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Message on the Occasion of the International Women’s Day

Vienna, 08.03.2016

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna wishes to congratulate all women on the occasion of the 2016 International Women’s Day. As women across the world celebrate this day, the women of Afghanistan look back on progress made and look forward to continuing their efforts towards sustainable peace, stability and development, with a view to enjoy their full rights and to actively participate in all spheres of society.

The women of Afghanistan have made great strides over the past 14 years in re-establishing their rights, including with the adoption of the constitution of Afghanistan in 2004, which highlights women’s rights as a main element and stipulates equality and access to justice for all citizens. The establishment of various institutions as well as the adoption of a number of laws and policies in support of women’s rights and women’s empowerment, have resulted in women’s increased access to education, justice and health services, as well as political participation and economic opportunities. While challenges still exist, the Government of Afghanistan is committed to continuing efforts towards the full realization of women’s rights and paving the way for unlocking their full potential in support of sustainable stability and development in the country.

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REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN H.E. SALAHUDDIN RABBANI AT THE 4TH MEETING OF THE QUADRILATERAL COORDINATION GROUP (QCG)

Kabul, 23.02.2016

Honorable Members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to extend a very warm welcome to members of the QCG delegations from Pakistan, China, and the United States to this fourth meeting of the group as we jointly strive to make tangible progress in our collective quest for ensuring sustainable peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the wider region.

The realization of lasting peace and security remains the utmost priority of the Afghan people and the Government. We will continue to pursue all available and possible avenues to ensure this noble and rightful demand of our people for a dignified peace that strengthens our constitutional system. We also appreciate the goodwill and support of our neighbors, friends and allies in this endeavor. It is in this context that we continue to attach particular importance to the work of the QCG.

The work of this group is at a critical stage. We have managed to make tangible progress on a framework in our work so far, including the adoption of terms for the group’s work and the Roadmap document as well as the consensus to ensure direct talks between representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and authorized representatives of Taliban groups.

I am confident that our discussions today will build on the progress of our previous meetings in Islamabad and Kabul. Following the consensus reached during the third meeting in Islamabad earlier this month, we would like to see the group outline the details of the expected direct talks between the Government of Afghanistan and Taliban groups before the end of February.

As we have done so in the past, we renew our call on all Taliban groups to join these Afghan-led and Afghan-owned talks so we can find political solutions and put an end to the violence and bloodshed in our country. The most recent such clear and principled call came in recent key statements of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and H.E. Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.

As His Excellency President Ghani said on 15 February, and I quote, “I call on Taliban groups, the Hezb e Islami led by Mr. Hekmatiyar and other opponents to join the caravan of peace. We will welcome and embrace every group opposed to us that is prepared to live with us in peace and brotherhood. Now that the overall framework and Roadmap for peace have been prepared, this is the best opportunity for the opponents to abandon their hostilities and armed opposition against their compatriots. If the goal is political participation, our Constitution bars no ones path. We clearly state to our opponents that we believe in peace as part of our faith and belief.”

The priority that the Afghan government attaches to a political process is based on and derives its legitimacy and support from the overwhelming consensus in Afghanistan  — both inside and outside the government — on a meaningful, serious, results-oriented peace and reconciliation process. The appointment of the chairman of the High Peace Council, H.E. Pir Syed Ahmad Gillani and his deputies will significantly bolster the efforts of the High Peace Council to further strengthen and consolidate this national consensus in Afghanistan on peace with Taliban groups through a political process.

The work of the High Peace Council under its new leadership will be a continuation of our national quest for peace and stability in Afghanistan, including the prominent legacy of the leadership and personal sacrifice of Martyr of Peace, Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani the first Chairman of the High Peace Council. It was he who outlined the vision and program of action for the High Peace Council and laid down the foundations of its work, which I also had the honor of leading for more than three years.  Therefore, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind — Taliban or otherwise — that the Afghan people and government are serious and sincere in seeking a political resolution to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan with all its internal and external dimensions.

At the same time, as we continue our sincere efforts for peace on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, we will continue to defend Afghanistan and defeat all those forces bent on turning the clock back in Afghanistan on our historic political, social and developmental achievements. The consensus and unity of our nation on preserving and expanding these gains is beyond any doubt. We will not allow these gains to be threatened in any way. Nor will we relent in our actions to put an end to the violence perpetrated against the men, women and children of this country on an almost daily basis.

The same resolve will continue to apply to those who continue to disregard our sincere and genuine call for peace, and who intend to undermine our efforts to consolidate the hard-earned gains of our people.

We must also acknowledge another fundamental truth: that the menace of terrorism is not a phenomenon limited to Afghanistan; it has its clear regional and international dimensions and linkages, and poses grave threats to people and states well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. In this context, we believe that the QCG’s collective and specific actions and measures to advance peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan at the earliest will also help our ongoing common fight against terrorism in the broader region.

We therefore attach great importance to the work of the QCG in support of peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. Going forward and building on the work we have done so far, we look forward to clear and decisive practical steps to meet our shared commitments outlined in the Roadmap in its letter and spirit, in a timely and consistent manner.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Among other confidence building measures in this process, we need to see a significant reduction of violence against the Afghan government and people as critically important, and a key determinant and test for the work of this importance mechanism and our overall efforts in support of a results-oriented peace process in Afghanistan.  In this regard, and as we commence and continue talks with those Taliban groups who are choosing the path of a political process, it will be a key test of our common resolve and commitment to undertake all necessary measures to squeeze and shrink the space in which violent armed groups opposed to peace and reconciliation are active, including decisive actions aimed at eliminating their access to sanctuaries and support systems.

Those elements of the armed groups who continue to refuse to join the peace talks, and continue the path of violence must realize that our message to them is clear: our brave security forces will not hesitate in their resolve to fight them resolutely, wherever they are, to stop them from committing terror, violence and bloodshed.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The role of Afghanistan and our neighbor Pakistan continues to be central and most critical to the success of our joint efforts. In this context, we also hope that this meeting can reach agreement on early initiatives between Afghan and Pakistani Ulema in support of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and against violence and terrorism directed at the people of Afghanistan and the region. Pakistan’s support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation efforts are not only critical in this process but also crucial to our sincere and serious endeavors to build greater trust and confidence in all facets of our vital relationship based on mutual respect, shared interests and concerns.

I would also like to take this opportunity to underline the fact that peace in Afghanistan is not just the aspiration and desire of the Afghan people.  Peace in Afghanistan is indeed also crucial and a pre-condition for peace and stability in the region. It is for this reason that we in Afghanistan also call on all our other neighbors and major countries in the wider region to continue extending their understanding and support to these Afghan government-led and owned peace efforts. On our part, we will also continue to take all our regional partners into confidence on peace efforts in order to maintain and further strengthen the existing regional and international consensus and support towards peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are hopeful that the continued and dedicated work of the QCG going forward will set the Roadmap we have adopted into motion towards steady implementation. We have all invested heavily in this process, which has generated renewed hope for a successful outcome to our joint peace efforts. We, therefore, have a unique opportunity before us. So let us do what we must with strong resolve, sincerity and courage to fulfill our commitments and deliver on the promise of achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Thank you, and I wish you all a successful meeting.

– E N D –

Transcript of Remarks Delivered by H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan At the Munich Security Conference 2016

Munich, 12.02.2016

سخنرانی در کنفرانس (9)

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Ambassador Ischinger, Minister Von Der Leyen, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me first deal with context. We are confronting the fifth wave of political violence in a symmetric war in 140 years. Anarchism was the first wave; national self-determination was the second wave; New Left in Japan, Europe, and the United States was the third wave; Jihad against the Soviet Union and struggle in Sri Lanka started the fourth wave; the post-9/11 terrorism constitutes the fifth wave. A narrative combining epistemology, history, and teleology matched by utilization of the information technology of the fourth industrial revolution is translated into a distinct ecology, morphology, and pathology of violence. Our knowledge and response are both fragmented as we are struggling between naming the phenomena, knowing it, and having an action plan on the basis of an aligned strategy to disrupt, overcome, and destroy the fifth wave of terrorism. Symptoms are often addressed, causes are rarely confronted. Voices of analysis are not followed and there’s no common framework. Without a common framework on intelligence that drives use of force, we keep repeating mistakes. While the enemy learns fast, we are slow to adapting. From seeking ungoverned space, the aim of the fifth wave is to establish territories of terror.

My second point is on dimensions and drivers of conflict. I am focusing here on Afghanistan as an illustration. Often times the war is described as a civil war, it is not. First, we have a regional and global conflict. Every country in the region has been exporting its misfits to us; China, Russia, the ‘Stans, particularly and Pakistan, and others. Second is Daesh. When we warned against Daesh, particularly in this conference last year, it was greeted as a way that I wanted to attract attention to Afghanistan. Today, I hope nobody is in denial.

Third, Al-Qaeda: Al-Qaeda is not finished. At a time when we have focused on Daesh’s threat, I hope to God I am wrong, Al- Qaeda has regrouped. And, now we need to deal with a renewed Al-Qaeda threat. The Tehrik-e- Taliban of Pakistan, the Haqqani networks, and others are common threats but, what’s the platform? The criminal economy provides the common platform for all these movements. Narcotics and refugees, smuggling are part of the same network. Unless we focus on the soft belly of globalization, which is the $ 1.7 trillion of criminal economy, we will be addressing only part of the problem, not all of it.

There’s the additional problem. State sponsorship of malign non-state actors continues. Worse, some states behave like non-state actors and this is, of course, driven by the failure to agree and act on rules of the game. All of this combines to have a displacement effect. We address the problem in one part, it results in displacement of the phenomena in the other. And what, from an Afghan and regional perspective, particularly needs attention: action in Syria and Iraq against Daesh is likely to displace it geographically and spatially. We need to define the boundaries of this ecology carefully. Otherwise, we will be missing a significant part of the solution.

Ambassador Ischinger described 2016 as bleak. From an Afghan perspective, I’d like to describe it as one of cautious optimism. I think everybody, in a bleak forecast, needs a ray of hope. An aligned strategy requires, simultaneously, preferably coordinated action in five levels: Global, Islamic, Regional, National, and Sub-national. So, why the good news? First, I’d like to express gratitude to President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron, Prime Minister Renzi, leaders of 40 countries that have agreed to renew the Resolute Support Mission in support of Afghanistan. NATO, ladies and gentlemen, is fully alive and willing to act responsibly. I’d like to extend a very big thank you to NATO, to its Secretary-General, and to the entire organization. Second, regional support: We have worked very actively with China, with Central Asian states—Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, in particular—India, Iran, Russia, and Turkey through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. We’re in the process of creating an emerging consensus that, a stable of stable Afghanistan that can tackle the actors and drivers of instability, is in everybody’s benefit. This requires continuous work and because of that, bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral mechanisms all need to be supported but key to this is, the country wants this has to take ownership of the process and not just wait that others act on good will.

On the Islamic dimension, the Mecca Declaration against terrorism is a very, very significant development. For the first time, Muslim scholars are confronting the problem, naming it, and simultaneously exposing the fundamental weaknesses of governance. I hope that this declaration is matched with coherent action and coordination. What is fundamental from an Islamic perspective is who claims to speak for the Islamic civilization, culture, and history. Islamic civilization is a grand synthesis. When we measured the circumference of the Earth, the rest of the world didn’t know that the World was round and that was a thousand years ago. We need claim back our heritage and create a vibrant and comprehensive debate among ourselves so we can work.

The other dimension is national. In here, our emphasis is, first of all, to acknowledge our problems. A country that has inherited the mantle of being, the dishonor of being, among the ten most corrupt countries does not have the right to speak for itself unless it addresses its fundamental corruption. A country that has 41% of its people living below poverty must bear the shame. A country that cannot empower its women, youth, and the poor must bear the responsibility for addressing the fundamentals. So, as a result, we need to get the politics right. It is the politics of empowerment; it’s the politics of creating citizens, and turning the state into an instrument for the realization of the rights and obligations of the citizens.

We are working a compact with our citizens and are in the process—a very difficult process, no doubt—of turning the state into an instrument of the realization of the hopes and aspirations of our citizens. Second is mobilizing for security. Security is not about use of force alone. Every problem is not a nail to be hit with a hammer. A multi-dimensional approach where we take governance, and that’s where sub-national issues come to the front, I’m delighted that we have pioneered for the first time in a couple of hundred years a balance between our governors and cabinet and created written compacts with every single province to I can preside of mechanisms of delivery.

But on Daesh, again, we are very grateful and proud that our partners have agreed now to target Daesh like Al-Qaeda. In the last month, we’ve silenced the voice of Daesh to its radio in one of the most remote mountains of Afghanistan, they are on the run. They’ve lost 150 people but what makes us particularly hopeful, 750 retired Afghan Army officers, all commandos, enlisted in a single day to take on Daesh. Their atrocities have brought back a reversal at the level of narrative that now has resulted in significant mobilization in Eastern Afghanistan, and that’s the key. When people mobilize to tackle terror, it’s a very different approach than when guns alone are used. When people ask for simultaneous use of air power with ground mobilization in a will to push them out, that’s the key to success. Equally, because we have been speaking about refugees and the Minister named us, pull and push factors both need to be addressed.

A country with a 41% rate of poverty forced into a significant recession bordering on a depression and networked globally will produce refugees. We must analyze the root causes and create the condition for stability. The current economic recipes of global institutions for fragile states are not working. If Europe does not want refugees, it has to create the conditions for getting commodities and value chains and linkages. Our people don’t want to move but we need to create the opportunities and it must be on the basis of a just society, where foreign assistance is used to create opportunities and not enrich a few. And, this is key to the public. Because of this, the public must be put first because what makes us trust in the future is our resilience. We have coped with earlier waves of violence, our historic resilience gives us the confidence that will overcome the fifth wave. Second is our latent resources. We are an extraordinarily rich country inhabited by extraordinarily poor people. It has to be reversed. And, our partnership—now based on mutual values, accountability, and mutual trust—should provide a platform for an aligned strategy. We invite governments, firms, and global civil society to join us in deploying the tools of great imagination and creativity to overcome the fifth wave of violence.

Thank you.

– E N D –

Source: http://president.gov.af/en/news/transcript-of-remarks-delivered-by-he-mohammad-ashraf-ghani-president-of-the-islamic-republic-of-afghanistan-at-the-munich-security-conference-2016

Statement by Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Chargé d’Affaires, Delegation of Afghanistan, in response to the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, H.E. Araz Azimov at the OSCE Permanent Council Meeting 1089

Vienna, 11.02.2016

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to join other distinguished delegations in thanking H.E. Deputy Minister Araz Azimov for his comprehensive address which provided a good overview of the efforts and achievements made by Azerbaijan in recent years including in the areas of economic development and regional cooperation.
I wish to seize this opportunity to highlight that we greatly value the excellent relations and co-operation that exist between our two countries. Since 2002, numerous high-level meetings between Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, including at the heads of state level have taken place, which can be exemplified by the recent visit of H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to Baku, in December 2015. We also enjoy fruitful inter-parliamentary relations which will hopefully further grow in the future.
Furthermore, troops from Azerbaijan joined ISAF in 2002 and today, Azerbaijan is contributing to the Resolute Support Mission, for which we are grateful.
We appreciate the generous support from Azerbaijan in terms of the provision of education and training opportunities including for our law enforcement officers and medical personnel. We also appreciate investments made by Azerbaijan, in particular in Afghanistan’s infrastructure. There is also good dynamics in terms of our bilateral trade turnover.
We believe that increased economic ties will complement our long-standing political relations. We see a number of important transit opportunities between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey including the Lapis-Lazuli-Corridor as one of the shortest and cheapest transit routes in the region.
It is our goal to turn Afghanistan into a regional land-bridge and a hub for regional energy cooperation and in doing so we are trying to share the benefits of our centrality, including through RECCA and the Heart of Asia Process, with countries in the region and beyond, with a view towards enhancing trade and development at both regional and continental levels.
In closing, let me state that we are confident that both our bilateral co-operation as well as our collaboration in multilateral settings – including under the OSCE – will be further strengthened.

 – E N D –

Statement by Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Chargé d’Affaires of Afghanistan at a briefing by the INCB President on the 2015 Report

February 03, 2016

Thank you Mr. President,

I would like to join other distinguished delegations in thanking you for convening today’s briefing on the mandate and activities of the INCB as well as on the 2015 Report. We are appreciative of the efforts that are made by the board in the framework of monitoring the international drug control treaties and helping countries with their treaty-based obligations.

I would also like to thank the board for preparing the 2015 report along with the reports on precursors and availability which all together provide a detailed overview of the drug control situation in different parts of the world at a time when we are preparing for the upcoming UNGASS on the World Drug Problem in New York.

Mr. President,

As a prime victim of narcotics and as a country in the front line of the fight against this menace, Afghanistan is committed to continuing its counter narcotics efforts under a holistic and balanced approach and within the newly adopted Afghan National Drug Action Plan (2015-2019). As the findings of the recent Afghanistan Opium Survey, which are also well reflected in the 2015 INCB Report show, there has been a considerable decrease in both cultivation and production of opium as well as an increase in the level of eradication during 2015 in Afghanistan. As noted in the report, there has also been an increase in the counter-narcotics operations in Afghanistan which resulted in considerable law enforcement achievements during this period.

As in the previous years, the findings also show that over 90% of illicit opium poppy cultivation has taken place in the most insecure province in the country which once again suggests that there is a clear link between cultivation of opium and insecurity which remains a major challenge of regional nature for Afghanistan. We therefore believe that addressing the security dimension of the drug problem remains key in the success of counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan. Other priorities in our joint counter narcotics efforts should include, among others:

–          Increasing the effectiveness of alternative livelihood programs under the broader sustainable development agenda and in light of the SDGs.

–          Improving operational capacity at both national and regional levels in addressing trafficking in precursors into Afghanistan which remains a major challenge for Afghanistan,

–          Strengthening cooperation and coordination in addressing new trafficking routes and trends,

–          Intensifying efforts to address the financial aspect of drug trafficking at both regional and international levels;

–          And developing a more comprehensive and balanced approach to addressing drug dependency with a particular focus on increasing the treatment capacity, taking into consideration the increasing number of drug users in the country.

Mr. President,

Regional cooperation remains key in addressing the world drug problem. As noted in the report, the Government of Afghanistan has been actively involved in the efforts under various sub-regional and regional counter-narcotics initiatives including the Heart of Asia Process; the Triangular Initiative between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan; the AKT Initiative between Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries as well as the Paris Pact Initiative.

As highlighted in the report, consultation between the Board and the Government of Afghanistan continued in 2015 with a number of high level bilateral meetings including during the CND Session in March last year which provided the opportunity to discuss the achievements,  priorities, new initiatives as well as the challenges facing Afghanistan in countering narcotics. Furthermore, consultation has continued between the board and the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna including on the upcoming visit by the Board to Afghanistan which will hopefully take place in the first half of this year.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that while Afghanistan is committed to continuing its counter narcotics efforts at all national, regional and international levels, there is need for continuous international assistance including to the relevant capacity building programs as well as for greater alignment of international assistance behind our needs and priorities as outlined in the new Afghan National Drug Action Plan.

Thank you

DELEGATION OF AFGHANISTAN: Written Contribution – Response to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Written Contribution by the Delegation of Afghanistan to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier 

Vienna, 14.01.2016

 

Minister Steinmeier,

Secretary General,

Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, let me express on behalf of the people and Government of Afghanistan our deepest condolences for the victims of the brutal terrorist attack in Istanbul on 12 January. We strongly condemn this terrorist attack and we stand with our friends in Turkey, Germany and those in other countries affected by this heinous crime. Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones and we wish a speedy recovery for those who have been injured.

I am pleased to join other distinguished delegations to warmly welcome you, Minister Steinmeier, back to the Permanent Council and let me congratulate you and your teams both here in Vienna and in Berlin for taking on the OSCE Chairmanship in 2016.

Let me also seize this occasion to thank once again the outgoing Serbian Chairmanship for their excellent leadership during 2015. I also wish to thank Switzerland, as the chair of the Asian Contact Group for their great efforts during last year and I should like to congratulate Serbia for assuming the chairmanship of the Group in 2016.

Allow me also to express our gratitude to Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and his staff for the continued support toward OSCE’s engagement with the Partners for Co-operation including Afghanistan.

Minister Steinmeier,

We thank you for your comprehensive presentation and wish to reassure you of our full support.

Recent terrorist attacks across the OSCE region demonstrate the necessity of the OSCE’s comprehensive and cross-dimensional approach to security. Interlinked phenomena and threats — including terrorism,  illicit narcotics, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, immense economic and environmental challenges, corruption, shortcomings in the areas of education and health — all call for a systematic cross-dimensional approach as offered by the OSCE.

I wish to highlight that while Afghanistan is grateful for the support provided by the OSCE as well as bilaterally by many of its participating and Partner States, we continue to need your strong backup in order to take our national development agenda forward throughout the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).

The friendly and long-standing relations between Germany and Afghanistan date back to the beginning of the 20th century. In August this year, you, Minister Steinmeier, marked the 100th anniversary of our friendship in a ceremony with both Their Excellencies the President and the Chief Executive of Afghanistan in Kabul. Since 2002, Germany has been among our largest and closest partners and we are very grateful for the support, sacrifices and for our friendship.

Dear Minister,

As you highlighted, dialogue, trust and security will be the principles that will orient the Chairmanship’s compass in 2016; we fully support this motto and we will do our best to work with you as an active partner.

In closing, let me reiterate that we highly value our excellent partnership with the OSCE. Afghanistan has greatly benefited from the engagement with the organization including from the programmes and projects following two ministerial decisions in 2007 and 2011, respectively. We trust that the engagement with Afghanistan will remain a priority on the OSCE’s agenda in 2016. We look forward to another fruitful year of co-operation with the organization and its participating and Partner States, under the German Chairmanship.

I wish you, Mr. Foreign Minister, and your able teams in Berlin and Vienna every success.

Thank you

– E N D –

Statement by Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna at the 4th Session of the IACA’s Assembly of Parties

Vienna, 9-11 December 2015

Please check against delivery

Madam President,

Mr. Executive Secretary,

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

I am pleased to attend this 4th Session of the IACA Assembly of Parties. On behalf of the Delegation of Afghanistan, I would like to congratulate you Madam President and other members of the Bureau on your election. I would also like to thank the Republic of Azerbaijan and the IACA leadership for the efforts and achievements over the past 12 months.

We are encouraged by increased interest in the activities of IACA which can be exemplified by the growing number of parties joining the Academy over the past 4 years.

In view of the ever-changing nature of corruption and its growing links with organized crime, narcotics and in some cases, terrorism, IACA’s holistic approach to corruption remains very relevant in our efforts to combat this menace.

Madam President,

Corruption in its various forms continues to pose challenges to rule of law, governance, socio-economic development, security and stability of our societies. In Afghanistan, tackling the underlying drivers of corruption has remained a top priority in our national agenda over the past few years and our efforts in this important area range from institutional building to legislation and policy development.

Afghanistan ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption August 2008 and acceded to the Agreement for the Establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Academy as an International Organization in March 2013.

Our recent efforts in the area of legislation include the enactment of the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law and the new Law on Extradition as well as the modification and revision of various anti-corruption related laws and regulations including those pertaining to the provision of public services.

In the area of institutional building, along with the establishment of the High Office of Anti-Corruptionmandated with a unifying oversight function to coordinate, supervise and support all anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Afghanistan, the Special Anti-Corruption Court and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit at the Office of the Attorney General have also been established.

At the operational level, more than 2000 cases of corruption have been registered and investigated by the High Office of Anti-Corruption over the past five years. Considerable progress has also been made in the area of asset declaration by the high-ranking government officials.Over the past five years, 8000 asset declaration forms have been registered. Additionally, various anti-corruption public awareness programs have been implemented by the High Office of Anti-Corruption with support from the relevant government agencies as well as civil society institutions, private sector associations, academic communities, religious institutions, professional associations, youth and women’s groups.

Madam President,

The newly established National Unity Government of Afghanistan is committed to further strengthening our efforts to build integrity and accountability and combat corruption.H.E. the President has stressed on many occasions that the government will show zero tolerance with regard to corruption. Under the new government, efforts are under way to further improve theexisting legal, policy and institutional frameworks for combating corruption.

As highlighted in the Baku Declaration, anti-corruption education, professional training, technical assistance, andresearch are important components of successful anti-corruption strategies. In this context, Afghanistan will need long-term, sustainable, effective and demand-driven technical assistance and capacity-building support including under the High Office of Anti-Corruption. We, in particular, attach great significance to anti-corruption education and research. With reference to the Baku Declaration, let me state that Afghanistan would appreciate any support to initiatives designed to enhance our anti-corruption environment through education and training, at national, regional and international levels with a focus on the provision of scholarships for qualified candidates from our country.

We highly value our engagement with IACA and have already benefited from various activities and opportunities available under the Academy. We hope that we will be able to further benefit from the academic programmes, standardized and tailor-made trainings, dialogue and networking, as well as train-the-trainers programmes.

Thank you.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai Attends the 22nd Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade

mc photo

Belgrade, 04.12.2015

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hekmat Khalil Karzai, attended the 22nd Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade from 3-4 December 2015. In his statement at the plenary, Deputy Minister Karzai shared an overview of the ongoing efforts and processes in Afghanistan as well as the Afghan perspective of the security challenges facing the country and the wider OSCE region. Deputy Minister Karzai highlighted the relevance of the OSCE’s vision and goals in today’s security environment. His statement also included an overview of Afghanistan’s regional cooperation agenda under the Heart of Asia Process and RECCA as well as Afghanistan’s engagement with the OSCE, focusing on areas of cooperation that can be further expanded in the future. Deputy Minister Karzai also had a statement at the Meeting of the OSCE Troika with the OSCE Asian Partners and shared the Afghan perspective of ways to strengthen partnership between the OSCE and the Asia Partners for Cooperation.  In this context, he highlighted the importance of greater cooperation and coordination between the OSCE and the two Afghanistan-focused regional cooperation frameworks: the Istanbul-Heart of Asian Process and RECCA. During his two-day visit to Belgrade, Deputy Minister Karzai also had bilateral meetings with the heads of delegation of Norway, Thailand, Moldova, Mongolia, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, where they discussed the prospects of bilateral relations and the need for exploring new areas of cooperation at a bilateral level. Also discussed during these meetings was the need for enhanced regional and international cooperation in addressing transnational security threats. Deputy Minister Karzai also had a meeting with the OSCE Secretary General and discussed with him various aspects of the OSCE’s engagement with Afghanistan and ways to expand the present partnership between the two parties. Deputy Minister Karzai expressed hope that engagement with Afghanistan will remain a key priority of the OSCE’s agenda in the coming years.

– E N D –

UNODC Working Group on Trafficking in Persons

Vienna, 16.11.2015 – 18.11.2015

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the International Organizations in Vienna participated in the UNODC’s meeting of the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons held from November 16-18, 2015. During this Working Group, in regards to the agenda item on “National coordination mechanisms against trafficking in persons”, Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Counselor, gave a statement on Afghanistan’s experience with this agenda item. This was the first time the Afghan delegation was able to join this working group meeting, following the accession last August to the ‘Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children’. Afghanistan has been one of the countries most affected in connection to the trafficking in persons. Over the past few years, the government of Afghanistan has made considerable efforts to improve legal, institutional and policy frameworks for combating crimes of abduction and trafficking in persons. Noteworthy is the 2008 law adopted on combating abduction and trafficking in persons and the establishment of the High Commission for Combating Crimes of Abduction and Trafficking in Persons. The High Commission has since established provincial anti-trafficking commissions in most provinces and worked on coordinating their activities country-wide. In the conclusion of the remarks, it was state that, “while we are appreciative of the technical assistance provided to our anti-trafficking efforts including through UNODC over the past few years, there is greater need for such technical assistance including in strengthening the existing national coordination mechanism. We believe that there is also need for better coordination at a regional level among national coordination mechanisms and the UNODC has an important role in creating such a regional network for coordination.”

– E N D –

UNODC Working Group on Smuggling of Migrants

Vienna, 18.11.2015 – 20.11.2015

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the International Organizations in Vienna and a representative from the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation of Afghanistan participated in the 3rd meeting of the Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants held from November 18-20, 2015. During this Working Group in regards to the agenda item on “Practical measures to prevent the smuggling of migrants and children, in particular unaccompanied children, such as the issuance of visas on arrival, public information campaigns and training sessions on fraudulent documents”, Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Counselor, gave a statement on Afghanistan’s experience. It was noted that Afghanistan has been until recently the world’s largest country of origin for global refugees over the last three decades. In order to address issues of migration and repatriation, the government of Afghanistan established the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation to develop policies and programs to address different aspects of migration and repatriation. Recent steps by the National Unity Government of Afghanistan was to work on developing refugee laws and to this end, the High Commission for Refugees was established. It was noted that, “Preventing smuggling of migrants is a key component of our national agenda in addressing the issue of migration and combined law enforcement measures and public awareness campaigns have been carried out by the Government. However, given the socio economic root causes of migration, the Afghan Government is trying to create an enabling socio-economic condition that can contribute to the prevention of smuggling of migrants.” Further steps made by the government to address these issues include the launch of the National Employment Program in November 2015 by H.E. President Ghani, which aims to create job opportunities in both urban and rural areas across the country. In conclusion, it was stated that Afghanistan believes there is a need for greater technical assistance in support of the law enforcement and public awareness measures.

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