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The Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi, Addresses UNGASS on World Drug Problem

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

Today, the Minister of Counter Narcotics Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi, addressed for a second time the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. In her address, she presented an overview of the counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the emerging challenges and trends as well as the initiatives being undertaken in Afghanistan under the new counter narcotics strategy.

Minister Azimi noted the progress made by Afghanistan in cooperation with the international partners over the past 14 years but despite this progress, illicit narcotics continue to inflict a great deal of damage to Afghan society, the broader region and the world. Minister Azimi elaborated that the first challenge in counter narcotics is that organized crime groups continue to strengthen in the region and abroad including the trafficking of drugs and drug precursors to Afghanistan. She called for improved border security and continued cooperation and support from the international community. A second, challenge is the alarming increase in those addicted to drugs in Afghanistan in recent years. Minister Azimi noted that there are three million addicts in the country with 9% being children and 11% women. She called for integrated efforts in both prevention and treatment to address this tragic phenomenon. The third challenge to be faced is that those farmers involved in poppy cultivation must do so for their livelihood, yet receive only 4% of the 61$ billion illicit drug business. Minister Azimi called for provision of sustainable livelihoods which must be a part of the broader economic development agenda.

In her conclusion, Minister Azimi noted, “The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. The new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the relevant action plan will soon be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come… While we are committed to the implementation of such programs and initiatives, we will need continued long-term and demand-driven support to our counter narcotics efforts in the years to come. Our international partners have already provided considerable support including through UNODC, for which we are grateful.”


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H.E. Ambassador Efani Welcomes H.E. Minister Azimi to the UN General Assembly on World Drug Problem

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Vienna, 10.09.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani, in his role as Vice-Chair of the Board tasked by the Counter Narcotics Division with the preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem in 2016, welcomed the Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan, H.E. Minister Azimi. He noted that UNGASS on the World Drug Problem in 2016 is crucial for shaping collective efforts in light of new challenges, trends and realities toward accomplishing counter narcotic targets.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the international community for their continued support towards Afghanistan and noted that while Afghanistan has come far in the last 14 years, challenges remain and support is still needed. He noted that Minister Azimi would speak on the main challenges still faced by Afghanistan in terms of illicit narcotics as well as the commitments and programs Afghanistan has for the next three years to address the challenges of drugs. After Minister Azimi’s speech, Ambassador Erfani chaired comments from the delegates present and thank them for their continued interest and support for Afghanistan and for their commitment in the truly global fight against narcotics.

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The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan commemorates the ‘Week of Martyrs’

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Today, to commemorate the ‘Week of Martyrs’ the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna hosted a religious ceremony to remember those who had given their lives in the fight for a free, independent, prosperous  and united Afghanistan. Members of the Afghan community, heads of Afghan civil society, as well as religious leaders and Embassy staff, joined Ambassador Erfani in commemorating those who had fallen, through a prayer service.

All attendees participated in the ceremony with Afghan women, men and youth reading passages from the Koran to honour those who sacrificed their lives over the three decades of war and conflict in Afghanistan.

Following the religious ceremony, Ambassador Erfani spoke of theimportance of remembering the many Afghans who lost their lives in the fight to protect the ideals of freedom, equality and liberty in the country. Ambassador Erfani statted that today, the 9th of September, is the 14th Anniversary of the martyrdom of Afghan national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated by two terrorists just two days before the September 11th attacks on the United States. People of Afghanistan lost their very dear leaders, among them Professor Rabbani, Haji Qadir, Abdullah Karzai, Motalliab Beg, Ahmad Khan Samangani, Sayed Mustafa Kazemi, Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai and others from all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. They will be remembered in the heart and mind of peace loving Afghans. Ambassador Erfani spoke of how now, more than ever, it is vital that we not forget the sacrifice they have made and how we must continue to protect these ideals during this essential Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). Afghanistan has achieved so much in way of stability and prosperity for the country that we must continue to strive to ensure these achievements are not destroyed by enemies of Afghanistan.  Ambassador Erfani concluded by paying tribute to the Martyrs of Afghanistan by expressing strong solidarity and sympathy with the victims and their families who fought in order to achieve a free and prosperous Afghanistan. He also thanked the sacrifices made by the partners in the international community over the last three decades. He said all Afghans and international friends will always be remembered for the sacrifice they made and we will continue to work towards accomplishing the wish of the Afghan Martyrs for a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.

Following the ceremony and discussion, those in attendance had the opportunity to speak of and discuss with Ambassador Erfani and Embassy staff of those who they have lost to the actions of destructive forces in the country and of the ongoing situation in the country.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani delivers press conference on the Sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference for Afghanistan (RECCA)

 

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Kabul, 04.09.2015

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan hosted the Sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference for Afghanistan (RECCA-VI) in Kabul. During the two day conference, technical working groups, academic sessions and senior officials met to discuss issues relating to regional cooperation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, during his press conference regarding RECCA, stated that the conference was important not as a means of finding finances for Afghanistan but rather to create an effective regional economic and trade mechanism. He noted that all regional countries would benefit from the work done in the RECCA projects and that establishing a constructive engagement through regional cooperation and active diplomacy will result in a win-win situation for the region.

H.E. Rabbani noted contributions from the participants of the conference including welcoming, “the Heart of Asia Process regarding the regional cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan and emphasized that there should be further coordination between the Heart of Asia Process and RECCA projects which have priority.”

H.E. Rabbani concluded his statements noting that, “The participants appreciated and thanked the United Nations, European Union, and other international financial organizations and the Government of Afghanistan also appreciated and thanked all the countries for their active presence in this conference which brings encouragement and hope for Afghanistan’s bright economic and security future.”

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Ambassador Erfani addresses UNODC anti-corruption meeting

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Vienna, 01.09.2015

 Today, H.E. Ayoob Erfani delivered a statement at the sixth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on the prevention of corruption, a 3-day meeting organized by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Ambassador started by highlighting the significance of the working group meetings as excellent opportunities for exchange of information, experiences and lessons learned. He continued by recalling that tackling the underlying drivers and challenges of corruption remains crucial, also in Afghanistan. “We have taken specific steps at national and international levels in Afghanistan, and for the last 14 years, the Government of Afghanistan supported by the international community has made considerable efforts in areas such as institutional building, legislation and policy development”, he said.

Mr. Ambassador underscored the important role of Afghanistan’s High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption, established in 2008. He also emphasized the relevance of the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit and of the government’s anti-corruption strategy. He made reference to the government’s efforts with regards to combatting money laundering, also on regional and international levels, and stated the importance of integrity, transparency and accountability in the area of public procurement. Among other things, the National Unity Government has created the National Procurement Commission to secure better results in this area. The Ambassador also mentioned the crucial role of civil society organizations.

Ambassador Erfani concluded by declaring that “the Government of Afghanistan is committed to further strengthen its capacity in the prevention of corruption including in preventing money laundering as well as to take its reform agenda into the procurement and financial management systems. While we are grateful for the support we have received thus far from the international community including through UNODC, our anti-corruption agencies will continue to need technical support including in the implementation of their preventive programs and initiatives.”

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Afghan Peace Ambassador Visits Vienna and Meets the Vice-President of the Austrian National Olypmic Committee

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Vienna, 27.08.2015

Dr. Nader Shah Nangahari, a dentist by profession and a passionate cyclist, is currently undertaking — for the second time — a bike tour around the globe. This time accompanied by his son.

In 2002, Dr. Nangahari departed on a bike tour to convey a message by the Afghan people – a message of peace, friendship and cooperation among humanity.

His first trip, 2002-2003, took him from Afghanistan to Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and finally, the United States.

Upon his return to Afghanistan, he was awarded the title of hero by the Afghan Government and a medal by the Afghan National Olympic Committee. From 2003 onwards, he visited different regions of Afghanistan to share his vast experience and advocate for the education and empowerment of women.

This year, Dr. Nangahari is repeating his successful initiative. Yesterday, he and his son stopped in Vienna for meetings at the Afghan Embassy and Permanent Mission (second photo), and with Mr. Otto Flum, Vice-President of the Austrian National Olympic Committee (first photo). Also, Wiener Zeitung daily newspaper conducted an interview with Dr. Nangahari.

“My country Afghanistan has achieved much progress over the past fourteen years and has become a better place to live for the Afghan people, thanks to the sacrifices of the Afghan people and the generous support by the International Community”, Dr. Nangahari stated during the meeting with Mr. Flum.

“However, security still remains a serious challenge for peace and stability in the country. The main purpose of my trip this year is to convey to the International Community that the Afghan people, as a peace-loving people, are tired of war and foreign intervention”, he continued.

He concluded by stating, “We are grateful for the assistance provided to us by our international friends and partners. I would like to call on the international community to continue their support for the Afghan people and for peace and stability in the country.” Dr. Nangahari thanked Mr. Flum for the warm welcome and friendly hospitality.

Dr. Nangahari’s message is a message of peace and solidarity with the International Community, in the spirit of Olympic solidarity and ideals to live in peace and harmony with each other.

During their stay in Vienna, the two cyclists were guests of the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan. Embassy staff accompanied them to the Czech border from where they continued their trip to Prague.

Ambassador Erfani Attends Commemoration of 14 Year Anniversary of Assassination of Afghanistan’s National Hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud

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Vienna, 24.08.2015

On Sunday, August 23, 2015 the Afghan community in Vienna, coordinated by the Youth Leadership Organization of Vienna, observed the 14th anniversary of the assassination of the National Hero Ahmad Shah Massoud. Ambassador Erfani was invited to participate in this event and address those in attendance.

In his opening statement, Ambassador Erfani praised the struggle and sacrifice of all Afghans from all ethnic groups, among them the late President Prof. Rabbani, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Abdul Ali Mazari, Motalliab Beg, Commander Abdul Haq and other martyrs, who lost their lives for the independence, peace, and stability of Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani also applauded Ahmad Shah Massoud as a National Hero of Afghanistan, who spent his life to defend Afghanistan against the foreign intervention and terrorism, was assassinated on September 9, 2001. He noted that memories of Ahmad Shah Massoud and all other heroes and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for freedom, peace and stability in Afghanistan should not be limited to celebrating anniversaries but also must serve as a vision and goal for the cause of peace and stability for all of humanity.

Ambassador Erfani mentioned that Ahmad Shah Massoud, who put his life on the line for well-being of the Afghan people, called for the establishment of a broad based national government where all Afghans were represented through elections and democratic processes. He stated that this vision must lead us today into the future to ensure the programme of the National Unity Government for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Ambassador Erfani was awarded a certificate by the Youth Leadership Organization of Vienna in appreciation and recognition of his service as Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna.

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Ambassador Erfani addressed the conference of Afghan diaspora, titled “What is our Role in the Future of Afghanistan?”

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Vienna, 24 August 2015

On Saturday, August 22, 2015, AKIS (afghanische Kultur, Integration, Solidarität) and the Organization for Solidarity with Afghan Refugees in Europe (Verein Solidarität mit afghanischen Flüchtlingen in Europa) in collaboration with Afghan associations and NGO’s in Vienna, organized a conference, titled “What is our Role in the Future of Afghanistan?”.

In his opening statement to participants, H.E. Ambassador Erfani, praised the organizers of the conference for bringing together the Afghan diaspora to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the role of the Afghan diaspora in the future of the country. He welcomed the wide variety of participants, including a delegation from Afghanistan, Afghans living in Austria, and other Afghan expatriates, commending their interest to do their part for the future of Afghanistan.

During his statement, H.E. Ambassador Erfani briefed the participants on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, referring to the decade long achievements made in Afghanistan, gained thanks to the sacrifice of Afghan people in combination with support from the international community. He also emphasized the important role of Afghan expatriates to contribute in strengthening the current achievements and progress made in the country and to support the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to implement its programs for the success of the Decade of Transformation, and among them the ongoing efforts to preserve peace, achieve stability and promote economic development for the country.

The key note speakers of the conference delivered their comprehensive statements which created an opportunity for an open question and answer session followed by the adoption of the findings of the conference. Diplomats from the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna also attended the conference.

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

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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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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.

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