Ambassador Erfani opens the 3rd International Congress of Afghan Refugees
Ambassador Erfani at the conference.
Vienna, 14 December 2014
Today, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani opened the 3rd International Congress of Afghan Refugees, held in Vienna, discussing the situation of Afghan refugees, migrants and naturalized citizens, in support of the programmes of the newly established National Unity Government of Afghanistan for the upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) in the country. The event was co-organized by the Vienna-based Afghan Cultural Association AKIS and the Association of International Afghan Refugees.
The focus of the congress was to emphasize the role of Afghan refugees in the reconstruction of their country. Participants from Afghanistan, Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and other European countries included heads of Afghan associations, members of the Afghan parliament, Afghan government officials, civil society representatives and the media. All participants actively contributed to the work of the congress.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Erfani welcomed all participants to Vienna and briefed them about the current situation in Afghanistan: “We have come a long way over the past thirteen years, the people of Afghanistan with the support from our international friends has accomplished enormous progress, yet we also encountered missed opportunities and we still have a number of remaining challenges in front of us”, the Ambassador stated. He added “that the successfully concluded process of transition as well as the strong demonstration by the Afghan people during the 2014 elections sent a clear message of the Afghans’ commitment to democracy and Afghanistan’s upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024): the people of Afghanistan want peace, security, democracy and prosperity.”
Ambassador Erfani emphasized that all participants have deep understanding of the Afghanistan’s history at their disposal. He also underscored that while participants are encouraged to articulate different views, analyses and ideas, the congress would also offer a great opportunity to build consensus and to find compromise in order to enable a positive discussion. This is the time to find ways and means to build up on previous achievements, to learn from past mistakes, and to deliver better in the future for the people of Afghanistan. “In order to achieve the vision of the Decade of Transformation for a better future of our country, we will have to work together, spurred by the values of unity and solidarity”, Mr. Ambassador said.
The government of Afghanistan is committed to facilitate everything that is needed both abroad and at home and throughout all spheres of society for the people of Afghanistan to be able to actively contribute to the advancement of their country. One focus will be put on the creation of opportunities for business and investment. Ambassador Erfani called the Afghans abroad a huge asset for Afghanistan and asked the participants to “play an active role in the sense of shared responsibility in helping those in particular need, which unfortunately are still many of the war-stricken Afghan people who had to suffer for such a long time.” The Ambassador continued by inviting all participants to pro-actively engage in contributing to the implementation of the programmes of the National Unity Government, launched at the London Conference on Afghanistan earlier this month.
Ambassador Erfani also took part in the closing session of the congress where he commended the organizers for the hard work they had put in, and all participants for their readiness to take part and for their pledges to help the Afghan people, also through lobbying for continued cooperation between Afghanistan and its partners in the international community and by contributing to the implementation of the programmes of the National Unity Government, in terms of investments, economic opportunities, cultural work, civil society and media activities.
In conclusion, the Ambassador once again thanked the organizers and all participants for their contributions and encouraged everyone to actively engage in the creation of a better future for Afghanistan.