Friday, October 24, 2014

Foreign Minister Rassoul Addresses UN Security Council on Afghanistan

H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Afghanistan, today addressed an open-debate of the UN Security Council on the “Situation in Afghanistan.”

News

The meeting, which convened to consider the recent report of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, was also attended by the Special Representative of the UNSG, Staffan di Mistura.

In his statement, H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul first discussed Afghanistan’s recent parliamentary elections, noted that despite intimidations and threats of attacks, including assassinations by extremists, millions of Afghanistan from all segments of society took part in the elections, reaffirming their “steadfast commitment to democracy and self-determination.” He highlighted the broad participation among the youth and girls. “The unprecedented number of young candidates and voters illustrates the degree to which democracy is taking root in Afghan society.  Further, the significant increase in women’s participation is testament to the further empowerment of women in Afghan political life.”

He said for the coming years Afghanistan would pursue a comprehensive strategy to implement the outcome of the London and Kabul Conferences. He further asserted that Afghanistan would work towards gradual leadership in all areas, including security, development and governance.  On security he said Afghanistan would strive to build the size, capacity and operational capability of its security forces “for taking the lead role in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011, and meeting the security’s security obligations independently by 2014, with international forces offering back-up support.”  He also reiterated Afghanistan appeal for continued international support and assistance in the building of Afghan security forces.

Further, he highlighted the up-coming NATO Summit in Lisbon, at which the Afghan government would come together with partner-countries to “crystallize our joint strategy for transition to Afghan security lead over the coming years.” At the conference Afghanistan would also update its international partners on progress in strengthening Afghan security forces.

He added for transition to succeed, Afghanistan and the international community had to find a solution to the ongoing security problem.  He underscored a comprehensive strategy for improving security, including a “comprehensive and robust out-reach initiative.” He said Afghanistan would pursue the implantation of its reintegration and reconciliation initiative,
to ensure an honorable place in society for members of the armed opposition who are willing to renounce violence, accept our constitution, return to normal life and embrace international human rights.”   He said Afghanistan had established a “High-Peace-Council, to oversee the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation strategy.”

Foreign Minister Rassoul noted that terrorism posed a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and beyond, and expressed Afghanistan concern about the “continued presence of safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region where terrorists receive recruitment, training and logistical support.”

alluded to the situation in Afghanistan, and said the increased awareness of the need to re-engage the Afghan people in the reconstruction and stabilization of their country has helped enable the government of Afghanistan and its international partners to “focus on finding ways to meet the needs and expectations of the Afghan people.”

He however asserted that civilians continued to “pay a staggering price in the ongoing conflict” in the country. He said over six thousand Afghans, including women; children and the elderly were killed and injured in just last year. In that regard, he said the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and their terrorist allies continue to show complete disregard for human life, embracing assassinations and executions in an effort to control the population through terror.

He said the cost of the conflict was not limited to just Afghanistan, but also international partners countries. He highlighted increased terrorist attacks on UN staff and members of humanitarian organizations who work in various fields, including health and education.  In that regard, Ambassador Tanin expressed gratitude to UN staff and other partners “who continue to work under difficult circumstances for the sake of the Afghan people, and in pursuit of international peace and security.”

Moreover, he welcomed the increased measures by former ISAF former commander, General McCrystal, aimed at better protecting the lives of civilians.  He expressed confidence that civilian protection would continue to receive due consideration from ISAF’s new commander, General Patraeus.

He nevertheless noted that civilian casualties remained a concern to Afghanistan, and undermined the people’s confidence in the good-will of the international community.  He emphasized increased efforts at the national level “for building an efficient, effective and responsible army and police force dedicated to the protection of Afghans and maintenance of security and the rule of law.”

Ambassador Tanin also said the safety of the Afghan people should remain a priority, and it was necessary to enhance collaboration for strengthening the trust and confidence of Afghans in future efforts.

Statement

Remarks by H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

At the Security Council Open-Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan,

29 September 2010

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, let me thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, and congratulate the government of Turkey in assuming the Council Presidency for the month of September. I also thank Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his most recent report on Afghanistan, and SRSG Staffan di Mistura for his comprehensive briefing.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting comes at a crucial time in Afghanistan just over three months after the Kabul Conference, and less than two weeks since the holding of our parliamentary elections. I am pleased to be among you today, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan, and shed light on the strategy we will pursue to end violence, and achieve lasting peace and security.

Mr. President,

I want to begin by saying a few words about our recent elections, which gave Afghans another chance to shape their future, and consolidate our young democracy. Millions of Afghans from all segments of society braved intimidations and threats of attacks, including assassinations, to cast their vote.  As such, Afghans reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to democracy and self-determination. The unprecedented number of young candidates and voters illustrates the degree to which democracy is taking root in Afghan society. Further, the significant increase in women’s participation is testament to the further empowerment of women in Afghan political life.

Our elections were a major victory for democracy in Afghanistan. Let me take the opportunity to convey our gratitude to the United Nations and other partners for providing financial and technical support for our elections.

Mr. President,

Just three months ago, Afghanistan and our international partners gathered at the international Kabul Conference to renew our partnership for durable peace, security and stability.  Together, we adopted the “Kabul Process,” which focuses on increased Afghan leadership across the board. We also presented our 23 national priority programs, including the national security policy and our national reconciliation initiative, all of which were endorsed by the international community.

Mr. President,
Going forward, Afghanistan will pursue a comprehensive strategy to implement the outcome of the London and Kabul Conferences. We will work towards gradual leadership in all state of affairs, security, development and governance in particular. Our objective is clear: a gradual transfer of responsibilities towards self-reliance in ensuring social and economic opportunities for all Afghans, and enforcing the rule of law throughout the country. In the area of security, we will work to build the size, capacity and operational capability of Afghanistan’s national security forces.  In doing so, we will meet a vital pre-condition for taking the lead in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011, and for meeting our security obligations independently by 2014, with international forces offering back-up support. In achieving this goal, I want to reiterate the importance of sustained international support for the training, resourcing and equipping of the Afghan national army and police.

Moreover, we have committed to a comprehensive social and economic agenda to improve the lives of all Afghans, and achieve a sustainable Afghan economy. In particular, we are giving special focus to agricultural development, rural rehabilitation, human resource development and economic and infrastructure development to generate employment opportunities and meet the immediate needs of our people. I seize this opportunity to convey Afghanistan’s thanks and appreciation for the international community’s support and assistance. Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that Afghanistan will not be able to realize its development goals without greater responsibility for our finances. Afghans must have a greater role in their own development. We welcome the international community’s decision to channel 50% of donor assistance through our national budget by January 2012.  This will lead to greater transparency and efficiency in utilization of development assistance by donor countries.

Mr. President,

At the same time, we have embarked on a reinvigorated effort to combat corruption, and strengthen governance at all levels. Afghans are well aware of the detrimental effect of this menace on the dignity, image and prosperity of our country. We are fully committed to ridding corruption from our society effectively and resolutely.
Mr. President,

In less than two months from now, Afghanistan and its NATO partners will gather at the NATO Summit in Lisbon to crystallize our joint strategy for transition to Afghan security lead over the coming years.  We will update our international partners on our progress in the building of our security forces, and discuss remaining challenges to that effect.

Mr. President,

For transition to succeed, we first have to find a solution to Afghanistan’s ongoing security problem. Afghanistan has endured violence for more than thirty years.  Almost ten years since the start of our joint efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, security remains a problem. We have prioritized ending violence and providing Afghans with what has eluded them for decades: the chance to live in peace and security. There will be no peace unless military efforts are complemented by a robust and comprehensive out-reach initiative. That is why President Karzai launched a “reintegration and reconciliation initiative to ensure an honorable place in society for members of the armed opposition who are willing to surrender arms, renounce violence, accept our constitution, return to normal life and embrace international human rights. We recently established the “High-Peace-Council,” to oversee the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation. The High Council is now operational and will meet regularly. In addition, we welcome the Security Council’s review and updating of the 1267 consolidated list as important for implementing our peace initiative.  In this regard, we look forward to additional updates, on the basis of additional delisting requests.

Mr. President,

Terrorism poses a grave threat to the security and stability of our region and beyond. In this regard, we remain concerned at the continued presence of safe-haven and sanctuaries in our region where terrorists receive recruitment, training and logistical support.

Mr. President,

It is ever more evident that addressing the challenges facing Afghanistan and our region, including terrorism, extremism, and narcotic drug production and trafficking will not be possible without meaningful cooperation at the regional level. For our part, Afghanistan remains fully committed to a sincere and effective dialogue with Pakistan and other regional countries for security and prosperity in our region.

Just recently, together with the government of Pakistan, we signed the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Trade and Transit Agreement (APPTA), aimed at increasing bilateral trade and generating employment opportunities. Moreover, the signing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipe-line project and the conclusion of the feasibility study for the CASA 1000 project for transfer of energy in the region are milestones for the development and prosperity of our region. We are both confident that these projects will benefit security and stability in Afghanistan and the region and strengthen mutual trust and confidence.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is confident that by pursuing our comprehensive national agenda for security, development and governance, and by implementing our reintegration and reconciliation initiative, we will succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan and preventing the enemies of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan from regaining control of our country.

Mr. President,
Nine and a half years since the beginning of our partnership with the international community to defeat terrorism and achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, we have come a long way. We attribute our achievements to the sacrifices of the Afghan people and the troops of our partner countries. A transition to increased Afghan responsibility and ownership will be our main priority over the coming years.  We expect our international partners to remain by us with fortitude and commitment to ensure the successful conclusion of that transition.

Thank You Mr. President.

37 Days Prior to Election Day: Statement on the Election Process

STATEMENT ON THE ELECTION PROCESS BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, STAFFAN DE MISTURA

12 August 2010 – The Wolesi Jirga elections are now only a little over one month away – and we can see the country’s attention focusing on this event. Campaigning of the significantly large number of candidates has become more active and I am particularly encouraged by the active campaigns of women candidates. We maintain complete neutrality in this process, but we are committed to helping the Afghans have the best possible elections, which they deserve.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) is continuing to operate according to its electoral timetable. The last of the sensitive materials (ballot papers) arrived in the country last week. Operationally and administratively the IEC is on track. United Nations support to the elections has been as we promised – effective but with a light footprint in deference to the growing capacity of Afghanistan’s electoral authorities.

I want to highlight some challenges ahead – the primary challenge being elections security which could be the real spoiler of the whole process. We have already seen widespread intimidation with regard to female candidates, the killing of three candidates and other violence directed against a number of other candidates. This is unacceptable and we call upon the Afghan security forces to be on heightened vigilance over the coming two months.

We all know that security challenges will be a significant obstacle and we must ensure that poor security in parts of the country is not used to manipulate the votes of the people.

I note that the IEC has received the assessment from the security institutions on the polling centre locations and that they are now conducting their own verification to ensure the final list is a realistic one. This will be completed on 15 August. We are in agreement with the IEC that it is of paramount importance, including for operational reasons, and for the credibility of the elections that they be in a position to make this public by 18 August. Making this list public one month in advance of the elections is essential for the transparency of the electoral process. It will also show a marked difference and progress compared with the same stage of last year’s Presidential elections.

I am also pleased to learn that the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has undertaken to recruit, train and deploy additional female body searchers to ensure the security of female polling stations. It is imperative now that no further time is lost in this regard.

I want to encourage election observation missions – both international and national. I also encourage candidates to register their own candidate and party agents – these agents can make a significant impact in observing the whole election process.

The Electoral Complaints Commission has suggested that the voter registration exercise might be extended. The IEC, however, has taken the position not to extend this process any further. We fully support the decision of the IEC and its continuing efforts to take difficult decisions aimed at mitigating fraud and other electoral irregularities.

My final message is to the voters themselves. These elections are your elections. Follow all the candidates’ campaigns and their political messages to ensure that you can make an informed vote on 18 September. Your vote is the final decision maker in this important process in determining your country’s future.

Strategic Communication and Spokespersons Unit

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

Kabul, Afghanistan

Tel: +93 (0) 79 000 6121; +39 083 124 6121; +1 212 963 2668 ext 6121

http://unama.unmissions.org

Afghanistan Convenes International Conference on Afghanistan

The first-ever international conference on Afghanistan in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has successfully concluded

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The first ever international conference on Afghanistan in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has successfully concluded. The historic event was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan and brought together representatives of seventy countries, international and regional organizations, and other institutions. The international Kabul conference marks the beginning of the “Kabul process,” and an increased commitment to a secure, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan.

Among the many senior officials participating at the conference included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Delegations included more than 40 Foreign Ministers, 10 Deputy Foreign Ministers; as well as the heads of relevant international and regional bodies, including North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU), and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Delivering the keynote address at the conference, H.E. President Karzai noted that Afghanistan and the international community shared a common enemy, one which “violates every Islamic and international norm,” and is aimed at breaking the “unity of effort,” as regards Afghanistan’s partnership with the international community.

He also stressed transition to increased “Afghan leadership and ownership” as essential for sustainability of progress.”

While expressing appreciation for international support and assistance, President Karzai urged the international community to focus less on short-term projects, and instead concentrate efforts on specific national programs and projects to “transform the lives of our peoples, reinforce the social compact between state and citizens, and create mechanisms for mutual accountability between the state and international partners.”

He also noted with satisfaction the commitment of Afghanistan’s partners, the United States in particular, to “channel 50% of their assistance through the Afghan national budget in the next two years.”

On security, President Karzai, highlighted the progress made by the Afghan national army and police; and national directorate for security, and reaffirmed his determination for achieving self-reliant Afghan security forces. He underscored in that regard, Afghanistan’s commitment to ensuring responsibility of Afghan security “for all military and law enforcement operations throughout our country by 2014.”

On reconciliation, he asserted that the recent peace-jirga expressed “a national consensus for peace, and framed the terms on which we must reach out to those of our armed opponents who will be willing to accept our constitution and renounce ties to Al-Qaeda’s network of terror.” In that regard, he called the international community to support Afghanistan’s peace initiatives.

In her address, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed the continuing support of the United States of America to Afghanistan. “We have no intention of abandoning our long-term mission of achieving a stable, secure and peaceful Afghanistan,” said Secretary Clinton.

On his part, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon noted that Afghanistan commended the national action plans, presented by Afghanistan, which “with international support and Afghan resolve, can bring tangible change into the lives of ordinary Afghans: improved security, better standards of living, and an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue, stronger regional cooperation can complement domestic result.” He highlighted, in that regard and among other issues, the “Afghan National Security Policy and the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program.”

The UN Secretary General also reaffirmed the continued support and commitment of the United Nations for Afghanistan, asserting in that regard, that “the United Nations will work and deliver as one.”


PRESS CONFERENCE (near verbatim transcript)

At the close of the Kabul International Conference on Afghanistan

held at the Government Media Information Centre, Kabul

Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General

Kabul – 20 July 2010

President Karzai [unofficial translation from Dari]: Distinguished national and international media, Asalamu Alaikum. I am very honoured to be in front of you with His Excellency Ban Ki -moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. His Excellency is a very trusted and close friend of Afghanistan and a friend who has always been beside us. Today at the closing session of the Kabul Conference, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon narrated a story of 1973, when he was a South Korean diplomat and came to Afghanistan with their Ambassador to inaugurate diplomatic ties with Afghanistan. He talked of Kabul’s beauty and greenness and beauty of the Foreign Ministry’ building to the participants of the Conference. He shared a very good memory with all of us.

Dear media, the Kabul Conference that was (for) several months being prepared for today, Alhamdulillah, it was organized very well and more than 60 countries of the world and 12 international entities, more than 40 Foreign Ministers, heads of foreign organizations and His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, personally attended it.

In this conference Afghanistan put forward their wish for the reforms in our country, strengthening governance, and the transition for the protection of our homeland and security of our people and our borders, and other issues such as our requests from the international community and our appreciation from them were expressed. You witnessed the details today, and I will not go into those details.

I will conclude here with words of appreciation from the international community, and we thank His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, America, Europe, our neighbors, Japan, India, China, Arab countries and those who all participated in this conference. We thank them for their assistance and their efforts through their presence in this conference to make it a success. We thank them for their commitments for this country and for the future of this country.

In brief, this was an extremely successful conference and very much on due time. I hope that Afghanistan and the region will move towards a bright and better future and strengthening of the system. Work that we have not done yet, we will, Inshallah, be able to do it in the near future or in the long-term in the right order and right time.

I once more thank the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for coming here. If there has been any shortage in our hospitality, we apologize for that. Once more we welcome him to our country.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Thank you, Mr. President. Salam Alaikum. Tashakor.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media.

I am glad to be here for today’s conference on Afghanistan. And I thank and I appreciate the leadership of President Karzai and the commitment for peace and security, development, and human rights of Afghanistan under the leadership of President Karzai.

I am honoured that the United Nations has served as co-host together with the Afghan Government. This conference marks the beginning of a crucially important transition. As agreed at the London Conference earlier this year, in January of this year, and again here in Kabul, Afghanistan will now take the lead in shaping the country’s future. Afghans will set the priorities and decide which path to follow. The international community will play a supporting role.

It is thus symbolic that today’s event is the first international conference on Afghanistan to be Afghan-led and held in the country itself.

The Afghan Government presented 23 priority national programmes in the key areas of peace and security, governance and development. President Karzai and his Government have renewed their commitment to deliver real meaningful improvements for the country’s people.

The international community has agreed to realign its efforts behind those Afghan priorities. We have also reaffirmed our long-time commitment to Afghanistan’s well being.

I am encouraged by today’s results. I have urged all partners to make good on their pledges.

The United Nations will do its part.

The people of Afghanistan have suffered greatly for many years. They continue to want only what people everywhere want – jobs, shelter, education and health, their fundamental human rights, safety for their children, the hope of a better future for all.

With the steps taken today Afghans have a better chance to gain a more secure foothold on that path. With them in the lead, and with the right support from the international community, I am convinced we can succeed.

Thank you very much.

Questions and Answers:

Wakht News Agency [unofficial translation from Dari]: My first question is to President Karzai. According to you, what was the main strategic point of the Kabul Conference? And my question to the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is, what are the assurances that the commitments of the international community at the Kabul Conference will be implemented?

President Karzai [unofficial translation from Dari]: In today’s conference our agenda included different proposals and the preparedness of Afghanistan towards better reforms in governance and the system in Afghanistan, as well as expectations on Afghanistan from the international community, with assistance from us, in relation to the reforms of contracts, about the private security forces and about the transition of the executive operational powers to our military and security forces, since Afghanistan will assume the entire responsibility in terms of military and security by 2014.

We had a very wide agenda proposed to the international community which was fortunately accepted by the international community and they made their commitments.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Now about the commitments, commitments are mutual. On the part of the international community we committed that we will continue to provide necessary support, political support, socio economic development support and also military support to ensure peace and security here. And we also committed that while the Afghan government will gradually take a greater role and more of an ownership role in transitioning in this period, we will align with national governmental priorities in all aspects, and we will continue to provide long term and sustainable support to help strengthen the capacity of the Afghan people and government. We hope that the Millennium Development Goals, that the Afghan Government will also be able to reach these goals.

In the commitments on the Afghan Government side, President Karzai has rightly explained.

The international community would expect and strongly encourage that President Karzai and his Cabinet will enhance good governance, and address all the socio economic problems irregularities and make reform; socio economical reform and security reform; and there is a good plan by the Ministry of Interior that they will strengthen the national police capacity and also be able to help the national forces of Afghanistan to strengthen their capacity.

So these commitments are mutual and we have agreed that under this commitment and the Communiqué we will continue to work. Now, I am quite convinced that while this transition is made, toward a gradual transition from greater responsibility of Afghanistan, I am sure that the Afghan Government and people will be able to enjoy freedom, human rights and prosperity.

Der Spiegel: You have announced major programmes for reconciliation with the Taliban, which include the leadership of the Taliban. Just in recent days and weeks we have seen intensive efforts by ISAF to target Taliban commanders in which a lot of these commanders were killed. How does this military strategy of the international forces fir with your reconciliation programme?

President Karzai [original in English]: In today’s conference I outlined the decisions of the Afghan Peace Jirga – that was held a month-and-a-half ago – to the international community. And I was very happy to find out that the decisions and recommendations by the Afghan Peace Jirga were endorsed by the international community in a significantly strong way. While these incidents of violence go on, while we continue to fight incidents of terror as well, as they occur against our people, we will continue earnestly and with full dedication the pursuit of the peace process. I am glad today that this peace process was endorsed by the international community.

Al Jazeera: My first question will be to the Secretary-General about the accusation from foreign countries to the Afghan Government on corruption. It is in a time in which more over 70 per cent of the money since 2001 which came to Afghanistan is spent by international donors or by international organizations. As United Nations Secretary-General, can you promise to the people of Afghanistan that you would launch, the way that President Karzai launched an investigation to Afghan officials, an investigation into foreign officials, into where is the money now? My second question will be to President Karzai. Mr President, recently ISAF claims that they have some information that Mullah Omar is in Pakistan, do you have any information on that?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: The first question is the very important area of good governance. We are concerned there is a prevalence of corrupt practices all throughout the country. The international community naturally expects that while the international community will continue to provide socio economic and financial support, this money should be properly used for good purposes, planned purposes. This is what I have been discussing with President Karzai and this is what world leaders are expecting, that President Karzai and his Cabinet Ministers should be fully committed. I am encouraged that President Karzai has stated this morning in his opening remarks that he is committed to reform of judiciary and investigative sectors. Also we want to see the coming parliamentary election on September 18th to be a transparent, democratic and credible one without any irregularities. That is the best way for the Afghan Government to gain confidence and trust from the international community so that their support can flow continuously. Thank you very much.

President Karzai [original in English]:: On the question of Mullah Omar staying in Pakistan, well, we knew all along that some of the very senior leadership is in Pakistan. This is not news for us. This is an old story. While we know this, we are working very hard to improve our relations with our brothers in Pakistan further and further, and to advance the cause of peace and reconciliation and reintegration. These facts aside, Afghanistan will continue to work hard to have the best of relations with our neighbours with our friends, especially Pakistan, and to pursue peace, reintegration and reconciliation as well. Gentlemen and ladies, the Secretary-General and I have to go to lunch with dignitaries that have arrived, so we have time for one more question. And that question will go to a lady, and that lady is from CNN.

CNN: Thank you Mr President and Mr Secretary-General. The date 2014 has been used in this conference today and yesterday. Can you elaborate more as to what that means? Does this mean that the Afghan forces will take on the complete combat role and the international forces will leave? And Mr Secretary-General, can you elaborate on my colleague’s question here: when it comes to the international community, the Afghan Government has now been taking steps to fight corruption, to bring those who are accused of corruption to justice, what’s going to happen to those in the international community. Will there be investigations into them as well?

President Karzai [original in English]:: On the 2014 date, ma’am, Afghanistan has specified its objectives. If you recall, in my inauguration speech to the Afghan people some months ago, I committed to having the ability by 2014 – meaning another five years which by now is almost four years – to reach a level of strength and ability and capacity within our forces to provide for our own security for the population, for the country, for our borders. This is a commitment we have made to the Afghan people and to our international partners, and we hope accordingly the international community will help Afghanistan reach that objective that we are working on very earnestly and with dedication. This is a national objective that we have to fulfill and we must.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: On your second question,I believe that each corruption case should be properly and in a transparent way investigated by Afghan Government authorities. At the same time, I am also concerned that not many such corruption cases have been properly and thoroughly investigated. That is what President Karzai has committed to, to continue to strengthen the capacity and change all these judiciary systems. It would be much more important to prevent such corrupt practices and also create an environment conducive to prevent and not to give any such temptations on the part of business sector or government officials to engage in such corruptive activities. For that to be possible, first of all, we expect the Afghan Government should have institutional reforms and strengthen judicial procedures and provide jobs and to revitalize the economy. That is what the international community is now looking more towards…

President Karzai (interjects) [original in English]:: Mr Secretary-General, she was asking about corruption in the international community. And so was the gentlemen from Al Jazeera.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Of course, I am going there.

President Karzai [original in English]:: In other words they are beginning to be fair.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: When the people are given incentives to engage in proper jobs, when they are educated and institutions are strengthened there is not much room for international corruption to be practiced here. I sincerely hope that international donors and international partners will also take this matter very seriously. They should be able to give aid in an effective way – there should be aid effectiveness, and a transparent manner. By making every procedure in a transparent way, we are able to get rid of all such possibilities.

President Karzai [original in English]: Thank you very much.

[Ends with President Karzai and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shaking hands]

Strategic Communication and Spokespersons Unit

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

Kabul, Afghanistan

Tel: 079 000 6121; +39 083 124 6121

http://unama.unmissions.org

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