Thursday, October 23, 2014

Moscow Special Conference on Afghanistan

The participants in the Conference welcomed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiative to organize this forum, expressed their satisfaction with results and noted that the outcome was in line with the efforts of the international community, namely the United Nations, North-Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union, Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Organization of Islamic Conference and Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, other international and regional organizations and individual states to counteract threats of terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crimes.

The participants also

Recognized the interconnected nature of the challenges in Afghanistan and the region and underscored the importance of sustained international efforts to achieve a stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan and stressed that such assistance should be comprehensive under the leadership of Afghanistan and the central role of the UN in coordinating international assistance and based on strict adherence of the UN Charter;

Emphasized the need for sustained international support to strengthen Afghan security institutions to effectively combat the scourge of terrorism and production and trafficking of narcotics;

Acknowledged the important role of the International Security Assistance Force and coalition forces to help the Government of Afghanistan provide security to Afghanistan and, in that regard, welcomed the measures adopted by international forces, in consultation with the Government of Afghanistan to ensure closer coordination of operations with Afghan authorities, which inter alia is of special significance for increasing effectiveness of counteracting illegal production and drug trafficking;

Acknowledged the progress of the Afghan Government in reducing the cultivation of poppy, despite limited resources at its disposal, and stressed the need for enhanced regional and international efforts to combat narcotics effectively and resolutely, including provision of alternative means of livelihood for farmers through development of regional markets and transit arrangements, international support for law enforcement and criminal justice agencies of Afghanistan, elimination of drug-laboratories, strengthening anti-narcotics control to curb the flow of precursors and reducing demand and consumption;

Stressed the importance of concerted and combined efforts in the region to counter terrorism, illicit narcotics and organized crime, in particular coordination and cooperation of Afghanistan and its neighbours.

Were encouraged by growing dialogue between the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan aimed at strengthening of mutual trust, as well as by the Joint Declaration on Directions of Bilateral Cooperation, signed on January 6, 2009 in Kabul, and at finding effective means to combat the menace of terrorism, including denying sanctuaries and dismantling the extremist and terrorist network and ideological centers;

Expressed conviction that the successful combat against terrorism, production and trafficking of narcotics and organized crime in Afghanistan and the region requires a due combination of enforcement and administrative methods, accompanied by targeted social and economic programs;

Underlined the need for sustained joint efforts to train Afghan experts in the field of countering drug trafficking, customs service and police;

Called for a full operationalization of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) as an important tool in combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors;

Welcomed the initiative of G8 to facilitate development projects aimed at social and economic development in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the context of cooperation with all neighboring States, as well as the enhancement of counter-narcotics’ regional dimension by reaching out, at the next G8 meeting on June 26 and 27, 2009 in Trieste, to the interested Countries and relevant Organizations; and in the same vein, commended the Ankara Trilateral Summit Process;

Supported transregional projects, aimed at comprehensive regional development, in particular construction of a united infrastructure network and energy corridor, transportation and transit, with consideration of activities of relevant regional organizations.

Noted that the SCO was one of the appropriate fora for a wide dialogue with participation of partners on the Afghanistan-related issues in the context of joint efforts of the international community and Afghanistan and for practical interaction between Afghanistan and its neighboring states in combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime;

Supported the need for close cooperation and coordination among international and regional organizations under UN coordination, in particular through United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, in joint response to those threats and challenges, and in this regard welcomed adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1868 on March 23, 2009;

Considered the view contained in the Statement and Plan of Action of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on combating terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime and expressed the intent to explore the possibility of aiding their implementation.
1. Foreign Minister Spanta addresses Special SCO Meeting on Afghanistan

2. Declaration of the special Conference on Afghanistan convened under the
auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, 27 March 2009

Afghanistan Supreme Court Ruling

Unofficial Translation of the Supreme Court Letter Addressed to the Office of Administrative Affairs and the Council of Ministers Secretariat

In response to your official letter No. 25 dated 2/1/1388, to implement the directive of H.E. the President, and following a comprehensive round of discussions on the provisions of the above-mentioned letter at the emergency meeting held on 8/1/1388, the Supreme Court of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan declares its legal opinion as follows:
1. As one of the three independent branches of the government, the Supreme Court of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan deems the postponement of the presidential elections against the provisions of the article No. 61 of the Constitution.
2. The Supreme Court acknowledges the financial, security and logistical challenges faced by the Independent Elections Commission.
3. The Supreme Court is aware of and understands the viewpoints of some of intellectuals and presidential candidates who believe that the postponement of the elections is in the interest of Afghans as it paves the way for a fair, democratic, legitimate, and general elections process.
Consequently, analyzing the question in line with the letter and spirit of the article No. 61, and based on national interests of Afghanistan, the realties on the ground, and in light of the legal opinions supreme court expresses its view as follows:
Article No. 61 of the Constitution clearly states that the presidential term shall expire on 1st of Jawza of the fifth year after elections, but at the same time the Constitution links this paragraph to the subsequent paragraphs of the article No. 61 outlining as follows: “Elections for the new President shall be held within thirty to sixty days prior to the end of the presidential term.”
As observed, based on the logic and spirit of law and the formulation of the phrases, these two paragraphs complement each other. It means that the presidential term expires following the completion of the elections process within 30-60 days before 1ST of Jawza of the fifth year, clearly indicating that the presidential elections must have been held and a new President must have been chosen before the expiration of the presidential term.
Since the current circumstances are opposite to what is said in Article No. 61, and by taking into consideration of the national interests of the country, the only scientific and logical solution is the continuation of the term of the President and Vice-Presidents. For, the postponement of the elections means the postponement of all the provisions of the Article No. 61 of the Constitution. Since the paragraphs of the Article No. 61 complement one another, it cannot be allowed for only one of them to be postponed.
In addition to its consistency with the provisions of the Constitution and its spirit and logic, and its consistency with the Feq principles, this analysis can ensure national consensus and stability in the country.

Therefore, the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan:
• Considering the provisions and spirit of the Constitution
• Acknowledging the challenges faced by the Independent Elections Commission
• Insuring stability in the country and considering the national interest of the country
• And considering the aspirations of the noble people of Afghanistan for free, legitimate, fair, general and democratic elections
believes that the continuation of the term of the President and Vice-Presidents is in the interest of the Afghan people and state and it is also consistent with the spirit and interpretation of the Constitution; and the Supreme Court declares its positive view in favor of the continuation of the President’s term until the next president is inaugurated.

US welcomes Afghan extension of Karzai’s term

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Monday welcomed an Afghan Supreme Court ruling that President Hamid Karzai should stay in power beyond the constitutional end of his term in May and until elections in August.

“The United States strongly supports and welcomes this ruling,” said Gordon Duguid, a State Department spokesman, following Sunday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that said it acted in the interests of national stability.

“We believe that continuity of government in the critical period before elections is vital and contributes to creating stability,” Duguid said in a statement.

The court’s decision ended weeks of uncertainty about a potential power vacuum caused by the constitution’ s stipulation that the presidential term ends May 21, although elections were postponed until August 20.

But it is likely to meet with objections from Karzai’s political opponents who want him to end the term as scheduled and a caretaker appointed until the vote, saying his chances at the polls would be boosted if he is in power.

Duguid added: “We urge all Afghans to support this ruling by the Supreme Court and to focus on the elections to be held on August 22, rather than continuing to question the status of their government.

“The United States calls on the government of Afghanistan, joined by its international partners, to make every effort to ensure that the conditions are created for genuinely free and fair elections that will reflect the will of the Afghan people,” he said.

“For its part, the United States neither supports nor opposes any legitimate candidate and will concentrate its efforts on helping to create a level playing field for all candidates,” Duguid added.