H.E. Hamid Karzai President of Afghanistan at the Signing of the Kabul Declaration on Good Neighbourly Relations

Your Excellences,
Friends and neighbors of Afghanistan, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a truly great occasion for me to open this all-important Conference on Good Neighborly Relation8 in Kabul while the distinguished representatives of all our neighboring and brotherly nations have gathered here to adopt declaration that is surely going to be viewed as historic and significant for all of us.
To have our great friend and honorary Afghan, Ambassador Akhtar Brahmi, representing the Secretary General of the United Nations, and the honorable representatives of other friendly nations here also adds value and credence to our collective attempt to foster peace, reinforce stability and promote prosperity for all our peoples and the world at large.

Exactly a year ago this time, following the historic Agreement reached in Bonn, Afghan leaders gathered in Kabul along with members of the international community to inaugurate the formation of the Interim Administration and pave the way for a political process that would reflect the will of the Afghan people during a two-year timeframe. All of you came and joined the Afghans during that momentous occasion. Today we celebrate the first anniversary of the new Afghanistan and re-affirm our commitment to peace, co-operation and development in our region.

We have a responsibility toward our people and toward our future generations to provide them with a dignified, secure and prosperous environment. A secure, peaceful, friendly Afghanistan is a key to our collective success. The recent history of my country over the past two decades clearly demonstrated this fact, best enunciated by the great Persian and Eastern poet Saudi, who once so rightly said [in Darla], which can be translated as “the children of Adam are members of one body, who in their creation are from one precious source, and if time and events bring pain to one member, it would surely create discomfort tithe other members.” It is with this spirit and vision that we need to strengthen our bonds of brotherhood and friendship, work for a region that is free of terror, extremism and backwardness.

Last year, Afghanistan ended a dark period of its history and entered new era, where every man, woman and child’s rights should be preserved, our national and individual security maintained, our country’s shattered infrastructure rebuilt, our economy revamped, and our relations with the rest of the world, especially with our neighbors, be strengthened and improved upon. We have embarked on a new course, accomplished a lot so far, and know that we have only begun the job that lies ahead of us.

This is good news for us and for our friends around the world also. Our neighbors can benefit tremendously from the changes that have taken place in Afghanistan. Not only can we have trade and transit flourish, but also build new bridges and engage in new transactions that will enhance our individual as well as collective capacities.
As our distinguished guests from our neighboring countries know, we have longstanding cultural and historical ties that bind our peoples in the fields of philosophy, literature, the sciences and commerce. The richness of our past civilizations needs to be harnessed by a common vision of democracy, human rights, progress, tolerance and moderation.

This Conference, which has the support of our people and the international community at large, is yet another step to bring us together, emphasize on the principles of mutual respect and understanding, and prevent any undesirable or counter-productive actions by accelerating and enhancing the process of good neighborliness. I hope that we have all learned from our past mistakes and will follow the right course from now on. Afghanistan, for its part, will never allow its territory or bilateral relations with other nations to harm another country, and we expect the same.
It is with this spirit, the Kabul spirit if you would, that I welcome you and declare this Conference open. May God be with all of us in the path of peace and goodwill?
Thank you.