Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ambassador Tanin Welcomes East West Institute Report, “Afghanistan Reconnected” at the United Nations

On 17 October at the United Nations, the East West Institute (EWI) presented key recommendations from its latest report,  “Afghanistan Reconnected: Regional Economic Security Beyond 2014,” which highlights the potential for economic growth and stability in Central Asia.  The event was supported by the Permanent Missions of Germany and the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations.  Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of several of Afghanistan’s neighbor countries, including China, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey, Tajikistan and other government officials participated in the event, as well as United Nations officials, civil society representatives, and experts.

IMG_2722Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, delivered the welcome address. He highlighted the importance of EWI’s Abu Dhabi Process report and its aim to identify and promote opportunities for economic growth in Afghanistan and the region.  The initiative “could not have come at a more timely moment,” the Ambassador remarked.  “Just a few weeks ago, a new President was inaugurated in what was the country’s first democratic transition of power from one President to the next.”  The new national unity government, led by newly elected President Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai,  is focused on securing long-term peace, security and economic development in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Tanin emphasized the importance of regional cooperation to stability in Afghanistan. “Our economic cooperation and our economic interconnectivity provide us with a solid basis for strengthened peace, security and stability both in Afghanistan and in the region, which in turn will a create a safe environment for investment and build greater confidence between countries,” he said. “This mutually enforcing relationship applies not only to Afghanistan but also to region as a whole.”

Following Ambassador Tanin’s remarks, other distinguished government representatives, civil society members and business leaders participated in panel format to frame the economic and political context following the recent Presidential elections and to discuss opportunities for economic growth in Afghanistan.

 

Renowned Intellectual Noam Chomsky Speaks on Palestinian Rights at the United Nations

On 14 October, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People invited Professor Noam Chomsky, leading American philosopher and political activist, to deliver a lecture at the United Nations as part of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. H.E. Ambassador Fode Seck of Senegal, Chair of the Committee for the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, opened the meeting and then gave the floor to Amy Goodman of the independent news program Democracy Now.  Ms. Goodman moderated the audience question and answer session that followed and introduced the Professor.  Dr. Chomsky focused his remarks on the Palestinian struggle for statehood and the related responses of the international community.

 

Speaking specifically on the role of the United Nations, Dr. Chomsky suggested that the organisation could recognize the State of Palestine, noting that 138 Member States did so in the General Assembly in November 2012 and that members of the Swedish and British parliaments recently voted in favour of doing the same.

 

Taking the floor in the discussion that followed, H.E. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, noted that the Palestinian People’s determination to continue the struggle. “Our people are dead determined that we do not want to stay in Bantustans in apartheid-style,” he said.

 

Before the meeting, Dr. Chomsky participated in a special briefing before the press. H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered the opening statement at the briefing.  “Professor Chomsky is undoubtedly one of the most prominent critical thinkers of our time,” Ambassador Tanin said in his introductory remarks. “His extensive study and work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past 40 years could not be more relevant and pertinent than at this particular juncture.” A question and answer session followed the briefing, during which a number of journalists raised questions answered by Professor Chomsky.

 

 

Statement by the President of the United States on the Signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement in Afghanistan

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 30, 2014

 

Statement by the President on the Signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO Status of Forces Agreement in Afghanistan

Today we mark an historic day in the U.S.-Afghan partnership that will help advance our shared interests and the long-term security of Afghanistan. After nearly two years of hard work by negotiating teams on both sides, earlier today in Kabul the United States and the new Afghan Government of National Unity signed a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). This agreement represents an invitation from the Afghan Government to strengthen the relationship we have built over the past 13 years and provides our military service members the necessary legal framework to carry out two critical missions after 2014: targeting the remnants of Al Qaeda and training, advising, and assisting Afghan National Security Forces. The signing of the BSA also reflects the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement our two governments signed in May 2012.

Today, Afghan and NATO officials also signed the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, giving forces from Allied and partner countries the legal protections necessary to carry out the NATO Resolute Support mission when ISAF comes to an end later this year.

These agreements follow an historic Afghan election in which the Afghan people exercised their right to vote and ushered in the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in their nation’s history. The BSA reflects our continued commitment to support the new Afghan Unity Government, and we look forward to working with this new government to cement an enduring partnership that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability, unity, and prosperity, and that contributes to our shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates.

 

This day was only possible because of the extraordinary service of our men and woman in uniform who continue to sacrifice  so much in Afghanistan on behalf of our security and the Afghan people. The American people are eternally grateful for their efforts.

 

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