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The Embassy hosts an Eid celebration

The Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna celebrates Eid 

 

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Ambassador Erfani delivers an Eid message

 

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna marked the end of the Ramadan period with an Eid celebration on the Embassy premises.

 

A large group of fellow Afghans from the community here in Austria joined the celebration at the Embassy, in addition to local Austrian officials and some journalists. Ambassador Erfani and Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister-Counselor Abdul Wahab Arian welcomed all guests before the guest of honor, author Dr. Heide Amato-Koller opened the buffet of a delicious selection of Afghan treats. Ambassador Erfani welcomed the guests to the event and he expressed his wishes for sustainable peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. He asked the Afghan community in Vienna to continue to focus on educating their children, as the new promising generation of Afghanistan.

 

The Permanent Mission prepared Afghan dishes for the invited guests. After the meal concluded, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani took the floor, thanking all guests for their attendance, wishing them all the best and highlighting the significance of Eid celebrations for unity, solidarity and peace in the country and beyond, in particular in light of the 2014 Transition and upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). Additionally, Ambassador Erfani noted the importance on togetherness in the Afghan community in Austria and encouraged attendees to remain in close contact with the Embassy for future endeavours. Representatives of the Afghan community took the floor and appreciated the active involvement and engagement of the Embassy with the Afghan community in Austria.

 

 

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Embassy hosts book presentation: ‘Kindheit in Kabul’

The Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna hosts a book presentation of ‘Childhood in Kabul: My years in Afghanistan 1950-1955’ by Heide Amato-Koller

Mrs Amato-Koller and Amabssador Erfani

Mrs Amato-Koller and Ambassador Erfani

 

Vienna, 06.08.2014

The Embassy of Afghanistan in Vienna today hosted a book presentation with author Heide Amato-Koller who presented and read passages from her book detailing the period of her childhood which she spent in Kabul, titled “Kindheit in Kabul – Meine Jahre in Afghanistan 1950 – 1955”.

In his welcoming remarks, H.E. Ambassador Erfani commented that, Mrs. Amato-Koller’s book has been published at an important time of transition and transformation for Afghanistan. As young Afghans work for progress, democracy, and an open society, it is important to view the future in the light of the past.

Ambassador Erfani opened the event with introductory remarks, after which Minister-Counselor Mr. Wahab Arian introduced Mrs. Amato-Koller and her ghostwriter Mr. Mario Jandrokovic.

Ms Koller spoke of her love of the country and the wonderful friendship she made with an Afghan girl, who was her neighbor in Kabul. She also spoke of the intricacies of Afghan society and different cultural experiences she made whilst in Kabul.

Attended by a number of local officials, journalists and members of the Afghan community, the event included a reading of passages from her book and a brief Q&A session, followed by a reception in the Embassy with Afghan specialties.

 

From left: Minister/Counsellor Wahab Arian, Ambassador Erfani, Mrs Amato-Koller and Mr Jandrokovic

From left: Minister/Counsellor Wahab Arian, Ambassador Erfani, Mrs Amato-Koller and Mr Jandrokovic

 

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The Embassy & Permanent Mission of Afghanistan host a memorial ceremony and Khatme-e-Quran to honor the victims of the Paktika province terrorist attack

Vienna, 21 July 2014

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Today the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna hosted a memorial ceremony and Khatm-e-Quran “Fateha” in memory of the victims of a terrorist attack which occurred last Tuesday in the Argan district of Paktika province.

Members of the Afghan community, including representatives from various Afghan Associations and representatives of mosques in Austria, gathered at the Embassy and mourned the victims of one of the most devastating terrorist attacks of recent times in Afghanistan, in which almost 100 lives were lost during the holy month of Ramadan.

Following the prayers, Ambassador Erfani spoke with those gathered about the challenges still facing Afghanistan in this period and demonstrated his solidarity with the victims of the attack and their families.  The Afghan community expressed their strong solidarity with the victims in Argan district, emphasized the unity and understanding of Afghans for the need of stability in Afghanistan and expressed their readiness and commitments to join Afghans in the country and abroad who are making concentrated efforts towards a stable Afghanistan.

Ambassador Erfabi and representatives of the Afghan community

Ambassador Erfabi and representatives of the Afghan community

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Ambassador Erfani congratulates the new G-77 + China Chairmanship, The Philippines

Vienna, 16.07.2014

 

Ambassador Erfani first expressed his gratitude to Her Excellency Ambassador Yparraguirre, Permanent Representative of the Philippines, incoming Chairperson of the G-77 and China, as well as to His Excellency Ambassador Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, outgoing Chairperson of the G-77 and China.

 

He continued by stating: “I congratulate the Philippines for taking on this responsibility and pledge our full cooperation. Let me thank you, dear Ambassador Yparraguirre for your insightful remarks and comprehensive presentation of the work programme for the rest of this year”.

 

The Ambassador then reminded about pressing economic, social and environmental challenges in some of the G-77 regions: “I applaud our shared efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and hardships”. But he also highlighted that a number of G-77 and China countries are among the emerging economies and have become drivers of global growth, and added: “Afghanistan, given its rich natural resources, young and capable workforce, and our upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024), will hopefully be able to join them in the near future. I have the feeling that this will be a decade for the Afghan people, who had to suffer so incredibly much over the past three decades, and we reach for the stars.”

 

The Ambassador encouraged his fellow Permanent Representatives to sustain the momentum concerning the Millennium Development Goals, promote the empowerment of women in order to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of society.  “We believe that the women and youth are decisive forces for Afghanistan’s future development and we are committed to this end”, he noted.

 

The Ambassador also proposed the creation of an informal working group for the ongoing negotiation between G-77 and developed countries on the budget, in particular the increase of the fund for Technical Cooperation.

 

The Ambassador closed by reiterating Afghanistan’s full support to the new Chairmanship.

 

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Ambassador Erfani responds to the 2015 Serbia Chairman of the OSCE

Vienna, 15.07.2014

 

The delegation of Afghanistan joined other delegations in warmly welcoming His Excellency Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia to the OSCE Permanent Council. “We thank you, Excellency Mr. Minister, for your insightful remarks while presenting your priorities for the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship in 2015, and for your close collaboration with Switzerland” Ambassador Erfani said, also highlighting that “this is an excellent example of close co-operation and co-ordination between incoming and outgoing chairmanships in the history of the OSCE.”

 

H.E. Ayoob Erfani noted that Afghanistan has been transformed into a better place for its citizens as a result of Afghanistan’s decade-long and continuing partnership with our friends in the international community, including the OSCE: “We are a committed partner of the OSCE and are dedicated to engaging with the Serbian 2015 Chairmanship on its priorities, and we look forward to close co-operation with the Serbian Chairmanship in 2015, with the capable Ambassador Vuk Žugić, and we trust that Afghanistan will remain high on the OSCE’s agenda.”

 

A joint two-year work plan of the consecutive Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships has been agreed upon by the two countries and is widely seen as being an excellent opportunity towards continuity and consistent activities.

 

Ambassador Erfani also expressed his hope that a supportive declaration on Afghanistan could be agreed upon by OSCE participating States at the Basel OSCE Ministerial Council in December this year, and encouraged more active engagement between the OSCE participating and partner States in the framework of the OSCE’s Helsinki+40 process.

 

In closing, Ambassador Erfani stated that Afghanistan highly values its historic relationship with Serbia and wished H.E. the Minister and the people of Serbia continued success and prosperity.

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The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosts a Colloquium on Perspectives on Afghan Women

Vienna, 10.07.2014

Ms Naderi, MP, Ambassador Erfani and Ms Seraj at the panel discussion.

Ms Naderi, MP, Ambassador Erfani and Ms Seraj at the panel discussion.

Today, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan hosted a colloquium on “Perspectives on Afghan Women: 2014 and beyond”. The event was made possible with the support of the UNODC and ACUNS, and took place at the Vienna International Center.

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani opened the colloquium with a statement which started by thanking the international community for the support it has given to Afghanistan. He also highlighted the growing participation of women in all levels of government and civil society, which was embodied in the two guest panelists, Ms. Farkhunda Naderi, a current member of the Afghan National Assembly, and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, Executive Board Member and Chair of the Afghan Women’s Network.

 

After a second short welcoming statement by UNODC Director Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Ms. Naderi took the floor, giving a passionate statement which highlighted the progress that Afghanistan has made over the past 13 years, but also its many remaining challenges regarding women’s rights.  She praised the Afghan people on its determination and courage in nourishing democracy, as seen by impressive voter turnout rates, especially for women, in its recent presidential election.

 

Ms. Naderi was followed by Ms. Seraj and gave an equally fervent address entreating the international community to maintain its support for Afghanistan, as democracy in the country “has just taken its first steps and must be allowed to grow”. She also stressed the importance of engaging the youth, calling them the brightest hope for the country’s future.

 

A Q&A session followed, where questions touched on a breadth of topics such as the emerging role of women in the area of security and the sovereignty of Afghanistan and its relationship with the International Community.

 

Ambassador Erfani closed the colloquium by thanking all those who helped organize the event, as well as all participants, stating that this dialogue provided “renewed energy” to continue the conversation about women in Afghanistan and the decade of transformation. He emphasized the role that men also have in improving women’s rights in Afghanistan and reiterated the commitment of the Afghan government to improving the role of women in Afghan society. He concluded by signifying how vital the continued support of the International Community is during this period and the gratitude for their support thus far.

 

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Afghanistan joins Security Sector Reform Group at the OSCE

Afghanistan joins Security Sector Reform Group at the OSCE

07 July 2014

Today H.E. Ayoob Erfani gave a statement on Security Sector Reform and thanked Slovak Republic and Switzerland for co-hosting the Joint Conference on Strengthening OSCE – UN Co-operation on Security Sector Reform (SSR).

Ambassador Erfani spoke of the many achievements and significant progress which has been made by Afghanistan in this sector in the last years and especially the improvements since Afghanistan joined the Group of Friends of UN-SSR in 2007, where it has benefited through ongoing support.

Ambassador Erfani reiterated the importance of Groups such as these in combating the global menaces of terrorism and illicit narcotics trafficking, which Afghanistan have been prime victims of, in securing a safer and prosperous global community through capacity building and encouraging safer practices through information and skills exchanges.

He concluded by stating that ‘Afghanistan welcomes and supports this initiative and declares membership of the SSG/R Group of Friends. We as a committed partner of OSCE are ready to do our part for the success if this young process.’

 

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H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Vienna, 03.07.2014

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani today responded to a statement made by Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 1006th Permanent Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Mr. Ambassador started by recalling the fact that the people of Afghanistan have suffered so much over the past three decades of conflict in the country, and that they continue to be victims of terrorist attacks.

He then welcomed Ms. Pillay to the Permanent Council and commended her tireless efforts towards protection and promotion of human rights over the past six years.

With reference to the joint declaration signed by Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Ms. Pillay on 12 June this year in Geneva, on enhanced co-operation between the two institutions, Ambassador Erfani said “We agree that the work of the OHCHR and OSCE/ODIHR is complementary and that all of our societies can only be truly sustainably secure when they fully respect human dignity, ensure social justice, and enable realization of fundamental freedoms and human rights”.

The Ambassador highlighted Afghanistan’s improved human rights record, emphasizing the rights of women and children, while addressing remaining challenges.

Before closing, Mr. Erfani stated that “with full and equal participation of the women, youth and civil society of Afghanistan in all spheres of society, we are confident about our future.”

He then reiterated Afghanistan’s commitment to the universal values of human rights and wished Ms. Pillay all the best and every success in her future endeavors.

 

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H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the Secretary General of the OSCE

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the

Secretary General of the OSCE

Vienna, 03.07.2014

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responded to a presentation made by OSCE’s Secretary General, H.E. Lamberto Zannier, at the 1006th Permanent Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Mr. Zannier presented the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.

Ambassador Erfani recalled that “the empowerment of women and promotion of gender equality rank among Afghanistan’s greatest achievements over the past thirteen years of efforts and sacrifices, supported by Afghanistan’s partners in the international community”.

He also reaffirmed that “Afghanistan is strongly committed to the goals of OSCE’s Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, and we have taken concrete steps in this area on national, regional and international levels, complementary to OSCE’s efforts of the implementation of the Action Plan”.

The Ambassador continued by highlighting the importance of participation of female delegates from Afghanistan in major OSCE conferences and seized the opportunity to thank all involved OSCE structures and donor countries for their continued generous support.

In closing, Ambassador Erfani stated that “We believe in the inalienable rights of Afghan women, who constitute more than 50% of our society, to fully participate in all spheres of society thereby contributing to our security, social life and economic recovery. Without our women’s full engagement we will not be able to realize our vision and ongoing efforts for a democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan”.

 

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G-77 + China 50th Anniversary Celebrations

PERMANENT MISSION OF AFGHANISTAN MARKS 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA

 

Mr Baktyra on Rabob and Mr Anwar on the Tabla

Mr Baktyra on Rabob and Mr Anwar on the Tabla

Vienna, 24 June 2014 

Today the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the G-77 continued at the Vienna International Centre. Ambassador Erfani inaugurated this second day with an introductory statement on the achievements made and the goals ahead of the Member States. He addressed the importance of gender equality, youth participation and cooperation across borders and among G-77 Members.

Once the festivities were declared open, two Afghan musicians provided an insight into the traditional music. The Tabla, a musical drum, and the Rabob, a lute-like musical instrument, are traditional key instruments of Afghanistan. Thereafter, Sri Lanka joined in the festival and introduced its culture with dances, costumes and music. Many guests watched and enjoyed the cultural performances.

At the same time, Afghanistan offered a stand with a variety of traditional handcraft, artefacts and food. The participants appreciated the unique opportunity to see Afghan jewellery, stones and tableware. One of the highlights was a selection of traditional Afghan food, including sabzi and pilaw. Egypt, Cuba, Oman, Qatar, Sudan and the Vienna branch of G77 also had their own stands and provided food and brochures.

In conclusion, the 50th anniversary of the G-77 was a great success for Afghanistan and His Excellency Ambassador Erfani. The whole delegation, as well as friends from the Afghan community here in Vienna enjoyed celebrating the ceremony together and showing their commitment to the objectives of the G-77, namely assuring joint action for economic and social development.

 

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