The Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan will be held in Beijing on Oct 31, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Oct 24.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad Osmani will co-chair the meeting, which will be attended by foreign ministers or senior representatives from Afghanistan’s neighbors and near-neighbors, Hua said at a regular news briefing.
The meeting will take place amid Afghanistan’s new president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s state visit to China, due from Oct 28 to 31. It is Ghani’s first foreign visit since taking office in September.
This meeting is of great significance as it is the first time for China to host a major international meeting on Afghanistan and also the first such meeting since the formation of Afghan new government, Hua said.
In November 2011, China, Russia, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries reached an agreement in Turkey known as the Istanbul Process, presenting a new vision for regional cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan.
The 14 members include Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey and 28 supporting parties include the United States, Britain, the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
“It is the only regional cooperation mechanism led by regional countries on Afghanistan issues and has played a positive role in promoting Afghanistan’s reconstruction,” Hua said.
Afghanistan is now in political, security and economic transition. China hopes this meeting will reflect international support for Afghanistan peace and reconstruction, garner will from regional countries to enhance cooperation on Afghanistan issues and maintain Afghanistan and regional security, according to the spokeswoman.
Ghani was sworn in as new president of Afghanistan on September 29, replacing Hamid Karzai and marking the first-ever peaceful power transition in the history of the war-torn country.
Most American and NATO combat troops will pull back from Afghanistan by the end of this year. Around 10,000 US troops will remain there to train and advise the Afghan security forces and carry out counter-terrorism missions, according to a US-Afghan security agreement signed in September.