Posted by: Administrator | 8 July, 2006

President at CICA Moot ALMATY

17 June 2006

Your Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Chairman of the CICA Summit, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I consider it a special privilege to represent Pakistan at the Second CICA Summit and continue my association with this important endeavour initiated by you Mr. Chairman many years ago to promote confidence, trust, understanding and security in Asia. I am also happy to be in the beautiful city of Almaty and wish to thank you for the splendid hospitality extended to us in the generous traditions of your people. CICA has been making steady headway since the last Summit. It particular, the adoption of the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures in 2004 was a significant development. The establishment of the CICA Secretariat is yet another landmark development.

Mr. Chairman, old and new conflicts, tensions and menace of terrorism afflict many parts of our Asian continent. Regional conflicts and tensions also retard economic progress, aggravate poverty and cause despair and anger that can breed extremism and terrorism. In this context, CICA is a valuable forum for interaction and dialogue, focusing on security situation and challenges we face together. It encourages adoption of CBMs that can help manage conflicts. However, we feel these must pave the way for final settlement, which alone can ensure durable peace. In regions that are fortunate to be relatively free of tension, intra-regional mechanism to reinforce trust and confidence can help accelerate economic development and consolidate peace and security. These mechanisms can promote peaceful environment conducive for socioeconomic advancement by allowing people to devote their resources and energies for this purpose.

Mr. Chairman, terrorism is a new and pervasive threat to peace and security that threatens the entire international community. Pakistan has long been its victim. We have been consistently opposing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and have been in the forefront of the global campaign to combat and counter terrorism and extremism. We believe that in addition to local action to eliminate terrorist groups and individuals, it is also important to address the root causes. Terrorism often stems from conditions where people have been long denied freedom and fundamental rights and suffer a deep sense of humiliation. International failure to resolve long-standing issues only serves to aggravate them. Another danger that must be focus of our concerns is a similarly sinister phenomenon that tends to associate terrorism with religion, particularly Islam. We must firmly reject and counter campaigns to malign Islam, which is a religion of peace, tolerance and compassion. Terrorism has no 214 Documents religion. There is also need to reject the false notion of clash between Islam and the West. What we need today more than ever before is harmony and congenial coexistence between diverse cultures and religions.

 We greatly appreciate your efforts, Mr. Chairman, to bring together scholars of all faiths to promote inter-faith harmony. In this context, I would like to mention the relevance of my suggestion of “Enlightened Moderation” that emphasizes reforms in the Islamic societies to counter extremism on the one hand and the need, on the other hand, for the West to help with resolution of conflicts that continue to cause suffering to the Islamic world.

Mr. Chairman, when we talk of peace and confidence building in the Asian continent, we cannot escape the responsibility to find just solutions to the long standing Palestinian and Kashmir conflicts and the need to help Iraq and Afghanistan gain stability and normalcy. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state is essential to bring the Palestinian tragedy to a close and achieve durable peace in the Middle East. This has been the objective of all peace efforts including the Oslo Peace Accord, The Arab League Declaration of 2002, the Quartet Peace Process and earlier the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. We must not fail in their implementation.

In South Asia, we are engaged with India in a peace process to resolve all outstanding issues including the Kashmir dispute. The implementation of a number of CBMs in diverse sectors has improved relations and security environment in South Asia. This offers a unique opportunity that must be seized to resolve the Kashmir dispute and usher in a new era of peace and cooperation in South Asia. This is achievable through leadership, sincerity, courage and flexibility.

In neighbouring Afghanistan, we desire to see success of the people and the government of the country in their efforts aimed at reconciliation and rehabilitation. Pakistan supports the Bonn Process and will contribute to reconstruction of Afghanistan. We believe that a stable, strong and prosperous Afghanistan is vital for regional peace and development. The recent tension over the Iranian nuclear issue has been a source of deep concern to all of us.

Therefore, we welcome the renewed diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated settlement as well as the US decision to directly engage with Iran. We have been supporting Iran-EU-3 dialogue and search for a diplomatic solution especially by Russia and China. We believe that peaceful resolution of disputes implies compromise and accommodation of opposing views. Therefore, it follows that each party has to step back from their maxima list positions. We hope this is realised for the sake of ultimate peace.

Mr. Chairman, it is encouraging that a CICA Special Working Group is exploring cooperation among member states in the Economic, Environmental and Human Dimensions. It signifies a desire to benefit from respective strengths of CICA member states. Many of CICA member states are richly endowed with natural resources. Others, such as Pakistan, can facilitate trade and communications and provide access to markets. Close cooperation can make a difference in the economic uplift of our respective regions and the lives of our peoples. I would like to mention here the pivotal role that Pakistan can play, given its strategic location at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia. Pakistan provides to the Central Asian States the shortest route to sea and an energy corridor. We have completed work on a deep-water port at Gwadar and wish to develop it as a trans-shipment port. At the same time, we have undertaken major Documents 215 infrastructure projects for road and rail transportation networks to complement air links with these three vital regions. We also plan to up-grade the existing road link with Western China. We have a vision to transform Pakistan into a hub of economic activity and communication linking the neighbouring regions.

Mr. Chairman, in the recent past, we have seen the catastrophic consequences of natural disasters like the devastating earthquake in Pakistan and the Tsunami which have taken a massive toll of human lives and resulted in widespread destruction. We are grateful for the generous support we received from the international community. This prompts me to suggest disaster management as an area for interaction among CICA member states. CICA membership represents the diversity and richness of Asia that also faces a range of daunting challenges. We are optimistic about Asia’s future as we enter the twenty first century. However, much will depend on our success in building confidence and trust for cooperative endeavours to ensure peace and prosperity in our regions and our continent. Pakistan is ready to play its part for the realization of this vision that has motivated the CICA process.

I thank you Mr. Chairman!

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