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U.S. Envoy: New Silk Road Would Bring Prosperity

The old Afghan city of Bamiyan northwest of Kabul was on the old Silk Road, linking China to Central Asia and beyond.
The old Afghan city of Bamiyan northwest of Kabul was on the old Silk Road, linking China to Central Asia and beyond.
DUSHANBE -- The U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan says a bid to revive the ancient Silk Road across Central Asia should bring prosperity to the region, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Marc Grossman made the comments in Dushanbe on October 7 after meeting with President Emomali Rahmon to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Grossman claimed that Rahmon expressed support for the proposed revival of the ancient Silk Road, saying the project should be drafted and implemented fast.

"This vision of the new Silk Road is a way to bring economic development and prosperity to the very important region from Central Asia to New Delhi," Grossman said. "As the President [Rahmon] just put it to me, it is the way to connect Central Asia to South Asia."

Grossman also indicated that he and Rahmon discussed upcoming international conferences on Afghanistan and its neighbors to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on November 2 and in Bonn, Germany, on December 5.

"The idea in Istanbul is for the neighbors and near-neighbors of Afghanistan to show their support for the future of a secure and stable and prosperous Afghanistan inside of a secure, stable and prosperous region," he said.

"And the idea of the conference in Bonn, which will be chaired by the government of Afghanistan and hosted by the government of Germany, is to welcome the statement from Istanbul and very importantly to move forward with the vision of a new Silk Road."

The Silk Road was once at the heart of lucrative trade routes between Asia and the West, with merchants carrying goods ranging from textiles to spices.

About 25 countries met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month to discuss the idea of reviving the Silk Road by developing closer economic ties between Afghanistan and its neighbors.

Asked on October 7 about the situation in Afghanistan after the assassination of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, Grossman said "the death of Professor Rabbani is a message that we have to continue this process of peace."
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Comment Sorting
by: William from: Bethesda, Maryland
October 07, 2011 17:19
It is really pleasing to be able to observe the transition is really underway, not only in Afghanistan, but also with its neighbors, especially Tajikistan.

Recalling my travels in the incredibly high mountainous areas in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, turning the vision of the new Silk Road into reality requires involving the residents in efforts to identify what is needed to bring economic development and prosperity to the region. They can point out where infrastructure projects can facilitate cross-border trade and commerce between neighbor and clans.

The international community would be much better spending on reconciliation that can bring stabilization THAN on military hardware and foreign troops.

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington, DC
October 08, 2011 05:20
Grossman and President Rahmon refer to only one leg of the New Silk Roads project that is the North-South route. Idea of New Silk Roads is far too broad abd bright, an idea of 7000 plus road and railwork and will be materalized in time. The most important aspect of this project is that no one seems to be opposing it, because it means trade and transit. Minor concerns are very likely to be worked out in time. I believe that India, China and India and Pakistan will also be in consensus about the transit rights for imports and exports. The processes may not be so smooth all the way, but the end result would be to the benefit of every one. We must not forget that the New Silk Road projects are not merely Euro - Asia centered, but several other Silk routes on the sidelines are will also be a part. Politics of transit routes is likely to play a major part and at times could be complex, but that would also be the part of the process. The project is more than hopeful. I am glad to be the part of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, which has been seriously supporting this project at high policy level under the Greater Central Asia Partnership doctrine, which almost all actors now accept, albeit in their own subtle ways.

by: cubicle from: canada
October 10, 2011 03:20
Not to sound to pessimistic...but...the silk road will probably be named the illicit drug trafficking road if it is ever constructed (re-constructed).