Today, Ambassador Ayoob Erfani had a very productive meeting at the Austrian Parliament where he discussed possible expansion of Austro-Afghan relations with the Chair of the National Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. Josef Cap. The meeting was scheduled to follow up both the February 2014 meeting between the late Barbara Prammer and the speaker of the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) of the Parliament of Afghanistan, H.E. Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, as well as a recent meeting between the speaker of the Austrian National Council, H.E. Doris Bures, and H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani.
In today’s meeting, the Ambassador first expressed his gratitude for the continued and generous support of Austria toward stabilization and development of Afghanistan. He then provided a brief overview about recent developments in the country, before specifying a number of areas of possible cooperation between the two countries. Among those proposals by Mr. Ambassador are the formation of an Austro-Afghan inter-parliamentary group, with a focus on female lawmakers; Austrian education, health and vocational projects in Afghanistan; Possible scholarships for Afghan students in Austria; support for the work of the Austro-Afghan Friendship Society. Ambassador Erfani also thanked Austria for generously hosting Afghan refugees, and pledged the Embassy’s support to help with integration efforts.
Dr. Josef Cap thanked the Ambassador for briefing him about current developments in the country and for his proposals toward expanded co-operation; he also stated that the proposal to establish an Austro-Afghan inter-parliamentary group is currently under consideration in the Austrian Parliament and that all other suggestions and project ideas presented by the Ambassador will also be assessed.
MP Christine Muttonen, currently also serving as Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, also participated in the meeting and the Ambassador encouraged organizing meetings with a visiting delegation of female Afghan lawmakers, politicians and civil society representatives, expected to attend an OSCE conference in May. “Women constitute more than 50% of our society and without their active participation we will not be able to stabilize and develop our country,” the Ambassador said.
The Austrian parliament is vested with the legislative power of the Republic of Austria and consists of two chambers, the National Council (183 members) and the Federal Council (62 members).
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