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Ambassador Erfani Delivers Statement at IAEA Board of Governors on E3/EU+3 and Iran Nuclear Agreement

Attachment 1

Vienna, 25.08.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani delivered a statement at today’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors on Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ambassador Erfani thanked IAEA Director General Amano for his report and expressed Afghanistan’s support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aiming at a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and the essential role of the IAEA in this regard.

Ambassador Erfani applauded the efforts of the negotiators who facilitated the JCPOA and urged member states to fully cooperate with the IAEA for successful implementation of the JCPOA and the road-map signed by the IAEA and Iran.

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Embassy Closed on August 19th

In observance of the National Day, the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan will be closed on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. It will reopen on Thursday, August 20th.

Thank you for your understanding.

Ambassador Erfani’s Message on the Occasion of Afghanistan’s National Day

17.08.2015

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna congratulates all Afghans on the occasion of their National Day, restoration of independence.

The people of Afghanistan, regardless of the ongoing challenges in the country, remain determined to continue their journey with the support of their partners in the international community to work towards a stable, prosperous, and democratic future.

Happy National Day to all!

Please note that as was done in the past, the Embassy and Permanent Mission will officially celebrate the National Day of Afghanistan the first week of October.

The Embassy and Permanent Mission will be closed on August 19, 2015 in observance of the National Day.

Delegation of Afghan Parliamentarians attended 12th General Meeting of the International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights


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Vienna, 17.08.2015

On Wednesday and Thursday, 12 and13 August, a delegation of Afghan parliamentarians participated in the 12th General Meeting of the International Parliamentarian’s Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights.  As head of the delegation, Mr. Sediqi delivered a statement in the opening session of the conference.

Referring to the situation of Afghanistan, Mr. Sediqi stated,

 “Afghanistan’s parliamentarians will always advocate for the promotion and protection of human rights of refugees including those from North Korea and anywhere else on our globe and hope that our joint efforts under various frameworks including under IPCNKR will effectively contribute to this end.

The matter of refugees has become a serious issue more recently, not only for Afghanistan but for the international community as a whole. We are confronted with a global challenge that requires sober and practical action, upholding the unalienable rights of refugees.

Afghanistan will do its part to address the challenges faced by refugees and we thank our partners in the international community for their continued cooperation and assistance to overcome this serious, humanitarian challenge.”

In the course of their visit the delegation also conducted bilateral meetings with other participating delegations and attended dinners hosted by Japan, Korea, and the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan.  Additionally, Mr. Sediqi met with a journalist from the Winer Zeitung to discuss the current political situation facing Afghanistan.

Throughout their visit the delegation was accompanied by Ambassador Erfani to bilateral meetings where they discussed the current situation of the country and effective ways of Afghanistan’s partners continued cooperation with the country.  Particular emphasis was placed on strengthening the relationship between parliaments throughout the decade of transformation in Afghanistan, 2015-2025.

– END –

 

Translation of Remarks by President Ashraf Ghani at a Press Conference

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August 10, 2015

In the name of Allah, the most merciful, the most compassionate

Dear compatriots, over the last few days, we witnessed to some significant developments in our county and the region. The war methods have changed against Afghans. The peace process is facing new questions. Furthermore, our people need to know where the Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are heading. I would like to further discuss these issues.

At the very outset, I would like to pay my heartfelt tributes and prayers to all those killed in the recent terrorist attacks and condolences to their families. I also wish a quick recovery for all those injured.

You must recall that we and those who are informed of the situation in our country and region had predicted that this year would be the most difficult of all since the Bonn process. The reason is clear. The withdrawal of over 100,000 highly equipped international military forces plus the transfer to Afghan forces of the entire responsibility to counter threats – a development that was not unforeseeable. International observers had predicted that Afghanistan may not be able to deal with this new situation even for a few days. Our enemies had been waiting for a power vacuum so they could take advantage of and see the government collapse. However, none of the gloomy predictions turned to reality. The enemies were disappointed. Our defense and security forces quickly filled in the gap left behind by the international forces and defeated the enemies on all fronts. Let me express my deepest gratitude to our brave sons and daughters in uniform for all the sacrifices they are making.

On the political ground, a recent significant development was that Mullah Omar was not alive. It was our intelligence agency which confirmed the death of Mullah Omar and revealed the lies and fabrications. This confirmation not only demonstrated the strength and maturity of our intelligence agency, but also reaffirmed the fact that the war in Afghanistan is fought for and by others and that the so-called Amir-ul-Momenin, who apparently led and commanded the war, might not have even existed.

Terrorism is a vast and a widespread concern. The terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and other Muslim countries are of the same nature. These attacks pursue no goals but to collapse states and state system in the region. This was for this particular reason that a grand gathering of Muslim scholars in the city of Makkah condemned these attacks. As I reaffirmed it in the Shanghai Summit in Russia, we will continue to make every effort to overcome this phenomenon, and to build a regional consensus for effective cooperation to that end.

The recent series of attacks in Kabul and other provinces show that the war has changed shape. The enemy who was fighting to gain some territory and to claim a victory has now had its backbone broken. It is so desperate now that it has turned to cowardly attacks against innocent people just to weaken people’s morale.

In my conversation last night with Pakistan’s Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff, I made it clear that the government of Pakistan should have the same definition of terrorism in regard to Afghanistan, just as it has for its own. During my visit to Pakistan last November, we affirmed our full commitment for peace and made it clear that peace had two aspects: peace with Pakistan and peace with Taliban.

We discussed the common opportunities and threats. We made it very clear to the Pakistani side that a new window of opportunity has opened and depending on the capacity and the will of the Pakistani leadership to change the window into a door and then to an alley and even a highway, or shut it all together.

Over the past ten months, we have persistently shown that Afghanistan has both the will and enough capacity to this end. We have shared intelligence with the Pakistani side so that both could carry out a comprehensive and targeted anti-terrorism campaign to rid our nations of violence. We waited all this long for Pakistan to demonstrate its will through action.

However, Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us messages of war. The incidents of the past two months in general and the recent days in particular show that the suicide training camps and the bomb making facilities used to target and murder our innocent people still operate, as in the past, in Pakistan. Just as the incident in Peshawar and the killing of hundreds of innocent children in a school became a turning point in Pakistan, the recent incidents in Kabul and other provinces are no less and we call it a turning point for Afghanistan.

Our righteousness has been proven and everyone in the region knows we made all sincere efforts for peace. The decisions that Pakistani government will be making in the next few weeks will be as significant to affect bilateral relations for the next decades. The security of our people and the national interests of Afghanistan lay the basis of our relationship with Pakistan. We can no longer tolerate to see our people bleeding in a war exported and imposed on us from outside.

In my conversation last night, Pakistan Prime Minister pledged to direct his government to chart out an action plan against terrorism and to discuss and decide on its implementation during a trip by an Afghan delegation in the coming Thursday.

We hoped for peace, but war is declared against us from Pakistani territory; this in fact puts into a display a clear hostility against a neighboring country.

I ask the government and people of Pakistan to imagine that a terrorist attack just like the one in Kabul’s Shah Shahid area took place in Islamabad and the groups behind it had sanctuaries in Afghanistan and ran offices and training centers in our big cities, what would have been your reaction? Will you have looked at us as friends or enemies?

I would like to call on those Taliban who do not want their country destroyed and their people killed, to quit the ranks of criminals and insurgents and to reintegrate into their society. Today, the resources that should have been spent on building factories, hospitals and on other development projects are spent for defense and fighting a war exported to us by others.

The people of Afghanistan are all Muslims, so Islam is not the issue in this war. The political system in Afghanistan is based on the religion of Islam, and all the research shows that the Constitution of Afghanistan compared to those in the neighborhood, is enriched with Islamic values and ideas. Islamic scholars believe that having a system, even weak and rife with defects, is a lot better than not having a system at all. Islam is a religion of peace and stability. According to Islamic Sharia, anyone engaged in acts to destabilize and wreck security in a society and kill Muslims, is described as insurgent and warmonger.

Again, the main question is how can those who claim to have been acting on Sharia can be this careless to the massacre of the innocent people? What would be their response to Aya 32, Sora Almaida of the Holy Quran which says, “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.”?

There will be no flexibility of any kind with the criminals. We have directed the courts and the judicial authorities to show no leniency with those who have our people’s blood on their hand and those who respond the peace call with war and criminality will undoubtedly receive maximum punishment.

We very well know who stands in the way peace and why they do so. Whoever is engaged in criminality, narcotics, and atrocities, and whoever works for the outsiders to destroy Afghanistan is the enemy of peace. Such people fear peace, they fear rule of law and fear a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. Experience has shown that whenever there is a chance for peace, enemies are irritated and resort to violence and brutality. However, we have not and will not allow any such acts to deter us from our quest for peace or to force us into giving warmongers any concessions. We will make peace only with those who believe in the meaning of being a human, Muslim and Afghan and who do not destroy their own country on order from foreign masters.

I call on and request our politicians to do their utmost to keep this nation together at this critical juncture and to refrain from any actions that spread suspicions and disunity from which enemy may benefit.

Very luckily, Afghan youth are more willing today than ever to join the ranks of their country’s armed forces. Consistent to the demand, we have also adjusted and increased our recruitment volume up to 9 percent.

Let me conclude by a last remark on the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our relation with Pakistan is based on our national interests, on top of which comes security and safety of our people. If our people continue to be killed, relations lose meaning and I hope it will not happen.

Thank you

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. 

Draft Statement by H.E. Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan at the Special Event to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

H.E. Mr. Yury Fedotov, 

H.R.H. Prince Bajrakitiaybha Mahidol,

H.E. Minister Yasid Reyes Alvarado,

H.E. Ambassador Arthayudh Srisamoot, 

H.E. Ambassador Khaled Shamaa,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to attend today’s special event to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and to launch the 2015 World Drug Report as yet another excellent overview of recent developments and trends with regard to the world drug problem. I would like to thank the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and the Commission for Narcotic Drugs for the invitation extended to me and for the opportunity to speak in this important gathering. 

Today is an important day for reminding ourselves of the dangers and threats that the world drug problem poses to development, well being, security and stability of our societies. Since 2005, the Government of Afghanistan has commemorated this international day conveying to the public the negative impact of this menace on the society. 

Excellencies

Ladies and gentlemen,

Illicit drug remains one of the biggest challenges to Afghanistan, the region and the world at large which requires our collective actions based on the principle of shared responsibility. Afghanistan remains a prime victim of this menace. Along with factors such as insecurity, poverty and unemployment which motivate cultivation in some provinces, drug trafficker networkscontinue to encourage farmers including through advance purchase of opium poppy. Additionally, the growing links between narcotics, terrorism, money laundering and other forms of transnational organized crimerequires comprehensive .

Parallel to an increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan over the past few years, we have also witnessed deteriorating securitysituation in areas under cultivation which is an indication of clear link between cultivation and insecurity. In accordance with the survey conducted by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan with support from the UNODC in 2014, out of 132 districts in the country where poppy cultivation takes place, 41 districts are responsible for 94% of cultivation, out which, 10 districts cultivate 54% of poppy in the country. The survey also shows that around 90% of cultivation happens in the insecure areas in the south and south west of the country.  Our main focus in the next few years will therefore be on these 10 districts.  .

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan is committed to the elimination of opium economy including through development and implementation of new programs and initiatives and the revision of the current laws and strategies under an integrated approach. Under the vision of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Counter Narcotics has just recently presented its first 100-day work planunder the new leadership aiming at 1) further development of counter narcotics strategies and policies, 2) strengthening coordination and cooperation among all agencies and ministries involved in counter narcotics efforts, 3) improving the capacityof the Ministry in implementing its relevant programs and projects, and 4) encouraging greater support by the international community in the area of counter narcotics.

During the first month of the work plan, the Ministry has made considerable achievements in areas such as the review and revision of the National Drug Control Strategy, preparing the draft amendment to the Counter Narcotics Law of Afghanistan, development of Counter Narcotics District-Based National Program, development of gender policy and public awareness strategy, development of oversight and evaluation mechanism for counter narcotics programs, improving coordination and oversight for alternative development programs, implementation of alternative livelihood projects that have direct impact on farmers’ livelihoodcollecting homeless addictslaunching of the Afghanistan Drug Reporting System with support from the UNODC, conducting various surveys and capacity building programs

The work is also underway to further incorporate the counter narcotics goals in the programs of the line ministries. We are working closely with the Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan to mainstream the drug demand reduction into the two public health packages: The Essential Public Health System (EPHS) and The Basic Public Health System (BPHS). This will help us use the capacity of some 2000 hospitals and clinics with 40000 health employees to deliver drug treatment servicesThis is of highly importance for us given the recent worrying increase in the number of addicts in the country and equally important will be greater international support to these two public health packagesWe are also trying to academically institutionalize Drug Demand Reduction in the Higher Education System in Afghanistan starting with the inclusion of a demand reduction course in the curriculum of some of the faculties including the faculty of medical science. 

As another important initiative, we have aligned the counter narcotics planning with the anti-insurgency military operations and in this context, our focus in the short term will be on poppy eradication and for the longer term, the focus will be to prevent the cultivation of poppy and to maximize the drug seizure rate.

At the regional level, we are trying to expand counter narcotics efforts under the Heart of Asia Process. The work has also been underway to develop the Counter Narcotics Regional Strategy aiming at strengthening regional cooperation in support of counter narcotics efforts in the region.  

Excellencies, 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

In ten months, we will all gather in New York to discuss our way forward in addressing the world drug problem while learning from our past experiences and building on our achievements in the past. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Board tasked with UNGASS preparations for facilitating the preparatory process including the provision of opportunities for discussing the priority areas that need to be addressed during the Special Session in 2016.  We are glad to see that Afghanistan will have the opportunity to represent the Asian Group as the First-Vice chair of the Board.  I hope that UNGASS 2016 will serve as an opportunity to not only discuss ways to expedite the implementation of the political declaration and plan of action of 2009 but also to focus on the new and emerging challenges, trends and realities on the ground as well as ways to address them under a holistic and balanced approach. 

Excellencies, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Our international partners have provided considerable support to our fight against narcotics over the past years for which we are grateful. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has also been actively supporting our efforts in areas such as survey and research, alternative livelihood projects, demand reduction and addiction treatment. The UNODC role is also crucial in facilitating and coordinating regional and international cooperation in addressing the world drug problem. 

While we are committed to fighting the menace of narcotics, we will continue to need international support including those under the UNODC. I hope that we will witness greater international assistance to our counter narcotics efforts in the years to come. 

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani during Working Session III (the OSCE and its Neighborhood) at the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference

Mr. Chairman, Dear Moderator,

Thank you for giving me the floor. I will try to be brief in my remarks, but I still wish to thank the OSCE for organizing this year’s Annual Security Review Conference to take stock of current and ongoing security challenges in the wider OSCE region. I am also pleased that the session will take a look at the OSCE’s support to the ongoing economic, political and security transition during the decade of Transformation in Afghanistan. Let me also thank the keynote speakers of this working session for their comprehensive and thought-provoking presentations.

Afghanistan remains ready to contribute to complementary activities across the three dimensions of security in order to respond to transnational threats and challenges. Border security and management activities with our three neighboring OSCE Participating States, with which we enjoy an excellent relationship, will be vital to promote stability and security in our region.

Addressing transnational threats and challenges constitutes a priority of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan. With the continued support from our key partners, we are implementing our security agenda as we have entered into the first year of Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). We attach great importance to the OSCE’s capabilities and comparative advantage in responding to existing, changing and new threats and challenges including terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, and organized crime. Afghanistan remains committed to both our excellent partnership with the OSCE and to regional co-operation in general, as it constitutes a main pillar of our foreign policy. In this context, we appreciate that the OSCE and its participating States remain committed to the promotion of strong links with its neighbors, including Afghanistan.

The Government of Afghanistan remains keen on expanding the collaboration with the OSCE and its participating and partner States. As you know, while Afghanistan enjoys a good relationship in general with all OSCE Partners and Participating States, 38 of the 40 contributing nations to Resolute Support Mission (RSM) are also OSCE participating States and OSCE Partner for Co-operation Australia is also among the RSM countries. Let me seize this opportunity to encourage additional OSCE programmes and projects for Afghanistan, in the security area, but also in the other two dimensions of the work of the OSCE.

The UN Security Council, in its recent periodic briefing on Afghanistan, discussed the situation in the country while expressing their concerns for the ongoing situation, in particular the emerging threat of terrorist groups under the flag of Daesh. The members called on the support of the international community to Afghanistan.

Among the evolving threats to my country’s security, including the Taliban and other anti-governmental elements and terrorist groups, is the increased influx of foreign fighters from neighboring countries, operating under the Daesh flag. We hold the view that a holistic approach of regional dimension will be required to effectively combat this particular challenge.

Afghanistan is a long time victim of terrorism and brutal indiscriminate attacks. However the recent failed attack against the Parliament of Afghanistan has proven the readiness and capability of our brave National Security Forces to face such challenges, and they have shown their strong commitment to the promotion of security and stability in our region.

Afghanistan is ready to join sub-regional, regional and international efforts to tackle the growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters, radicalization and violent extremists including the underlying conditions and concurrent causes that exacerbate the problem. We are ready to act co-operatively, and we seek technical assistance, provision of capacity-building programmes, transfer of knowledge, and sharing of best practices in this area. I can only repeat that Afghanistan remains dedicated to closer and deeper co-operation on security and other issues with a view to enhancing regional stability and prosperity.

Mr. Moderator, Dear Colleagues,

We believe that thanks to the sacrifices and commitment of the Afghan people, supported by Afghanistan’s partners and the sacrifices of its friends over the last 13 years, Afghanistan is a different place today. This year was the most difficult year in Afghanistan due to the ongoing transition, the withdrawal of international security forces from the country, and the preparations of all terrorist and anti-governmental groups to take advantage of this situation. Fortunately, the Afghan National Security Forces are successfully testing their capacity and are committed to facing all remaining and evolving challenges posed by these terrorist and anti-governmental elements under different names and flags. Afghanistan is committed to serving as a connecting bridge in our region and beyond, and to further serving as an opportunity for connectivity, trade, transit and investment in our region, which is vital for the stability and prosperity for all of us. In order to build on our achievements and to succeed in our commitments, we need the continued support and partnership of our friends and partners, including the OSCE.

Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Minister of Commerce and Industries at the Fourth Vienna Energy Forum

It is a pleasure for me to be part of the Fourth Vienna Energy Forum in this beautiful city of Vienna. I would like to thank the organizers for convening this important international gathering which provides an excellent opportunity to discuss sustainable energy issues related to inclusive development. Such a discussion is highly valuable and very timely for Afghanistan as we have just entered the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) towards sustainable development.

At a national level, the energy sector has remained one of the most important sectors under the National Development Strategy of Afghanistan in the post-Taliban period. Our efforts in this important area are aimed at boosting sustainable energy sources for the country including through increasing the capacity in the production, distribution and transmission of electricity in the country.

Many of our international partners including international financial institutions and development agencies have been actively supporting our energy sector over the past 14 years. With such international support, Afghanistan has been increasingly promoting sustainable energy including renewable energy sources such as hydroelectricity, bioenergy, solar energy, and wind energy (in particular in Western Afghanistan). Deregulation and privatization of Afghanistan’s electricity sector has also been underway over the past few years. This coupled with a sound investment environment could potentially unlock vast amounts of renewable energy for the country and the region.

Such efforts have resulted in increased access to energy across the country including low-cost energy in rural areas which has helped improve the socio-economic situation of the people there.  In the early 2000s, many Afghan communities were dependent on diesel generators provided by international aid organizations. Today an increasing number of people have access to reliable electricity.

Afghanistan possesses a good potential in energy generation including in hydro, as well as coal and gas. We require, however, assistance in tapping this potential to a greater extent, which would allow us to provide energy for the entire country and even sell surplus amounts abroad. Strategic development of a sustainable energy mix and reliable energy infrastructure remains a priority for my Government and in this context the Government of Afghanistan has joined various regional and international energy cooperation frameworks including the International Energy Charter.

At a regional level, energy cooperation stands at the heart of our regional cooperation agenda. Afghanistan provides the shortest and most cost-effective routes for regional connectivity including for transfer of energy from the energy-rich Central Asia to the energy-deficit South Asia. Afghanistan’s geographical location as a land-bridge in the heart of Asia constitutes a comparative advantage and we are ready to share the benefits of our centrality with the region including in the area of energy.

The Government of Afghanistan has made considerable efforts including under the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) to boost regional cooperation towards securing sustainable energy for the entire region.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) 1000 electricity transmission line project are two prominent examples of Afghanistan-centered energy cooperation between Central Asia and South Asia. Such large scale regional energy projects along with other transmission lines under Afghanistan’s regional electric grid will contribute to the creation of an integrated Central Asia-South Asia energy market.

Such efforts at both national and regional level, however, require continued international support as well as further investments, both public and private. An important area of positive change in the post-Taliban period has been the business and investment climate in the country.  In light of the new Afghan Constitution of 2004 which laid out the foundations of a free market economy, the Afghan government has made numerous efforts to create an enabling regulatory and institutional environment for private sector development and investment promotion in the country. Such efforts include the adoption of new pro-business and pro-investment laws and regulations such as the new banking law; the new customs law and the new investment law as well as the creation new institutions such as the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and the Afghanistan National Standards Authority (ANSA).  We hope that with such an increasingly enabling environment, we will witness greater investment in our energy sector in the future.

We highly value the role that the private sector as the main driver of the country’s economy can play in economic development including in the development of our energy sector.

We believe that the UINDO, the Sustainable Energy for All as well as other organizers of this forum have the capacity to further facilitate various forms of energy cooperation including public-private partnership, south-south cooperation and triangular cooperation.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with all such cooperation frameworks in line with the post-2015 development agenda as well as Afghanistan’s national development agenda for our Decade of Transformation.

Thank you.