UN Chief Believes that Central and South Asia can Benefit from Opportunities Only if there is Peace in the Region

The statements by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres come as fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban grew more intense since US soldiers began to leave the country. 

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Central and South Asian countries can only fully benefit from potential opportunities if the region as a whole is at peace, adding that the promise of connectivity should serve as a “counterbalance” to the threat of further deterioration in war-torn Afghanistan. 

Antonio Guterres mentioned that Trade, economic growth, and long-term development all rely on connectivity. However, connectivity is more than just a matter of economics. It promotes regional cooperation and pleasant connections between neighbors, both near and far, in a video message he sent on 16 July at the high-level International Conference on Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital. 

Enhanced connectivity that is both environmentally sustainable and based on the rule of law can help Central and South Asia achieve long-term peace, stability, and prosperity. He believes that now, more than ever, this is critical. 

According to him, Central and South Asian countries can only fully profit from prospective benefits if the area as a whole is peaceful. “As a result, the significance of active and communal action in support of Afghanistan’s peace and security has become even more.” 

Mr. Guterres urged countries to cooperate to “ensure that the potential fruits of peace are fully appreciated by everybody so that the promise of connection itself becomes a counterbalance to the threat of further deterioration in Afghanistan.” 

He emphasized that the meeting is a critical step in that direction and that the UN stands ready to support “your efforts to strengthen interconnectedness for the benefit of all”. His remarks came as fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban grew more intense since US soldiers began to leave the country, ending nearly two decades of American engagement in the war-torn country. 

After the 9/11 terror attacks, the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamist organization, was driven from power by US-led forces. The Taliban recently claimed that its fighters have retaken 85 percent of Afghanistan’s land, a statement that the Kabul administration disputes. 

Photo Credit: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/health/un-secretary-general-antonio-guterres-appointed-to-second-term/2278556