fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us, making the deepest of sacrifices in the cause of freedom. On behalf of the Afghan people and our security and defense forces, I would like to request a moment of silence in the honor of the fallen heroes from your countries and ours. 

We are enormously pleased and proud both of the strategic patience, strategic focus and strategic commitment of the global community as represented today. Thank you President Tusk, Ms. Mogherini, the Secretary General, Mr. Kerry and all other distinguished participants for showing that political will, but the root of the problem is in the region; we, at the national level, are committed to unity, to focused effort, to dialogue. We made the peace deal, the recent peace deal, from within our public consensus, not outside of it. It is based on our constitution; it was negotiated in Kabul, the capital of all Afghans and it took place through an inter-Afghan dialogue. Afghans can make peace. We will make peace. We are committed to constructive politics, not destructive politics. We are committed to a politics of imagination, a politics of inclusion, a politics where every Afghan, as the constitution specifies, is equal to another Afghan. The largest task is the poverty in the region; the political will and focus in the region generated to define poverty and terrorism as our two central challenges. I am confident that we will overcome them. Terrorism is not a short-term phenomenon; unfortunately, if the previous four waves of terrorism are an indicator, it is a medium term phenomenon. We need to join our forces, keep our focus and move together. 

Afghans have the ability given our culture of resilience to overcome; we need the friends’ hands of friendship to believe and conclude that 40 years of suffering of a dignified nation that has never posed a threat to any of its neighbors and has always welcomed the international community with open arms, is enough. Thank you for the statement of support. Thank you for this magnificent gathering. And we shall succeed. - Read More

Transcript of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks Brussels Conference on Afghanistan - 

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