Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Foreign Minister Spanta in New York for the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly

spantan-unMinister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta has arrived in New York to attend the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. During the five-day visit, Foreign Minister Spanta will address the General Assembly on the situation in Afghanistan, the region and related global issues.

On the first day of his official visit, Foreign Minister addressed the Ministerial Meeting of the “Groups of Friends of Afghanistan.” The meeting was also attended by US Secretary of State; the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark; the special representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan and the special envoys of numerous countries for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Ministerial “Group of Friends Meeting” focused on the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the recent Afghan elections. Addressing the meeting, Foreign Minister Spanta underscored the importance of the recent elections as “it marked an important step in Afghanistan’s democratization” and that “despite a challenging security situation, millions of Afghans went to the polls to cast their vote and determine their political destiny.”

Additionally, Foreign Minister Spanta highlighted the need for the international community’s long-term commitment in Afghanistan for defeating terrorism and achieving the common goals of peace, justice and prosperity. He also said that the new Afghan government would be committed to meet the needs of the Afghan people with the strong support of the international community.

In his remarks at the meeting, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan, Mr. Kai Eide, briefed participants on the Afghan elections and noted that the announcement of the final results would be based on the joint assessment of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). He also stressed the need for both commissions to conclude their work without any unnecessary delay. banki-moon-and-spanta

Also attending the meeting was Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Zahir Tanin.

In the same day Foreign Minister also met with his Japanese, Indian and Dutch counterparts. In the meetings, Foreign Minister Spanta expressed his appreciation for the support and assistance of the aforementioned countries to Afghanistan’s democratization and stabilization.

The Foreign Ministers of Japan, India and the Netherlands reiterated their governments’ continued commitment to Afghanistan in the coming years.

Later this evening Foreign Minister Spanta will meet with UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

President Karzai’s message on the International Day of Peace

My fellow citizens,
Brothers and Sisters!

September 21 has been declared as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations. People around the world commemorate this day to strengthen the ideals of global peace. We Afghans, more than any other nation in the world, realize the value of peace. In a world where conflicts and unrests claim thousands of lives each day, our nation bears the heaviest burden.

One day ceasefire may be symbolic, but it symbolizes peace as the greatest ever aspiration of the mankind. I order every member of the Afghan Armed Forces not to resort to force on this day, except when attacked. I also call upon the international forces, stationed in Afghanistan, not to resort to force, but for defensive reasons. Taking this opportunity I would also call on those who are fighting against our country, for whatever reason, to cease fire in honor of this day.

I hope that this day becomes the beginning of an enduring peace in our country and the world.
Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Afghanistan to top Security Council agenda this month

Afghanistan will top the United Nations Security Council agenda later this month when the fifteen member Council is expected to debate the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the situation in Afghanistan.

The Council is also expected to receive a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide.

Afghanistan went to the polls on 20 August to choose a president and members of 34 provincial councils. These were the first Afghan-led elections in over thirty years. The Security Council welcomed the “historic” poll and condemned the actions of “extremist groups” who sought to disrupt them. UN envoy, Kai Eide, said holding elections across Afghanistan despite significant logistical and security challenges marked “an achievement for the Afghan people”.

The Security Council is expected to hear Mr Eide’s analysis of the Afghan elections and discuss post-election priorities for the international community’s work with the next Government of Afghanistan. The UN envoy recently called for a ‘massive institution building’ programme that will enable Afghans to take over the reins of development efforts across the country.

Other topics of discussion for the Council are likely to include the Secretary-General’s plans to strengthen the United Nations Assistance Mission and the benchmarks requested by the Council at their last meeting on Afghanistan held in June . These benchmarks will be used to measure progress of the mission’s efforts in Afghanistan and are expected to focus on institution -building, security, economic and social development issues.

By Aleem Siddique, UNAMA