Joint Statement of the Co-Chairs of the Ministerial Meeting on the New Silk Road

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 22, 2011

Following is the text of a joint statement by the co-chairs of a ministerial meeting on the New Silk Road hosted by the German government on September 22, 2011 in New York, and co-chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul.

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We, the Co-Chairs of the Ministerial Meeting on the New Silk Road, express our appreciation to the Foreign Ministers and senior officials from 27 countries and international organizations – Afghanistan’s neighbors and some of its many partners – who gathered on September 22, 2011 to discuss the vision for a New Silk Road.

The participants commemorated Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council, who contributed greatly to the peace process in Afghanistan. They condemned in the strongest terms the heinous attack that caused his death, and expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims and their families, as well as to the people and the Government of Afghanistan. The participants wished Mohammed Massoom Stanekzai, Chief Executive of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program, a speedy recovery from his injuries. The events should serve as a reason to redouble the efforts for reconciliation and peace.

The international community is committed to a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan, integrated in a secure, stable, and prosperous region. The New Silk Road vision is part of making that objective a reality for the people of South and Central Asia by advancing a comprehensive, long-term economic strategy centered around Afghanistan.

The New Silk Road vision is a shared commitment to promote private-sector investment, increase regional trade and transit, and foster a network of linkages throughout the region. The creation of a New Silk Road will help Afghanistan and its neighbors maximize the value of natural resources, build human capacity, create jobs, generate revenue to pay for needed services, and capitalize on the region’s economic potential.

The Government of Afghanistan is committed, consistent with the London and Kabul Conference Communiques, to continuing the regulatory and legal reform necessary to attract international private investment in key sectors, such as agriculture and the extractive industries. Economic cooperation among the states of the region will increase market access, promote security, and support the foundation for lasting peace.

The international community, also consistent with the London and Kabul Conference Communiques, has an important role to play in supporting Afghanistan and the region’s efforts to make this vision a reality, both through its financial support and facilitation of private sector investment, through transition and beyond.

There is significant opportunity for increased regional prosperity and stability through: the promotion of private sector investment, both domestic and foreign; the expansion of trade and commerce, including through implementation of regional and bilateral transit trade agreements; adoption of international best practices in border and customs controls; expanded consular visa cooperation and facilitation of business travel; expanded access to finance; prioritization of regional economic cooperation in respective national development agendas; and increased cooperation in the development of transport and energy networks, as well as mineral resources.

The International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn on December 5, 2011 will be a key opportunity for the Government of Afghanistan, its neighbors, and the broader international community to also address strengthened economic cooperation in the region. This will complement the efforts of the region at the Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia in Istanbul on November 2, 2011 to strengthen mutual confidence and good-neighborly relations.

The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Zalmay Rassoul

The Secretary of State of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Guido Westerwelle.

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PRN: 2011/1573