The International Contact Group (ICG) met in Jeddah to discuss the political, security, and economic situation in Afghanistan. The meeting was hosted by the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and co-chaired by Ambassador Sabine Sparwasser, German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Mr. Hekmat Khalil Karzai, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. Over 50 ICG Member States and multilateral organizations participated.
ICG Members affirmed their commitment to strengthen and renew cohesion among all of Afghanistan’s international and regional partners. They welcomed initiatives towards closer coordination among the key international and regional stakeholders to help stabilize and develop Afghanistan, underlining the importance of Afghan leadership and ownership.
ICG Members took stock of security developments and improvements in the performance of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Acknowledging the sacrifices of the Afghan people and its international partners over the past 15 years, they recalled that Afghanistan is a front-line in the regional and global fight against terrorism and violent extremism and that its security and prosperity are critical for ensuring regional stability and prosperity and maintaining international peace. They reaffirmed the enduring commitment of the international community to support Afghanistan in countering terrorism and violent extremism, noting the important role of the Muslim world in this regard.
Recognizing that Islam strictly forbids violence against innocent civilians and the production and trafficking of illicit narcotics and that it teaches peace and reconciliation, ICG Members reaffirmed that sustainable stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved through a political settlement between Afghans. They welcomed the agreement reached with Hezb-e Islami and expressed their support for the National Unity Government as the elected and legitimate government of Afghanistan in its efforts to engage with all armed groups in a political process leading to the renunciation of violence, breaking of all ties to regional and international terrorist networks and respect for the constitution.
ICG Members were briefed on the state of implementation of the agreed reform agenda under the “Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework.” Taking note of measures adopted to fight corruption, they urged the government of Afghanistan to pursue further vigorous policies in this regard. They welcomed overdue progress towards electoral reform and stressed the need to create capacity to implement reforms, especially those aimed at minimizing the risk of fraud, in preparation for free, fair, inclusive, and transparent parliamentary elections.
Looking forward to the Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) in Ashgabat, ICG Members emphasized that regional cooperation holds the key for economic development in Afghanistan. They noted that sincere regional security cooperation which promotes security for all states is a condition for enabling the whole region to develop economically. They noted the growing importance of Afghanistan and its neighbours sharing responsibility for development and stability in the region, including through developing a common counter-terrorism strategy that delivers tangible results.
The Contact Group thanked the OIC for its hospitality. On behalf of the Government of Germany, the Chair thanked ICG Members for their continued dedication to the support of Afghanistan.