Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Clinton pushes for Afghan meeting

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for a high-level conference on Afghanistan at the end of March.
Solutions to the situation in Afghanistan can only be found if the countries involved, including Iran, meet, she said.

Mrs Clinton was speaking at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels, where the alliance agreed to resume high-level contacts with Russia.

She will meet Sergei Lavrov, her Russian counterpart, later on Friday.

Russia welcomed the Nato decision, which comes six months after it froze contacts over the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Afghan challenge

Mrs Clinton stressed Afghanistan, which she called “Nato’s biggest military challenge”, was a concern for both Russia and the West.

“If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbour of Afghanistan,” she said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that he hoped Iran would attend such a meeting, but noted that Tehran had failed to attend recent French talks on Afghanistan.

“I hope Iran will be here this time,” said Mr Kouchner.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says Nato remains central to the trans-Atlantic relationship but it is facing a critical challenge in Afghanistan, where failure could call into question its whole credibility.

‘Fresh start’

On Friday, Mrs Clinton will hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The US is hoping that Russia will help secure new and safer supply lines for Nato troops in Afghanistan. Russia’s help is also crucial in engaging Iran and curbing its nuclear plans.

” Today’s visit may be dominated by… Russia but Afghanistan remains the trickiest subject ”
Mark Mardell, BBC Europe Editor

“We can and must find ways to work constructively with Russia where we share areas of common interest, including helping the people of Afghanistan,” said Mrs Clinton.

But UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC that it was not “business as usual” with Moscow.

He said “the invasion of Georgia and continuing infringement of its sovereignty” could not be “swept under the carpet”.

Earlier, Russia’s envoy to Nato defended the war against Georgia and said any new relationship with Nato would be on Moscow’s own terms.

Some Nato members, like Germany and France, had long been pressing for the resumption of ties with Russia, arguing that their suspension has been counter-productive.

Source:BBC

Afghanistan, U.S.A and UNIFEM co-host panel discussion about Afghan women

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN, in collaboration with UNIFEM and the Mission of the United States, today hosted a panel discussion on the status of women in Afghanistan under the title “Eight Years On: What Hope for Afghan Women?”.

Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, and Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States, both spoke and reaffirmed the cooperation between the two countries and their mutual dedication to guaranteeing Afghan women their full equal rights. In addition, three exceptional women from Afghanistan attended the panel to present their views and to represent the voices and experiences of women in Afghanistan. Najia Zewari works with UNIFEM in Afghanistan as Senior National Program Officer. Wazhma Frogh is a 2009 recipient of the State Department’s Women of Courage award for her dedication to advancing women’s rights.  Suraya Pakzad  is the founder of Voice of Women Organization, recipient of the 2008 State Department’s Women of Courage award, and recipient of the National Medal of Afghanistan. These three women shared their ideas about the challenges facing Afghan women and the ways to move forward.

Statements by the panelists were followed by a brief interactive question and answer session with the audience. The event was very well-attended by representatives from many nations, including representatives from all over the world who were at the United Nations to attend the 2009 Commission on the Status of Women. Among those attending was Canada’s Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

The Gaza Crisis of 2009 Emergency Meeting of the UN Security Council

The Security Council met on January 8 at 8:00 p.m. at the United Nations Security Council Chamber to follow up the discussion on the situation in Gaza by adopting a resolution that would call for an immediate cease fire.

The resolution 1860 was originally tabled by the United Kingdom and was a compromise to the draft text that Libya wanted to propose for adoption before the Council. After series of negotiations during the past three days the Council agreed on the British proposal that was submitted to the Council for vote. 1860 was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, 0 against and 1 abstentions (USA).