Afghanistan and six of its neighbouring countries have signed a declaration of non-aggression, which the United Nations mission in Kabul described as one more milestone in the nation’s long quest for peace.
Meeting yesterday in Kabul at a Conference on Good Neighbourly Relations, Afghanistan and the other six signatories – China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan –reaffirmed their commitment to constructive and supportive bilateral relationships based on the principle of territorial integrity, mutual respect, friendly relations, cooperation and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
In a statement read out by the UN envoy in Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that peace in Afghanistan could only be achieved with the help of neighbouring States and the wider international community.
Highlighting that Afghanistan’s neighbours had already done much to help bring back stability to the country, including generous economic assistance and hospitality to Afghan refugees, Mr. Annan said he hoped that the Kabul Declaration would not be seen as an isolated event but a concrete expression of strengthening, and the basis for, a further series of regional agreements and initiatives to promote cooperation in areas of mutual concern and interest.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai stressed the need to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and friendship and to work for a region free of terror, extremism and backwardness. He said the Declaration would prevent any undesirable or counter-productive actions by accelerating and enhancing the process of good neighbourliness. He also emphasized that Afghanistan would not allow its territory or bilateral relations with any other nations to harm another country and it expected the same from others.