Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Statement by the President 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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H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is inaugurated President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

 

Press release

On Monday 29 September 2014, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president.  His inauguration represented the first democratic transfer of power from one President to the next in the country’s history. In accordance with a political agreement between the two presidential candidates, the runner-up, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was then sworn in as Afghanistan’ chief executive.

In an oath administered by the chief justice, President Ghani pledged to “support the holy religion of Islam, observe the constitution and all laws and remain vigilant for its application, guard the independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and protect the rights and interests of the people of Afghanistan.“  In his first speech as the new President of Afghanistan, he vowed to tackle poverty, corruption and security and work towards development and peace in the country.

Dignitaries including the President of Pakistan, the Vice Presidents of India and France, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, representatives of many countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, various Ambassadors as well as Afghan leaders, past presidents and high authorities including His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan attended the inauguration.  1400 guests, including approximately 200 foreign dignitaries were in attendance.

Outgoing President H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai also attended the inauguration. “I’m very grateful to Allah to give me the power to hand over the power to the new president today,” he said as new President Ghani was sworn in. Two Vice Presidents were also sworn in followed by swearing in of the new chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and his deputies.

The inauguration comes almost six months after the first round of Presidential elections was held on 5 April 2014, and follows an extensive audit of every single vote cast in the second round of Presidential elections held 14 June.  The audit, unprecedented in scope and scale worldwide, was overseen by the United Nations and was preceded by an agreement between both candidates facilitated by the United States Secretary of State, John F. Kerry which called for the candidates to form a national unity government.

“Millions of Afghans voted, millions of those votes were validated through the audit process, a significant proportion of fraud was discovered in the audit and those votes were invalidated, and there is a result, which is a lawful, constitutional result,” the American Ambassador to Afghanistan said in Kabul. Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) presented Dr. Ghani with a certificate indicating that he won 55.27 percent out of 7.12 million total votes cast on Friday, 26 September.

Event Photos

Event Video

Security Council Press Statement on Afghanistan Elections

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Samantha Power ( United States):

The members of the Security Council welcomed the inauguration on 29 September 2014 of Dr. Ashraf Ghani as the new President of Afghanistan, marking the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history, and looked forward to the formation of the Government of National Unity with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as its Chief Executive Officer.

The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of all parties in Afghanistan working within the framework of the Government of National Unity in order to achieve a unified, peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Afghanistan.

The members of the Council reiterated their call for the Government of National Unity to effectively address the issues facing the country, including security, good governance, human rights, in particular for women and children, democracy and the fight against corruption, as well as economic recovery, improving the livelihood of its people and addressing the cross-cutting issue of counter-narcotics.

The members of the Council reiterated their condemnation of violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other violent extremist and terrorist groups aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country, and reasserted that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the Government of Afghanistan and by the international community.