U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice reiterated President Obama’s statement that the strong U.S. relationship with Afghanistan will extend well beyond 2014.
In her remarks at a Security Council Debate on Afghanistan, Ms. Rice said the United States will continue to make progress on our Strategic Partnership document, which outlines its long-term cooperation during the transition period and beyond.
“As President Obama and President Karzai reaffirmed in their meeting last week, we will have a strategic partnership between our nations that provides a long-term framework for bilateral cooperation on security, economic and social development, and institution building.” -Ms. Rice
She noted that as Afghanistan moves towards the 2014 transition, they know that government alone cannot grow Afghanistan’s economy, so they must all continue to work to create an environment that attracts private-sector investment.
She highlighted that last week Foreign Minister Rassoul, German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, and Secretary of State Clinton met with 27 of Afghanistan’s neighbors and partners to advance their shared vision of a New Silk Road.
“The New Silk Road is an Afghan-led venture-a rallying point for securing Afghan, regional, and international commitments to support Afghanistan’s transition and develop a sustainable Afghan economy that will benefit the whole region.” -Ms. Rice
She stressed that the creation of a New Silk Road will help Afghanistan and its neighbors to maximize the value of their natural resources, build human capacity, create jobs, generate revenue to pay for needed services, and capitalize on the region’s economic potential. The New Silk Road will also promote women entrepreneurs, since we know that sustained and successful development depends on women becoming equal partners.
“The international community has an important role to play in supporting Afghanistan and the region’s efforts to make this vision a reality. The New Silk Road initiative will reinforce the search for diplomatic solutions to end the war in Afghanistan.” -Ms. Rice
She emphasized that 2011 remains a pivotal year. The International Afghanistan Conference at the end of the year in Bonn will be a key opportunity for the Government of Afghanistan, its neighbors, and the international community to strengthen economic cooperation in the region.
“This will be complemented by regional efforts to strengthen mutual confidence and neighborly relations at the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Istanbul in November.” -Ms. Rice
She said the United States also welcomes the start of the comprehensive review of UNAMA’s mandated activities and the United Nations’ support in Afghanistan.
“We will continue to support the Afghan government and people, regional partners, and the international community as we work to establish stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and throughout the region.” -Ms. Rice