The Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan will be held on October 31 in Beijing.
Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations, briefed reporters on the Conference at UN headquarters.
The theme of the Conference is "Deepening Cooperation for Sustainable Security and Prosperity of the 'Heart of Asia' Region". Liu said that as the first large-scale international conference on Afghanistan that China has ever hosted, and the first international conference on Afghanistan since the formation of the new Afghan government, the conference would have an importance that can never be overemphasized.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will attend and address the opening ceremony. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani would co-chair the conference and meet with the press. Foreign ministers and high-level representatives of the member states and supporting parties of the Istanbul Process will attend the conference.
"As Afghanistan is undergoing multiple transitions in its political, security and economic affairs and soon embarking on a decade-long transformation period, China hopes that the new Afghan Government will lead the Afghan people to peace, stability and development," Liu said.
While continuing with the assistance and support to Afghanistan through bilateral channels, China hopes to use this multilateral conference and mechanism to build consensus among central Asian countries to strengthen cooperation on Afghanistan, and jointly safeguard security and stability in Afghanistan and the region. China also hopes that the Conference will help mobilize the entire international community to support Afghanistan.
On President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's visit to China, Ambassador Liu said that the Presidential election in Afghanistan was completed smoothly not long before and a national unity government was formed. He said President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's state visit to China from October 28-31 was his first official overseas visit since he was sworn in as president and the first high-level visit in China-Afghanistan relations since the formation of the new Afghan Government.
China attaches great importance to his visit. Chinese President Xi Jinping had an in-depth exchange of views with President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on bilateral relations and issues of shared interest on October 29. China hopes that this visit will help deepen China-Afghanistan practical cooperation in all fields, showcase Chinese Government's support for the smooth transition as well as peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and push forward the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Afghanistan.
The Istanbul Process on Afghanistan was jointly initiated by Turkey and Afghanistan in 2011. It is so far the only regional cooperation mechanism on Afghanistan, which is led by countries in central Asia. It follows the principles of regionally concentrated leadership, ownership and consensus. It focuses on political consultation and cooperation on confidence-building measures. It plays an increasingly important role in building consensus among countries in the region, promoting regional cooperation on Afghanistan and advancing peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. Compared with other international conferences and processes on Afghanistan, the Istanbul Process gives more emphasis on helping Afghanistan with capacity building and training.
Currently, 14 central Asian countries are members of the Process, alongside sixteen countries from outside the region and 12 regional and international organizations participate in the Process as supporting parties. It holds a meeting every year. The previous three meetings were held respectively in Turkey's Istanbul, Afghanistan's Kabul and Kazakhstan's Almaty.