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As Afghanistan stands at the crossroads, China is lending a helping hand

Qian Feng

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The Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan has been successfully held recently. Focusing on the situation in Afghanistan and its future, the meeting issued a joint statement covering five areas: political and diplomatic fields, economic and humanitarian fields, counter-terrorism and security, refugees, and institution building. This not only clearly demonstrates the determination of the neighboring countries to strengthen communication and work together to help Afghanistan achieve stable development, but also conveys the concerns and expectations of the international community for Afghanistan. In the current complex and volatile international situation, the meeting provides new ideas for addressing security problems, which is not only significant to Afghanistan, but also important for the international community as a reference.

The first Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan last September officially launched the coordination and cooperation mechanism for Afghanistan’s neighbors. At the time, the irresponsible withdrawal of the United States and its allies, coupled with the major changes on the Afghan political landscape, had left more than 30 million people in the country struggling to cope with multiple challenges, including, among others,  humanitarian crisis, economic difficulties, livelihood problems and the COVID pandemic. In response, the country’s neighbors came to the political consensus of working together to help Afghanistan, believing that they as neighbors have a unique role to play in providing a favorable external environment for the stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan. This new mechanism is essential at this critical juncture when Afghanistan turns from chaos to peace.

In less than a year, Afghanistan’s neighbors have held three foreign ministers’ meetings, reflecting the great importance they attach to the Afghan issue. Under the mechanism, a lot of fruitful work has been carried out and many important consensuses reached. At the same time, it has maintained active communication with the interim Government of Afghanistan and cooperated with various international mechanisms on the Afghan issue to bring about positive development of the overall situation in Afghanistan. The efforts have been widely recognized by the international community.

Even as Afghanistan still faces severe challenges in many dimensions such as humanitarian crisis, economic recovery, counter-terrorism and national governance, what the United States does has aggravated the problems. In this February, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to “share” the $7 billion of assets deposited in America by the Afghan central bank, refusing to return them to the Afghan interim government. This move has been strongly criticized by Afghanistan and the international community.

More worryingly, Afghanistan seems to be forgotten by the Western world in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Today, more than 24 million people across Afghanistan need humanitarian support for them to survive, but the UN goal of providing $4.44 billion in humanitarian fund to Afghanistan has seen little progress. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), while watching out for Ukraine, had to appeal to the international community for support to the Afghans to prevent another humanitarian crisis.

Therefore, this international meeting in China focusing on Afghanistan is ever more important and timely. This is a reminder to the international community that the Afghan issue is still high on the current international peace and security agenda. The world should not forget Afghanistan, and that the United States, the maker of Afghanistan’s problems, should not deliberately ignore and stay away from the Afghan issue.

It is better for the doer to undo what he has done. The US and the Western world should take up their primary responsibility for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, and return the property of the Afghan people as soon as possible. To truly help Afghanistan get through the difficulties, the more efforts to alleviate the country’s humanitarian crisis, the better, and the fewer unnecessary moves to create troubles, the merrier.

The Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan is another important contribution China makes to achieve enduring peace and stable development in Afghanistan. In order to make the Meeting even more productive, and promote the implementation of the outcomes of previous Meetings, China has been working for agreement to launch the mechanism for regular meetings among special envoys for Afghanistan of the neighboring countries, and establish three working groups on political and diplomatic, economic and humanitarian, and security and stability affairs. Foreign ministers from the Afghan interim government, Qatar and Indonesia were invited to the Meeting for the first time. And China presided over the meeting on the “China-US-Russia plus” consultation mechanism on Afghanistan. The world could see the diplomatic efforts China has made in this regard.

It fully shows that no matter how the international situation may evolve and change, China, as a responsible country and one of the neighbors of Afghanistan, will not change its foreign policy towards its neighbors, nor its diplomatic principle for upholding justice.

On the one hand, China acknowledges the efforts of the Afghan interim government from the perspective of history and development, and works with the international community to exert positive influence on the development of the situation in Afghanistan, and better integrate the country into the mainstream of the international community.

On the other hand, China opposes the abuse of sanctions, commits to resolving differences through dialogue and consultation, and takes the meeting as an opportunity for all parties to build consensus on the basis of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. China encourages Afghanistan to establish a more inclusive and open political architecture, take more moderate and steady internal and external policies, and combat terrorism effectively.

Afghanistan has been through a long, dark winter and is now embracing a hopeful spring. There is reason to believe that the successful convening of the third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan will bring new and greater hope for Afghanistan to get out of the current predicament and back on the track of sound development, and explore a development path that is in line with not only their own national conditions but also the trend of the times at an early date.

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Maldives to experience rain nationwide on voting day

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Meteorological Center (MET Office) has reported Maldives will experience rainfall nationwide on Sunday, amid the parliamentary election.

MET Office on Saturday forecasts heavy rainfall accompanied with thunder from Laamu atoll to Addu atoll. The authority also forecasts rainfall from central parts to northern atolls as well.

The weather authority also reported that the winds speeds will be between 5 to 15 miles per hour nationwide.

Despite rainfall nationwide, the seas would not be rough to interrupt sea transportation, MET added.

With many already traveling to their home islands to cast vote in the parliamentary election, the government has already announced Monday, April 22nd will be a public holiday as well.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Middle East countries voice concern over military escalation after alleged Israeli attack on Iran

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Countries in the Middle East have voiced their concern over military escalation in the region after Israel on Friday allegedly struck sites near the city of Isfahan, central Iran, in what appeared to be its military response to Iran’s recent retaliatory attack.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on the two sides to exercise the utmost restraint and to fully comply with the rules of international law and the UN Charter, warning against widening the conflict and instability in the region.

Egypt stressed that it will continue to intensify communications with all concerned and influential parties to contain the ongoing escalation and tension.

In addition, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ministry “is constantly monitoring the tension in the region,” expressing its deep concern about the attack targeting Isfahan on Friday morning.

The ministry said that the escalation must not distract attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip, renewing its call on the international community to perform its duties and work to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, according to the statement.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi on Friday stressed the need to reduce the dangerous escalation in the region and reiterated that “Jordan will not allow it to be turned into an arena of conflict between Iran and Israel and to endanger its security and the safety of its citizens.”

Safadi, who also serves as the Jordanian foreign minister, added on social media platform X that “the current escalation only serves to divert attention away from the Israeli aggression on Gaza, stopping which must be the priority.”

The Israeli attack came after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Saturday that it had launched missile and drone attacks on Israel in retaliation for earlier airstrikes by Israel on April 1 on the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed seven Iranians.

So far, Israel has not officially acknowledged the strikes on Isfahan, while Iran has not publicly accused Israel of carrying them out.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the Israeli strikes on Syrian military sites earlier in the day as a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and a threat to regional stability.

In a statement, the ministry warned that such actions could escalate tensions in the region, potentially leading to a broader conflict, and urged the international community, including the UN Security Council, to condemn the attack and take decisive measures to halt the “crimes” committed by Israel.

In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian air defense sites in the southern region, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry. The strikes caused material losses, while no casualties were reported, it added.

The attack was also confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported that more than six Israeli aircraft were observed flying intensively in southern Syria.

The radar battalion responsible for monitoring the airspace, located in the east of Syria’s Daraa province, was targeted, the war monitor added.

Source(s): CGTN

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This is a golden opportunity to cooperate with a government: President

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu states this is a golden opportunity for a parliament that will cooperate with a government that wants to produce results.

Speaking at a meeting with Addu City constituents residing in Male’ City on Friday night, the President said his administration’s only focus is to produce results.

He described the upcoming parliament election as a golden opportunity for a parliament that will cooperate with a government that wants to produce results.

“My focus is on results, nothing else. It is results that the people want, is it not? The result of development and the result of stability, is that not what people have been wanting?” he questioned.

Speaking further, President Muizzu, underscoring the nation had not seen the desired number of changes in the past years, said his administration will not spend time on anything other than producing results.

“This is truly a golden opportunity. You are receiving a golden opportunity to pave the way for full cooperation necessary within the parliament to a government that is solely focused on producing results,” he said.

Citing the aforementioned reasons, he urged the public to vote for ruling PPM-PNC coalition’s candidates contesting in the parliamentary election slated for Sunday.

MDP has the largest number of candidates contesting this parliamentary election at 90 constituencies, followed by PPM-PNC coalition at 89 constituencies.

A total of 368 candidates are contesting for 93 constituencies.

Polling stations will be open from 8:00am to 5:30pm on Sunday; a decision made by the Elections Commission earlier today, which is undertaking final preparations for the election.

Source(s): sun.mv

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