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Ambassador Erfani responds to address of the UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, at the OSCE

Ambassador Erfani responds to address of the UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, at the OSCE

Credit: Micky Kroell, OSCE

Credit: Micky Kroell, OSCE

Vienna, 30.04.2014     On April 30 at the 998th Permanent Council meeting of the OSCE, Ambassador Erfani sat on the head table panel of the OSCE with H.E. Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA, who gave a presentation on the ongoing elections in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani responded to his address, thanking Mr. Kubiš for the continued support he has shown to the Afghan Government and people, and for the reassuring words of his presentation. Ambassador Erfani followed by giving a brief update on the elections in Afghanistan, which have been marked as a milestone in Afghanistan’s history.

 

Ambassador emphasized that the new government will continue the successful path into the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) and that the achievements in areas, such as: Women’s rights; Education; Media and Civil Society; Governance and democratization; Security; Foreign policy; Economy; Infrastructure; Repatriation of refugees; and Health, demonstrated the Afghan peoples’ determination to achieve a successful, stable and democratic nation. H.E. Kubiš concurred: “The Afghan people once again proved all the sceptics wrong,” he said. “You must witness a situation like this to believe in the stamina, in the courage, in the endurance of the Afghan people.” he said.

 

Ambassador Erfani stated that the elections may head to a second round. He expressed:  “Regardless of the outcome, the Afghan people already consider the 2014 elections as a national treasure, demonstrating the will of the people to overcome all obstacles in support of a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan. The newly elected President of Afghanistan will take office based on 1) the constitution 2) the results of the elections and 3) the free will of the Afghan people.” Ambassador Erfani reiterated that the new Government, whichever it may be will consolidate Afghanistan’s strategic partnership with the International Community; will enhance regional co-operation and will build on recent achievements, based on thirteen years of experience and will lead Afghanistan to a better future, where all Afghans can enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms. He concluded: “I wish to assure the International Community of Afghanistan’s commitment to emerge from this transition as a healthy member of our global family.”

–      END   –

Ambassador Erfani’s Condolence Message for the victims of the hospital attack in Kabul

On behalf of the Government and the people of Afghanistan, and my colleagues at the Permanent Mission in Vienna, I wish to express my deepest grief and sorrow for the loss of three American citizens in a shooting at CURE hospital in Kabul on April 24. The three doctors were devoted to helping the needy people of Afghanistan and their selfless commitment to this noble cause will never be forgotten. We are deeply saddened by this brutal attack and wish to offer our heartfelt sympathy and condolences.  Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fighting such acts of terrorism and is investigating the incident, to ensure that offenders will be brought to justice.

Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani

Panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Austrian Defense Ministry’s Institute

Ambassador Erfani opens panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Austrian Defense Ministry’s Institute

ifk

Vienna, 24 April 2014     Today, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani opened a panel discussion on “Afghanistan after the 2014 elections” at the Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management (IFK) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defense. Firstly, Mr. Ambassador thanked IFK’s director, Brigadier Dr. Walter Feichtinger for the invitation and welcomed the panelists. Mr. Ambassador then underscored the significance of the 5 April elections as a milestone in Afghanistan’s history.

He continued with providing a brief overview about the country’s recent history and numerous achievements, accomplished with the assistance of the international community since 2001 and in all relevant areas including women’s rights, education, media and civil society, elections and democratization, security and the economy.

The Ambassador emphasized that the new government will continue the successful path into the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024), following the completion of the country’s transition process at the end of this year. In spite of many accomplishments, certain challenges remain to be tackled: “While we are optimistic about our way forward, we require the continued partnership of the international community, with a view to addressing the following issues: Tackle remaining challenges, including the two interconnected menaces of terrorism and illicit narcotic drugs, while sustaining past achievements and further advancing our development in all spheres of society”, the Ambassador said.

He continued by reminding that many stakeholders showed concern rather than confidence about the country’s future but that those sceptics were proved otherwise by the successful conduct of the 5 April Presidential and Provincial Council elections: “Let me emphasize that these were not merely successfully executed elections, as the preparations and conduct of the vote showed us and the world how far we have come as a nation. There are now new realities on the ground in my country: A new generation of young men and women, enjoying equal rights, with a fresh new mindset, who are committed to eventually changing the face of the country”, the Ambassador explained. In conclusion, Ambassador Erfani stated that the end of the transition process marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community. Afghanistan will seize all opportunities at the national level including full engagement of women and youth, while regional cooperation remains a main pillar of the country’s foreign policy. Equally, the government will continue its close global collaboration with its friends and partners in the international community.

 -END-

Appointment of OSCE Chief monitor Special Mission to Ukraine is welcomed


H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Apakan of Turkey as Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

Vienna, 10 April 2014

At today’s meeting of the OSCE’s Permanent Council, Ambassador Erfani welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Ertogrül Apakan of Turkey as Chief Monitor and of Mr. Mark Etherington of the United Kingdom and Mr. Alexander Hug of Switzerland as Deputy Chief Monitors of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, as announced by the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship.

“I had the privilege to work with Ambassador Apakan at the United Nations in New York, and I know that he brings vast experience and expertise to this mission”, Ambassador Erfani said. “I can only congratulate the OSCE for appointing such a seasoned diplomat in these difficult times for this sensitive mission – and I wish you, dear Ambassador, and your team every success for this challenging and important task”, Ambassador Erfani concluded.

 -END-

A provisional assessment of the 5 April election in Afghanistan

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani provides a provisional assessment of the 5 April election in Afghanistan

Vienna, 10 April 2014

Today at the OSCE, Ambassador Erfani provided a provisional assessment of the Afghan Presidential and Provincial Council elections held on 5 April 2014. In his statement before the meeting of the Permanent Council, the Ambassador expressed his appreciation to Afghanistan’s international partners, many of which OSCE participating States (including the delegations of the EU, the United States, Canada, the Russian Federation and Turkey) for their continued support and encouraging statements following the elections. He also highlighted the valuable OSCE/ODIHR Election Support Teams’ recommendations over the past ten years, and paid tribute to all military and civilian officials who have sacrificed so much for Afghanistan.

“Before polling day we stated that we regard these elections as a major opportunity to strengthen our young democracy, in particular in light of the 2014 transition and upcoming decade of transformation 2015-2024. Today I can proudly announce that the people of Afghanistan bravely seized this opportunity”, he said with reference to the historical significance of the vote.

Ambassador Erfani emphasized the record overall turnout and the record participation of women and the young, as well as the clear failure of the Taliban and other terrorists to disrupt the elections, due to the clinical job performed by the Afghan National Security Forces and the strong will of the Afghan people. The vibrant free media in the country clearly did an excellent job of publicizing the elections and informing the population, as over 7 million Afghans voted that day for the future of their country, an increase of over 50% on the participation in the 2009 elections. One particularly welcome statistic is that female participation currently looks to have been around 40%.

H.E. Ayoob Erfani also made reference to remaining election-related challenges, primarily in the areas of logistics and technicalities, and security: “I will admit that Afghanistan faced its fair share of challenges on Election Day with security being a major issue”, he stated. He then explained the elections roadmap for the next month and the role of both the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Election Complaints Commission.

In conclusion, Mr. Ambassador quoted a number of positive remarks made by world leaders, praising the success of the electoral process, reiterated the key role of empowered women and educated youth for a stable and democratic Afghanistan, and commended once again the Afghan people: “Neither the announced fire of the Taliban, nor the water of the intense rain stopped them from expressing their free will. This is textbook democracy exercised by the courageous and committed citizens of Afghanistan, triumphantly lifting their ink-marked index fingers in the air”, he said.

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Elections in Afghanistan – OSCE Asian Contact Group

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani makes a presentation on the 5 April 
elections in Afghanistan, at the Asian Contact Group meeting of the 
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Elections Afghanistan at the OSCE

Elections Afghanistan at the OSCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vienna, 04.04.2014 

Ambassador Erfani today gave a comprehensive
presentation at the 2 nd meeting of OSCE’s Asian Contact Group in 2014, on
tomorrow’s presidential and provincial council elections. He stressed the historical
significance of the vote, in light of the 2014 transition and the upcoming decade of
transformation 2015-2024, calling the elections “a major opportunity to strengthen
our young democracy”.

The Ambassador thanked the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights (ODIHR) for once again deploying an election support team to Afghanistan.
H.E. Erfani also highlighted the crucial role of local and international civil society
and media, with around 265,000 observers, agents and reporters serving as
election watchdogs. In this context, H.E. Erfani stated that he takes pride in the
thriving, independent and free media landscape in the country: “There are now 75
TV channels, 175 radio stations and hundreds of print publications and blogs in
Afghanistan, which are giving the election campaigns wall-to-wall coverage,
including televised debates, and positively affecting our perception of a vibrant
democracy.”

The women and the young of Afghanistan play a role of particular importance in
tomorrow’s elections: “Without the full and equal participation of women, we will
never have a stable Afghanistan, and their empowerment is essential for the
education and well-being of Afghanistan’s youth”, the Ambassador stated. At the
same time, women will be facing more challenges than anybody else during these
elections. 350,000 national and international security forces will secure the almost
6,500 polling centers throughout the country, responding to threats by the Taliban
and other terrorist groups to disrupt and sabotage the elections. H.E. Ayoob Erfani

emphasized that “this is a historic moment for the people of
Afghanistan, witnessing the first-ever democratic transfer of power.” He thanked
the United States, Japan and other present partners of Afghanistan for their
tireless efforts and generous contributions with regard to electoral processes,
while expressing his deepest grief for their sacrifices and giving his condolences for
the loss of a German journalist killed in an attack earlier today.

In conclusion, H.E. Erfani underlined that these elections are going to happen and
that the Afghan people remain undeterred by threats because their strong desire
to have their say on the future of the country outweighs their concerns. The
Afghan people are unified in their wish for a better Afghanistan, which is precisely
what they deserve.

In reply to the presentation by Ambassador Erfani, a number of OSCE participating
and partner countries including Greece (on behalf of the European Union), the
United States, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Japan reiterated their support for the
5 April elections, a milestone in the history of Afghanistan.

-END-

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani signs a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the ODIHR Election Support Team

Today, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani and H.E. Lamberto Zannier signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) and the OSCE, concerning support for the Presidential and Provincial council elections to be held in Afghanistan on 5 April 2014.

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani and H.E. Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE sign a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the ODIHR Election Support Team

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani and H.E. Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE sign a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the ODIHR Election Support Team

Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) has invited OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to support the elections. OSCE/ODIHR will deploy an Election Support Team (EST) in Kabul as of the end of February 2014, for four months. The EST will, inter alia, prepare a report on the electoral process, including a set of recommendations to the GOA for implementation in the post-election period. The GOA guarantees the EST freedom of access at any time and to all locations of the electoral process, and will provide any assistance required for the implementation of the mandate of the EST.

At the signing of the MoU, Ambassador Erfani stated that “Free, peaceful and democratic elections must happen for Afghanistan to achieve successful transformation. This will be Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power and the first elections in which Afghanistan’s people, and especially Afghanistan’s youth, can become involved in creating a democratic culture, which our people can stand behind and believe in. It is essential that Afghanistan engage our youth for the future.”

Ambassador Erfani continued that Afghanistan, as a Partner for Co-operation of the OSCE, greatly appreciates the continued collaboration of the OSCE and its participating and partner States, and wishes to acknowledge their generous contributions to fund the EST. The GOA is committed to free, transparent and fair elections which are seen as a fundamental element of the continuing democratization process of the country.

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani welcomed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) by the IR of Iran and the 5+1 group

Vienna, 24.01.2014   H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani addressed the IAEA Board of Governors Special Session on Monitoring and Verification in the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to the Joint Plan of Action Monitoring Irans Nuclear Program. Ambassador Erfani praised the  progress on the ongoing implementation of the Joint Plan of Action agreed on November 24th, 2013. He stated that “We congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran on the ongoing positive and promising development in relation to the cooperation between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic of Iran; and we welcome the start of the implementation process of the JPA on January 20, as an initial and practical step of the implementation process of the Geneva Agreement by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the 5+1 group”.

Ambassador Erfani reiterated  Afghanistan’s  position on the peaceful and diplomatic solution of Iran’s nuclear programme and expressed his hope that the implementation of the JPA could mark a practical step to restore the international community’s confidence on the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, that could lead to a comprehensive, lasting and peaceful solution of Iran’s nuclear issue.

He added that “Afghanistan reaffirms its position on the inalienable right of all states to access and use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and reiterates its position on the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free-zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East,  as a positive step towards our continued call on the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the region as well as attaining the objective of global nuclear disarmament”.

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani addressed the Group of 77 and China (G-77) handover ceremony of the Chairmanship from Sudan to Sri Lanka on 21 January 2014

Vienna, 21.01.2014 H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani addressed the G-77 handover ceremony of the Chairmanship. Sudan passed the rotating Chairmanship to Sri Lanka, and Ambassador Erfani offered his acknowledgements to both delegations.

After thanking the heads of UNIDO, IAEA, CTBTO, and UNODC for their presentations and renewed commitments towards enhanced technical cooperation and capacity-building with the countries of the G-77, Ambassador Erfani stated that “On behalf of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan, I would like to extend my appreciation to H.E. Ambassador Mahmoud Hassan Elamin and his team at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sudan for their dedicated efforts, leadership, and successful Chairmanship of the G-77 during 2013, and we wish him every success in his future endeavors and assignments.”

H.E. Ambassador Erfani congratulated Ambassador Abdul Azeez Aliyar Lebbe in assuming the Chairmanship of the G-77. He welcomed the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in his new role as the Chair of the group and wished him a successful tenure. Ambassador Erfani added that “Afghanistan is committed to the goals of the G-77 and I assure you, Mr. Chairman, of my delegation’s full support and cooperation for the objectives of the group“.

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was received by H.E. Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer at the New Year’s Reception at Hofburg Presidential Office

Vienna, 20.01.2014. H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was received on 20th January by the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, H.E. Dr. Heinz Fischer, as part of the 2014 New Year’s Reception for the Diplomatic Corps. The reception was held in the Ceremonial Hall of the Hofburg Presidential Office where President Fischer personally greeted H.E. Ambassador Erfani and  accompanying colleagues from his staff. On behalf of President Karzai, Ambassador Erfani conveyed his greetings and best wishes to H.E President Fischer and his family, as well as for the continued prosperity of Austria. President Fischer reiterated his support for a stable Afghanistan and expressed his desire to continue the fruitful relationship between the two countries. President Fischer expressed his best wishes to President Karzai and stressed the importance of the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan, as an essential step in the democratization process in the country. Ambassador Erfani continued on this note, by emphasizing the importance of strengthening these ties for Afghanistan’s successful 2014 Transition and towards the Decade of Transformation 2015-2024.