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Uzbekistan Delegation Meeting with Taliban Promotes Infrastructure and Aid

A delegation from Uzbekistan’s government, led by Investment and Foreign Trade Minister Sardor Umurzakov, met with the Afghan delegation led by Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister of the Taliban’s provisional government in Termez (in the southern portion of Uzbekistan) on Oct. 16, for a one-day conference.

In a statement from Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yusup Kabulzhanov told TASS on Oct. 16: “‘At the meetings, representatives of a number of ministries and agencies discussed trade and economic cooperation, border security, cooperation in the fields of energy, international haulage and transit.’

“The talks are reported to have focused on the implementation of infrastructure projects, which include the construction of the Surkhan-Puli-Khumri transmission line and the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway,” TASS reported.

The Afghani English-language online daily 8AM also reported that “In the meeting, the two sides have appointed a joint technical team to provide instructions for the implementation of projects. After 10 days, the team is supposed to complete strategy and instructions on how to implement these projects and present them to the officials of both sides.”

Termez is becoming a hub for humanitarian aid. The UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) said this week that three consignments of humanitarian aid would be airlifted to Termez in the near future before entering Afghanistan by truck.

Radio Free Europe reported that last month, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev told the UN General Assembly that his country has resumed the supply of oil and electricity to Afghanistan. “It is impossible to isolate Afghanistan and leave it within the range of its problems,” RFE quoted him as saying.

In related news, AFP reported that acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met in Ankara on Oct. 14 with Turkey Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu: “Cavusoglu called on governments to unfreeze Afghanistan’s foreign accounts to ease the growing humanitarian crisis but said Turkey was not yet ready to recognize the group.”


Hungary To Become Regional Logistics Hub, as Rail Project Proceeds

At a stone-laying ceremony in Kiskunhalas for the Hungarian section of the modernization of Budapest-Belgrade railway on Oct. 15, the Hungary Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said: “Railways will clearly be in the focus of Hungary’s transport development efforts in the next 10-15 years, with the upgrade and capacity expansion of the Budapest-Belgrade line as one of the priority investments.” Palkovics attended the ceremony, as did Serbia’s Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirovic, and Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Qi Dayu, and via video, Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Palkovics elaborated that with the renovation of the Budapest-Belgrade railway, Hungary will offer the fastest transport route for Chinese goods between Central and Southeast Europe, extending from Budapest to Belgrade, into Skopje, North Macedonia, and extending to Athens. He also thanked the Chinese people for their help in supplying medical and other equipment to Hungary, as it was hit by COVID-19.

Xinhua reported today: “For his part, Ning said that the railway project will promote the connectivity between Hungary and Serbia and other European countries, help the two countries build a regional transport and logistics hub, give a strong boost to European infrastructure and economic growth along the route, and enhance the well-being of the European people.

“The project is also of great significance for the connection of the Belt and Road Initiative to European development strategies and the deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Europe, Ning added. ‘It could be said that the railway is beneficial to our three countries, to Central and Eastern European countries, and to the entire Europe,’ he said.”

Kiskunhalas, Hungary is about 20 miles north of the Serbian border, and is 122 miles from Belgrade. During July 2021, Hungary celebrated the 175th anniversary of the Hungarian Railways. A short clip of the ceremony was posted by “Built by China”


Sergei Glazyev: The Future Is Being Created Through Eurasian Development

Oct. 6 (EIRNS)—Interviewed by an editor of the Russian newspaper Zavtra on August 18, Russian economist Sergei Glazyev spoke optimistically of the entirely new world economic order taking shape around the growing economic integration between the countries of Eurasia, in contrast with the disintegrating Western speculative financial system, whose imposition of “pure usury” is creating “genocide” in countries like Ukraine. The October 2 publication in full of Glazyev’s interview on Spain’s El espía digital website, reflects the growing recognition in Western nations that the high-tech cooperative development model evolving in Eurasia offers some crucial lessons about what works.

Glazyev is no mere commentator, but a man who understands that “ideas rule the world.”  He is the Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics for the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the executive body for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the common market established by Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, which is coordinating projects with the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative. He is also very familiar with that “titan of thought,” American statesman Lyndon LaRouche, and his “realistic school of economic thought,” as Glazyev describes him, having spoken many times with LaRouche and his wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche over the past two decades, both privately and publicly.

The EAEU has completed the first phase of forming a common market, and is now working on how to “saturate” that market with “new infrastructure, information, and cultural ties, and joint economic projects” in order to bring about “accelerated development,” Glazyev reported.

Unlike the previous world order, which “had an imperial character, in which the principal centers of development, the US and the USSR, dictated their will upon the other countries which fell in their area of influence … the new world economic order is not monocentric,” he emphasized. “In our new world economic order, there is mutual respect for the sovereignty of different countries, both large and small; cultural diversity is preserved; interference in internal affairs is not attempted; and cooperation is based not on the zero-sum principle within the framework of liberal globalization, but rather on the search for a combination of competitive advantages to achieve a synergistic effect, in order to raise the social well-being of all the countries which participate in integration processes….

“This is what unites our approach with the Chinese approach in the framework of building a complete new world economic order.”

Glazyev stresses the great importance of the Chinese model of development, which in the last 30 years achieved three times greater growth than the United States, by combining strategic planning by the State with markets and private entrepreneurship. Under this dirigist model, if a private corporation tries to destabilize or manipulate the market to gain super-benefits, the State can shut it down. This system has proven to be “extremely effective,” and many countries are introducing such measures, following China’s path, which is widely known through the Belt and Road Initiative, he argued.

This, he emphasizes, is how a new world economic order is emerging, accelerating economic development, not only in Asia, but in other continents, such as Africa. Yes, we have problems and differences, he said, but “the logic of history, … the logic of development, the objective interests of the countries participating in the transition to a new technological world economic order allows us, despite all the obstacles, achieve positive results in order to advance, step by step.” [All quotes are translated from the Spanish translation of the original Russian.]


Iran-Kyrgyzstan Rail Corridor Discussed

Sept. 25 (EIRNS)–During a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week in New York, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Kazakbaev congratulated Amir-Abdollahian on his appointment as Iran’s top diplomat, and proposed a direct flight between Bishkek and Tehran. Kazakbaev also expressed willingness to use the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas’s capacity for transit cooperation.

The Kyrgyz Foreign Minister said his country’s internal conditions are better than ever for the presence of Iranian economic activists, calling for the two countries to work together on cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. He also said Kyrgyzstan is ready to cooperate in the construction of a railway corridor between the two countries.

The Iranian government has already proposed some time ago to Central Asians, the value of making effective use of Iranian ports and the development of the Uzbek-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman transport corridor. This could connect to the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway line being built, as well as to the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Iran corridor. A part of this latter project, there are connections for the Afghan cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat with the Iranian port of Chabahar. 


Drumbeat Grows for Release of Afghan Funds As Economy Falters

Drumbeat Grows for Release of Afghan Funds As Economy Falters

As Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment warned on September 13 that the country would plunge into an economic crisis unless frozen international reserves were released by the U.S. Treasury, there is a growing cascade of voices calling on the U.S. to do just that. These private sector representatives charged that the U.S. Treasury’s freezing of reserves is a violation of humanitarian law and reported that since the reserves were frozen, all transactions between Afghan and international banks have been halted.

Unless this situation is reversed, the country won’t avoid a deep recession, the representatives warned, according to TOLO News. “We call on the United States and the world to solve the issue with the frozen assets, because that money belongs to the people of Afghanistan. If you have political issues with the government or some people, you should not take people’s money hostage,” ACCI acting director Yunus Mohmand said. A fellow member of the ACCI, Khan Jan Alokozay, said that most of the factories are facing serious financial shortages and raw materials because they are unable to withdraw money, adding that in the last month over one million laborers have not been paid.

In addition, Afghanistan’s Health Minister, Wahid Majrooh, who had stayed on from the previous government, said that the Afghan health system is teetering on the edge of collapse, “We are losing personnel, we are losing lives, and the morale and momentum we had,” Majrooh said.  “The crisis is very, very extensive.”

Pressure is growing on the U.S.  to release the funds. On September 15th, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijjan said that the U.S. should release those Afghan Government assets which they have been holding in abeyance as the new Afghan government was in the process of formation. Zhao was replying to a question regarding the Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen’s call for release of the funds. “Shaheen is right,” Zhao said. “The assets belong to Afghanistan and should be spent for the Afghan people. The U.S. should not freeze them without justification. The U.S. should face up to the legitimate demand of Afghanistan, abandon pressures and sanctions, and stop creating obstacles to the economy, livelihood and peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.”

One can also expect a clear statement from the upcoming SCO meeting as both Russia and China have indicated that the U.S. which is responsible for the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan have got to take the primary responsibility for resolving the crisis. A first step in that direction would be releasing the funds to the present interim government before it is too late.


Implement LaRouche’s 2010 Rebuilding Program in Haiti Now: The 2021 Earthquake Can Not Be Allowed To Be A Further Descent into Hell!

Had American statesman Lyndon LaRouche’s program to rebuild Haiti been implemented, in response to the devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, which killed between 250,000 and 300,000 people, this impoverished nation would not be suffering the level of death and destruction so far wrought by the August 14 earthquake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale. And the carnage will become much greater as a series of tropical storms hit, which are expected to be rolling in, perhaps one after another. 

As of August 17, reports are that 1,900 people are dead, 10,000 injured, and 37,000 homes have been destroyed. Homes, schools, supermarkets, and roads were leveled in the southern and western parts of the country. People are terrified. They have once again been abandoned by the United States and its international partners, left to perish in extreme poverty, disease, and misery.

Lyndon LaRouche immediately responded to the 2010 earthquake by calling for an emergency reconstruction program for Haiti, to which, he said, the U.S. had a special responsibility. He called on the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to first deploy to rescue and relocate up to 1 million homeless Haitians from Port-au-Prince to higher ground before the rainy season arrived and unleashed a dangerous health and sanitation crisis for these destitute citizens; he then proposed a comprehensive program to focus on building infrastructure—for sanitation, water management, irrigation, earthquake-proof housing, transportation, agriculture, etc.

LaRouche also recommended that the U.S. sign a 25-year treaty with Haiti, “a treaty agreement to reestablish the efficient sovereignty of the nation of Haiti, after the destructive effect of this and preceding difficulties. We make a contract with the government, as a treaty agreement, between the United States and Haiti, to assure the rebuilding of their country, in a form in which it will actually be a functioning country which can survive.” Those proposals are available here.

President Barack Obama rejected LaRouche’s proposals, and instead removed crucial economic and military aid, encouraging what became known as the “Republic of NGOs” — a large unwieldy network of foreign NGOs that had a lot of money to throw around but did nothing of any real substance. 

Years later, in 2017, when China’s Southwest Engineering Municipal Design Research Institute joined with the Haitian firm Bayti Ayiti to propose a $30 billion program to completely rebuild Haiti, with $4.7 billion to rebuild the capital, Port-au-Prince, with sanitation infrastructure, housing, and transportation, the IMF reportedly stepped in—EIR was told at the time—to make sure the proposal went nowhere.

On March 10, 2010, EIR published a 20-page package which detailed the programmatic solutions Haiti required and identified those monetarist political forces committed to keeping in place the Malthusian economic policies that had made Haiti so vulnerable to disaster, and which remain in effect today. That package is available here.


28 Nations Participate in China’s Belt and Road Partnership on COVID Vaccines Cooperation

August 3, 2021 (EIRNS)—On June 23 of this year, at the Asia and Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation, presided over by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, 28 nations joined in launching the China Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Covid-19 Vaccine Cooperation. The statement announcing this initiative stressed that international cooperation and solidarity are key to fighting the pandemic, that “people and their lives” must be put first, and that no one is safe until everyone is safe. It emphasized that vaccines must be equitably distributed and that there must be “open, fair and non-discriminatory international cooperation on vaccines.”

A number of other recommendations for the BRI vaccine cooperation initiative included facilitating joint vaccine research, development and technological exchanges; promoting partnerships between vaccine producers and developing countries for joint vaccine production, to scale up global production; encouraging regional and multilateral development banks to provide more concessional financing to developing countries for their vaccine procurement and production; and “strengthening Belt and Road cooperation on connectivity to ensure cross-border flows of vaccines.”

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday, in less than two months the BRI vaccine initiative has yielded impressive results, reaching cooperative agreements with several of the initiative’s 28 co-sponsors on a total of 775 million doses of vaccines, including in the form of concentrates, of which 350 million doses have been delivered. In addition, Chinese companies have started joint production with four co-sponsors of this initiative, whose names were not specified, and are discussing joint production “with other interested countries.” In today’s foreign ministry press conference, spokesman Wang Wenbin reported that China has provided vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccines to 40 countries, also reporting that China is collaborating with other developing nations to mass produce the vaccine. It was also announced today that the World Health Organization has granted emergency use authorization to China’s Sinovac vaccine. (The full initiative statement is detailed here.)

The 28 countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.


Lavrov: Developing Central Asia, Afghanistan Opens “New Vistas” for Eurasian Continent; U.S. Participation Needed

July 20, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov captured the potential world-transforming change which can be brought about, if the nations of the world join together in developing Afghanistan and the Central Asian nations, when he addressed the plenary session of the conference on “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities” in Uzbekistan on July 16.

“The representative nature of this event is vivid proof of the increasing demand for a unification agenda in Eurasia and the rest of the world,” he began, in thanking Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev for organizing the conference. He situated the building of connectivity between Central and South Asia within the greater project of developing the giant continent of Eurasia as one “seamless, united logistical” economic hub of transportation, trade, power, development.

“Russia has been consistently in favor of forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership, a congregative integration contour in the entire space from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, one that is maximally free for the movement of goods, capital, the workforce and services, and open, without exception, to all the countries of our common continent, Eurasia, and the integration unions created there, including the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” all organizations which have displayed an interest in this initiative, Lavrov explained.

“Implementing this long-term project will make it possible not only to accelerate the economic development of all participants but also to create a reliable material foundation of common security, stability and prosperity.”

He cited, in particular, the efforts which seek to integrate the EAEU plans and the Belt and Road project and “the North-South International Transport Corridor linking Europe, and the South Caucasus and Central Asia with the Indian Ocean coast, as well as to the Europe-West China transcontinental transport route.”

“In this broad context, higher connectivity between Central and South Asia is opening new vistas for the development of trade, economic and investment processes on the Eurasian continent….”

This will not happen without a comprehensive settlement of the Afghanistan conflict, he argued; “only direct and inclusive intra-Afghan talks with the support of international partners can lead to a lasting peace.” Lavrov named three “tried and tested mechanisms” as key to mobilizing that support: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization-Afghanistan Contact Group, and the two known as the “Moscow format” and the “extended Troika,” the latter formed by the US, Russia, China, and Pakistan working together.

When a reporter at Lavrov’s discussion with the press in Tashkent asked him if he thought the U.S. had deliberately carried out its withdrawal in such a way as to cause trouble in Russia’s “area of geopolitical interests,” Lavrov refused to take the bait. “I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I heard that perhaps this hasty withdrawal was in pursuit of some kind of geopolitical goals. We should not speculate about it.” Russia is “not interested in chaos” in Afghanistan, and “we will continue working with the Americans in the extended Troika format, as well as with all other countries that can influence the situation in Afghanistan,” he answered.


`The Place Where These Rivals Can Work Together’: Afghanistan

`The Place Where These Rivals Can Work Together’: Afghanistan —

July 18 (EIRNS) – An interesting statement by Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Javid Ahmad Qaem, was quoted in Global Times July 17. “The only place,” the Ambassador said, “where the U.S., China and India could really cooperate, and at least there could be a starting point to cooperate between these rivals, if I can call them that, is Afghanistan.”
            The same Global Times article which quoted Qaem made clear that China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative – the Eurasia-wide infrastructure corridor development plan it initiated in 2013 – as the basis for cooperation in shifting Afghanistan from the theater of endless war and poverty to a nation developing and a contributor to stability. At the July 15-16 conference of 40 nations’ representatives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on “stability and connectivity” in the region following the NATO withdrawals, “China urges Central and South Asian countries to forge a closer regional connectivity partnership through high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Global Times reported, not implying U.S. participation. A White House readout July 18 said only that A high-level US delegation led by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the international conference in Uzbekistan and discussed the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and the US support for the Afghan defense forces.”
            The impression is given by many media accounts (leaving aside those that forecast the Taliban overrunning Kabul this week) that China and Russia are working with the Taliban on new regional security concepts while the United States and India try to meddle. Russia at least is, according to an Asia Times report July 15, preparing to move at the UN for the Taliban to no longer be designated as supporting terrorism, if that movement maintains peaceful relations with the Central Asian Republics and does not support either al-Qaeda or the East Turkistan Independence Movement (ETIM, Uiygur separatist terrorists). The Taliban have proposed friendly relations with China.
            But the Afghan government has also made moves toward economic reconstruction potentials for the region, in anticipation of the NATO troops getting out. In February it agreed with Pakistan and Uzbekistan on a rail corridor from Peshawar, Pakistan to Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan to Tashkent, clearly linking to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and to the main Eurasian Land-Bridge rail corridor. It also discussed with Pakistan a highway in the same corridor but branching to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. And the Ghani government has started a 50 km gravel and asphalt road through the formidable Wakhan Corridor to the 5,000 meter-high Wakhjir Pass; it continued beyond it would be a rugged but short and direct route to China through Xinjiang Province.
            Afghan consultant to Ghani’s office Shokrullah Amiri, writing in Global Times July 18, says that the Afghan and Chinese governments have been consulting since May on the Wakhan  Corridor also becoming part of the Belt and Road Initiative (it was a part of the 12th Century Silk Road). This, said the Asia Times July 15 report, was why the Ghani government began on the road. Amiri has much more to say about the potential development of Afghan minerals and Afghan-China trade as a result.  For more details, go here.


Flurry of Diplomatic Activity Around SCO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Takes Up Belt and Road Projects

July 16 (EIRNS)—There continued to be a flurry of diplomatic activity around the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) ministerial and SCO Afghanistan Contact Group, which met July 13-14 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Before heading to Dushanbe, on July 12-13, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stopped in Ashgabat to meet with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and other officials. China’s Foreign Ministry reported that during the meeting Wang Yi said, “the two countries should sign as soon as possible documents on the alignment of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with Turkmenistan’s  development strategy to revive the Great Silk Road,” and  formulate a five-year plan for all-round cooperation.” This included China’s “cooperation  with Turkmenistan across the whole industrial chain of oil and gas.” On July 15-16, after the SCO conferences, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan travelled to Uzbekistan, to meet with President Shavkat  Mirziyoyev.

The two leaders discussed cooperation in fighting COVID-19. Their “Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Strategic Partnership between The Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” emphasized: “The leaders stressed the importance of regional integration and connectivity as a cornerstone of economic development and progress. In this regard, they welcomed the exchange of high-level visits in the areas of trade, railways, transport and aviation.

“The two leaders reiterated their support for the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway project as an important initiative to create a rail link from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea through Afghanistan and the Pakistani seaports of Karachi, Gwadar and Bin Qasim….

“The two leaders also recognized the immense potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for the benefit of the entire Central Asianregion and beyond entailing greater connectivity and trade linkages through a network of transport, fiber optic cable, energy pipelines, and investment opportunities in its SEZs [Special Economic Zones].”

Over July 15-16 Uzbekistan President Mirziyoyev hosted the “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and Opportunities” with Prime Minister Khan and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, as well as Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov, Wang Yi, and the other participants in the SCO Foreign Ministers’ Council, representatives of the U.S., Israel, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Japan, EU and UN.

Meantime, Afghani researcher Ahmad Bilal Khalil wrote in “Afghanistan the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” in the July 14 issue of The Diplomat that Afghanistan’s development lies with the nations that comprise the SCO, for which he advocated Afghanistan having full membership. Khalil explained, “Afghanistan … has close economic and trade ties with most of the SCO member states…. According to the Afghan Statistical Yearbook, in 2017-18, more than 87% of Afghanistan’s total imports were from SCO countries; and more than 57% of Afghanistan’s total exports were destined to SCO member states.”


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