REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF AFGHANISTAN H.E SALAHUDDIN RABBANI AT THE JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE WITH THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF RUSSIA H.E SERGEY LAVROV
MOSCOW – RUSSIA
FEBRUARY 07, 2017
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Excellency Foreign Minister Lavrov,
Distinguished Members of Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Lavrov, for the gracious invitation and warm hospitality. My delegation and I are delighted to be here today, in the magnificent city of Moscow, and to have discussed with you many issues of importance relating to our bilateral relations and regional affairs.
I wish to convey to the Russian Government and people our gratitude for a cooperative relationship, as we strive to stabilize my country, in partnership with the international community. We strongly believe that as two neighboring countries with many common interests, challenges, and opportunities for further cooperation, we must work together now and for generations to come. To that end, we stand ready to take every clear and concrete step towards further growing our partnership, based on mutual respect and interest.
As a momentous step in the continuation of our high-level engagements, this visit has provided us with an excellent opportunity to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, including a reaffirmation of our two countries' strong commitment to realizing our shared goals, on the basis of mutual benefits and the common challenges that confront our two countries.
In my meeting with His Excellency Foreign Minister Lavrov, we held extensive and fruitful discussions on all dimensions of our bilateral cooperation, including Russia's role in helping bolster regional peace and stability. Helping end utilization in our region of terrorism and violent extremism as tools of foreign policy will go a long way in stabilizing Afghanistan, while addressing Russia’s concern about the twin threats.
We agreed that the interests of Afghanistan and Russia in ensuring regional stability are intertwined. Afghanistan and Russia are concerned about the inter-connected, complex security challenges of terrorism, radicalism, narcotics production and trafficking, and criminality. Both countries must work together, as well as with others in the region and beyond, to address these common security threats.
In this connection, we discussed Afghanistan-Russia technical cooperation, including in the military arena. We thank the Russian Government for providing us with training and equipping support, as our forces relentlessly battle regional and transnational terrorist networks. The Military-Technical Agreement, which was signed by our Defense Ministers, has come into force. This should help further strengthen military-to-military technical cooperation between our two countries.
We also discussed economic cooperation and trade relations between our two countries. In this regard, we focused on opportunities for Russian investment in Afghanistan and our interest in increasing the level of oil imports from Russia.
Moreover, we agreed to increase mutual cooperation at and through multilateral platforms, including the United Nations and other international organizations. To this end, we discussed Russia's support for Afghanistan's bid to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and I welcome Russia’s positive response in this regard.
Our inclusion in this important organization would enable Afghanistan and Russia to collaborate multilaterally on issues of common interest and concern in the region, including counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, economic cooperation, and expansion of people-to-people contacts and cultural cooperation.
Finally, we reiterated that high-level political dialogue and consultations between our two countries can help strengthen our bilateral ties. Thus, we agreed to increase our contacts at different levels of diplomacy, including at the levels of Directors-General, Deputy Foreign Ministers, Foreign Ministers, and Heads of State and Government. Increased consultations at multiple levels should allow us to build further on our bilateral relations, while joining hands with other major stakeholders, including the United States, to consolidate Afghanistan’s hard-earned gains of the past 15 years.
I conclude by looking forward to the continuation of our bilateral exchanges, and thank my colleague, Mr. Lavrov, for a warm welcome and productive visit.