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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release Regarding the Postponement of the Second Meeting of Formal Peace Negotiations with the Afghan Taliban Movement

July 30, 2015

Kabul – The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan regrets the postponement of the second meeting of formal peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban movement, which was scheduled for July 31st, 2015 in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as always, is committed to the peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban movement and hopes that the aforementioned meeting will be held in the near future.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan believes that in the current situation, peace negotiations are possible than any time before; therefore, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for sincere cooperation of all the relevant actors in supporting the Afghan Government’s efforts towards a lasting peace in the country and the region.

Embassy Closed July 20th and 21st

Please be advised that the Embassy will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, July 20-21, 2015 and will reopen on Wednesday July 23rd. 

REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR H.E. AYOOB ERFANI IN RESPONSE TO THE ADDRESS BY THE FEDERAL MINISTER OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY H.E. FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER AT THE OSCE 1061ST MEETING OF THE PERMANENT COUNCIL

Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of Afghanistan warmly welcomes His Excellency Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the Permanent Council, and we thank you for your comprehensive presentation, outlining the priorities of the 2016 German Chairmanship of the OSCE.

I wish to seize this opportunity to express on behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan my gratitude for the long-standing close friendship our two countries enjoy, which dates back to the 1920s, and for the continued generous assistance provided by Germany.

From the 2001 Petersberg conference onwards, Germany has proactively promoted security, political, economic and human dimension matters in Afghanistan. Germany has been Afghanistan’s third largest donor and a major contributor to NATO’s ISAF mission. Today, Germany actively participates in NATO’s Resolute Support Mission with currently 850 troops, the third-strongest force behind the United States and Georgia, and supporting the Afghan National Security Forces toward a stable and secure Afghanistan, which will be important for the entire OSCE area. Your sacrifices will never be forgotten.

The institutional framework for our current co-operation has been created by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development for the period 2014-2017, entitled “Reliable Partnership in Times of Change”, and is being implemented with the German Society for International Co-operation–GIZ. Focus areas include the fight against corruption, human rights and in particular women’s rights, good governance, energy, water supply, sustainable economic development, education and vocational training, creation of employment opportunities, and development of rural areas.

There are numerous German initiatives and activities with Afghanistan, including in such diverse areas as the German Police Project Team or the co-operation between Kabul University and Weimar University of Music Franz Liszt. Let us also not forget that close to 90,000 people from Afghanistan found a new home in Germany. We know that we can count on the continued support by Germany for the coming years, for which we are very grateful.

In conclusion, Mr. Minister, I would like to reassure you and the OSCE as a whole of Afghanistan’s commitment to our strong partnership with the OSCE. I can pledge our full co-operation during the German Chairmanship, and I wish you and your teams in Berlin and Vienna every success for the challenging tasks ahead.

Thank you

REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR AYOOB ERFANI OSCE COUNTER TERRORISM CONFERENCE “COUNTERING THE INCITEMENT AND RECRUITMENT OF FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS” 30 JUNE – 1 JULY 2015

Third Session: „Good Practices and Lessons Learned to Empower Young People to Counter Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism (VERLT)“

Wednesday, July 1, 9-11am

Vienna, Austria

 

Madam Moderator,

I would like to thank the Chairmanship and the Secretariat for organizing this timely conference and I also wish to thank all panelists for their presentations.

My delegation wishes to express its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of recent terrorist attacks and we offer our sympathy and solidarity with our friends in France, Kuwait and Tunisia. Afghanistan has been a victim of terrorism for a very long time and we strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Madam Moderator,

The youth is Afghanistan’s future, like in all other countries. What sets us apart is our society’s specific age structure with almost two thirds of the population being younger than 25 years. Those between 15 and 24 years of age comprise 17 percent of the population. We are a young society and we are in the process of shaping and fostering our young democracy. We are making every effort to empower our young people in all areas including in countering VERLT.

As we are discussing these important matters here today, terrorist groups are attempting to recruit our innocent young people and try to engage them in criminal, terrorist activities. We are committed to protect our youth from becoming soft targets for the terrorist organizations, but we require international assistance toward capacity-building to protect our young people from becoming vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment and to engage them as agents of positive change, toward democratic values, norms and principles. We are focusing on education, a key factor also in this area, and on communicating modern and positive role models.

In August 2014, The Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan has presented the Afghanistan National Youth Policy (ANYP), the first of its kind in the country. It was designed and developed in line with the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), the National Priority Programmes (NPPs) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

It is intended to serve—inter alia—the following purposes: (a) Acknowledge youth as a critical group for Afghanistan’s development and poverty reduction; (b) Identify fundamental needs of youth and provide the legal framework and strategic guidelines for sustainable youth development; (c) Identify gaps and shortfalls in existing policies and programmes of both public and private sectors for youth and provide a joint framework for addressing these gaps; (d) Acknowledge the distinctive and complementary role of government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and youth organizations in youth development and to provide a joint framework for common goals; (e) Provide opportunities for political, economic, social and cultural participation of youth and invigorate youth at the national and sub-national levels; (f) Provide and support appropriate and decent employment to youth for their economic and social development. More specifically, the ANYP aims at promoting civic education for youth at risk of radicalization and building public awareness regarding the harms and prevention of violence, including gender-based violence.

Madame Moderator,

The issue of VERLT has become a growing challenge for my country and we are addressing this menace also on the regional and international level, while mobilizing our youth to contribute to the fight against this problem. It is our task and a main priority to provide education, jobs and opportunities and to raise public awareness by also engaging mosques, imams and community leaders in the villages.

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan realizes that additional and customized initiatives, policies and strategies will be required to better protect Afghanistan’s young people, who are facing numerous hardships. It is our goal to actively involve our young women and men in activities to counter VERLT, since we hold the view that this will be the most effective way of protecting them against extremism and radicalization. In doing so, we will require the assistance from the international community including the OSCE, specifically in the design, implementation and assessment of measures to counter VERLT.

We believe that empowering women’s roles in countering VERLT is of particular importance. We anticipate much stronger future roles for our women in addressing VERLT and in our society as such.

Afghanistan now has a free, independent and flourishing media landscape and rapid proliferation of social media provides additional ground for self-expression, in particular for our youth. We will work to provide the foundations for all of our young people, also in more rural communities, to find their voices and to speak out against VERLT. In this context, let me also mention that Afghanistan’s Third Annual Social Media Summit will be held in September this year.

We thank the OSCE and the many of its contributing participating and Partner States for providing assistance and support for Afghanistan over the past years. I am seizing this opportunity to encourage all of you to continue your support for the young people of Afghanistan.

Thank you