Sunday, March 29, 2015

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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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.

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