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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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Statement on the Secretary General of the OSCE’s Action plan for the promotion of Gender Equality

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani in response to the presentation by the OSCE Secretary General of the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality at the 1006th Permanent council meeting of the OSCE

3 July 2014

Vienna, Austria

Mr. Chairman,

Let me join previous speakers in thanking His Excellency the Secretary General for his comprehensive presentation of the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.

As I have stated earlier today in my response to the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, 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 our partners in the international community, with a view to providing a better future for the Afghan people.

Last week, in this hall at the occasion of the Annual Security Review Conference, Ms. Shukria Barakzai, an MP from the Afghan Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) briefed participants about Afghanistan’s achievements including in the area of women’s rights. Next week, two more prominent women’s rights activists from Afghanistan, Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, another MP from the Afghan Wolesi Jirga, and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, a civil society activist are scheduled to participate in the Gender Equality Review Conference, which marks yet another excellent opportunity to share experiences, lessons learned and challenges in the area of women’s rights in a post-conflict country like Afghanistan.

Let me seize this opportunity to thank the Secretariat, in particular its Gender Section and H.E. Ambassador Miroslava Beham, the Chairmanship and all donors for their continued support to my delegation here in Vienna. The facilitation of participation of delegates, in particular women, to major OSCE conferences constitutes a key component of our excellent partnership with the OSCE.

Mr. Chairman,

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.

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.

 

Thank you

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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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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Visit of Ms Shukria Barakzai MP and Mr. Safiullah Muslim MP to the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference

Afghanistan takes an active part in the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference

 

 

Vienna, 26 June 2014

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan actively participated in the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC), held from 24 to 26 June. H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was joined by Ms. Shukria Barakzai MP and Mr. Safiullah Muslim MP to lead a high-level Afghan delegation to the Conference.

Ms. Barakzai presented an insightful keynote address during today’s working session IV on “Supporting stability in the OSCE area during the ongoing transitions in Afghanistan”, sharing her experience and perception as a senior parliamentarian of the Afghan Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) and deserving women’s rights activist. Mr. James Appathurai, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, also presented a keynote speech during this working session. Furthermore, a representative of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) updated delegates on the work of the ODIHR Election Support Team during the second round of Presidential Elections in Afghanistan.

On the second day of the conference, Mr. Muslim made an intervention during working session I on “Early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation: Lessons learned and the way ahead”. The Afghan delegation also delivered presentations in working breakfasts on Afghanistan, organized by the OSCE’s Gender Section and the Delegation of Mongolia. Additionally, meetings were held with the Secretary General of the OSCE, H.E. Lamberto Zannier, and with the head of the United States delegation to the ASRC, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Brent Hartley.

 

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Intervention by H.E Ayoob M. Erfani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the Advance Briefing for the World Drug Report 2014

Intervention by H.E Ayoob M. Erfani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the Advance Briefing for the World Drug Report 2014

13 June 2014

 

Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

Firstly, my delegation is pleased to see you dear Mr Lemahieu, chairing today’s session.

Let me thank you for convening today’s briefing on this year’s World Drug Report. I would like to thank the UNODC for the yet again excellent effort in preparing another detailed overview of the drug situation in the world. I thank Angela for the comprehensive presentation.

We believe that, the annual world drug reports help to enhance knowledge about global trends in drug demand and supply, which is key to successful drug-related policy formulation and its implementation at national, regional and international levels.

Mr. Chairperson,

As this year’s report indicates, while considerable progress has been achieved in different parts of the world in addressing various aspects of the menace of narcotics, challenges still persist at all national, regional and international levels in countering this threat.  Clearly, intensified and more integrated efforts with a comprehensive approach, based on the principle of shared responsibility are required.

As a prime victim of the world drug problem, Afghanistan is committed to continue its efforts to create a strong legal foundation and policy environment for countering the menace of narcotics. The revision of our National Drug Control Strategy; the planned revision of the Law on Counter Narcotics as well as the recent finalization of the Counter Narcotics Regional Strategy are examples of our recent efforts to this end. We have also been able to develop our policies in key areas of alternative livelihood, law enforcement, demand reduction, regional and international cooperation as well as public awareness. Such efforts have led to considerable operational achievements in the past two years.

As was reported by H.E. Mobarez Rashidi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan during the CND High-Level Segment in March this year, the Government of Afghanistan has been able to seize close to 14% of the total drug produced and managed to arrest more than 3000 drug traffickers, including 500 mid-level and 6 high profile traffickers in the past two years.

While the market value of opium has remained stable, our economy has grown steadily. 60% of GDP was made up of illicit economy in 2003, which stands now at only 14%.

However, in order to more effectively address the recent increase in cultivation and production of poppy in Afghanistan, more intensified regional efforts in countering the trafficking of precursors into Afghanistan, effective demand reduction measures and target-aimed alternative livelihood programs  are needed along with the eradication efforts in the country.

There is also need for intensified efforts in the area of demand reduction at all national, regional and international levels. In Afghanistan, we have been able to increase our addiction treatment capacity from 1% to almost 6%, however, given the increasing number of addicts in the country especially among vulnerable groups, we need greater international support to further increase this capacity. Afghanistan was able to create a network of over 100 facilities across the country offering treatment.

Mr. Chairperson,

We look forward to the official release of this year’s Word Drug Report and also to improved coordination and consultation between relevant national authorities and our UNODC colleagues in the collection and sharing of data in the preparation of future annual world drug reports. Afghanistan is making every efforts to do its part and strongly committed to close cooperation towards eradication of illicit drugs.

Thank you.

 

 

H.E. Ambassador Erfani makes statement at British Embassy Vienna on Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

H.E. Ambassador Erfani makes statement at British Embassy Vienna on Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

Vienna, 12.06.2014

 

Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani today took part in an event hosted by the British Embassy Vienna to coincide with the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict that is taking place in London this week.

 

On this occasion, Ambassador Erfani issued a short statement offering Afghanistan’s appreciation of the United Kingdom’s efforts to tackle this serious issue.

 

In his statement, Ambassador Erfani thanked H.E. Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner of Refugees, Ms. Angelina Jolie for their continued efforts. Furthermore, he stated that that “Afghanistan is committed to reducing violence against woman, as evidenced by President Karzai’s signing of the ‘End violence against woman’ law (EVAW) in August 2009”

 

Ambassador Erfani continued by expanding on Afghanistan’s commitment to gender equality, and reminded the distinguished guests that Afghanistan is signatory to all major treaties to promote human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

 

Before ending his remarks, Ambassador Erfani also extended his deepest appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Australia who recently announced that they will donate 3.3 million Australian Dollars to the Afghan Women’s Network.

 

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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the IAEA Board of Governors on Agenda item 6.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the IAEA Board of Governors on  Agenda item 6. (e) Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran

H.E. Director General Yukiya Amano,

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies,

We thank Director General Amano for his report on the “Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran” as contained in document GOV/2014/28. We are pleased on the ongoing  further ecouraging  progress contained in DG’s report,  and reitrate our full  support to the Agency’s monitoring and verifying role on the implementation of JPA between the I. R. of Iran and the Agency  on I.R of Iran’s nuclear Programme.

The Government of Afghanistan welcomes the substantive cooperation between the Agency and the I.R. of Iran, as well as the agreement by the I.R. of Iran to implement five additional practical measures, as a sign of renewed collaboration. Afghanistan congratulates the IAEA for its successful work in this regard, and we look forward to the Agency’s assessment. We also welcome the useful meetings of the I.R. of Iran with the Group of 5+1 and several rounds of talks with EU delegations. We encourage persisting gaps to be bridged and open discussions to be pro-actively continued.

Afghanistan supports a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution, achieved through diplomacy, dialogue and substantive negotiations. In this context, we welcome all efforts towards resolving all outstanding issues.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani delivers a statement on Technical Co-operation with the IAEA, at the IAEA Board of Governors

 

Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani delivers a statement on Technical Co-operation with the IAEA, at the IAEA Board of Governors

 

Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani delivered a statement today at the IAEA Board of Governors regarding technical co-operation between Afghanistan and the IAEA. Ambassador began by expressing Afghanistan’s interest in further co-operation with the IAEA, especially in regards to the four main priorities for co-operation: health, education, agriculture and providing clean water sources. In this regard, although Afghanistan and the IAEA are perhaps unlikely partners, these areas of co-operation will remain vital to the reconstruction and development efforts of the post-2014 agenda.

 

Ambassador Erfani noted the efforts Afghanistan has made for enhancing co-operation: through establishing the Afghan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC), nuclear experts from Afghanistan have been given access to IAEA laboratories and expert training sessions in Vienna.

 

Additionally, the proposal for the ‘Comprehensive Cancer Centre’ in Aliabad hospital in Kabul, has been supported by the IAEA and, if successful, will become the first cancer related diagnostic and therapeutic service centre in Afghanistan.

 

Ambassador Erfani concluded by reiterating the importance of the IAEA and especially its Technical Co-operation Department for Afghanistan’s future and communicated the need for continued co-operation both with the IAEA and International Community beyond 2014.

 

 

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Ambassador Erfani on the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat – 1002nd PC

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the presentation by Ambassador Ivo Petrov of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat At the 1002nd Permanent Council meeting of the OSCE

 

Ambassador Erfani made a brief statement at the 1002ND OSCE Permanent Council Meeting this morning, in response to the presentation of Ambassador Ivo Petrov, head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat. Ambassador Erfani congratulated him on his comprehensive report and lauded the excellent work being undertaken at the Centre in Ashgabat, especially in the areas of border management.

 

Ambassador Erfani expressed the Government of Afghanistan’s gratitude towards the country of Turkmenistan, which has shown constant support for Afghanistan over the past 12 years, during its transition. Through working together on the TAPI pipeline and cooperation through the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are engaging proactively together over a variety of projects.

 

Ambassador Erfani concluded that the recent meeting between President Karzai and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, HE Rashid Muradov, is demonstrative of the ever-evolving relationship and healthy relationship between the two countries.

 

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