Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Council on Foreign Relations Luncheon

Afghanistan Mission New York– On June 16 the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosted a luncheon for the Council on Foreign Relations which focused on the current situation in Afghanistan, the challenges facing the international community there, and the future of the Afghan-US relationship. The lunch was a small gathering of business and industry leaders with a strong interest in international relations.

Ambassador Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, also attended. After brief introductory remarks by Ambassador Haass, Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, offered remarks and then responded to questions from the audience.

President Karzai Left for Russia for SCO Summit

H.E. Hamid Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, gave a speech at the 9th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 15th, 2009.
President Karzai talked about some of the major progress in Afghanistan during the past seven years. Some of these developments include having a government based on a modern constitution and democratic institutions, increasing number of children enrolled in schools, participation of the people in the political and social life of country, better health services, agricultural and rural development programs, higher GDP and construction of thousands of kilometres of main and secondary roads.
He mentioned the urgency of concentrating on the insurgency in Afghanistan that is also negatively affecting Pakistan. According to president Karzai, all countries of the region must join together in combating terrorism. Countries of this region face a common problem of international terrorism from Al-Qaida, regional terrorist groups, Chechen Terrorists, terrorists linked to Tahir Yuldash and other terrorist networks. This, according to president Karzai, calls for the presence of the international community in Afghanistan to strengthen global security.
Another major issue in Afghanistan is opium and heroin trafficking. According to president Karzai, 22 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan are drug free as of 2008, whereas this number was as low as 5 provinces in 2005. He requested stricter regulations from countries producing chemicals that are used in heroin factories.

UN envoy calls for ensuring credible Afghan polls

UNITED NATIONS: The top U.N. official in Afghanistan has stressed the need to ensure that the elections slated for August are credible and that their results are accepted by all, noting that the candidates can contribute to this by campaigning with “dignity and fairness.” Kai Eide, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, made the appeal Monday on the eve of the start of campaigning for the presidential and provincial council elections.

“It is the shared responsibility of all candidates to ensure that these elections strengthen Afghanistan’s democratic institutions and people’s confidence in the democratic process,” he said in a statement issued in Kabul. He also stressed that “intimidation, inflammatory language and violence of any sort have no place in this election campaign.” The country’s Independent Electoral Commission has set 20 August as the date for the presidential elections.

The top UN envoy also encouraged all Afghans to take part in the polls, stating that “the strength and legitimacy of a future government and provincial authorities depends on the active participation of the people in these elections. “I therefore appeal to all voters to follow the election campaign closely and to cast their votes on Election Day,” he stated. Noting that the elections will be administered by Afghan authorities, Eide said the UN and the international community at large will follow the election process closely and give its full support to an election process that is fair and credible.

Eide, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met Sunday in separate meetings with presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to discuss the election process. He presented them with a set of “Essential Guidelines for Conduct during the Election Process,” which have been issued by the Special Representative and endorsed by the international community. They have also been presented to President Hamid Karzai.

The guidelines aim “to ensure a fair and credible election campaign in which there is a level playing field. “The aim should be to avoid illegal interference into the election process and the impartiality of government institutions, election officials as well as representatives of the international community. The guidelines are also intended to ensure fairness in the media coverage of the campaign,” according to a statement issued by UNAMA.