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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.

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First assessment of the 5 April Elections in Afghanistan

Statement by

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani

first assessment of the

5 April 2014

Presidential and Provincial Council Elections in Afghanistan

at the 994th meeting of the permanent council of the OSCE

 

10 April 2014

Vienna, Austria

 

The historic Presidential and Provincial Council Elections were held on 5 April 2014.  Image:SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

The historic Presidential and Provincial Council Elections were held on 5 April 2014.
Image:SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

Mr. Chairman,

Dear Colleagues,

 

On April 4, just one day before the April 5 elections, I made a comprehensive presentation on the status of Afghanistan’s preparation for the Presidential and Provincial elections before the OSCE’s Asian Contact Group Meeting.  Today, I wish to share with you the first assessment of the April 5 vote and brief the Permanent Council on the outcome of this historic event in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman, I would first of all like to thank all colleagues for their statements at today’s meeting and their supportive and encouraging messages and comments on the 2014 Afghan Presidential and Provincial Council Elections that took place last Saturday. These elections marked an historic milestone in the democratic process of Afghanistan and bears testimony to Afghanistan’s decade partnership with the International Community. Let me express my gratitude to Afghanistan’s international partners, many of which present here today, for their continued partnership with Afghanistan. Following this historic event, the importance of this co-operation to serve the cause of a better Afghanistan and to stability in our region and beyond cannot be overestimated. I wish to pay tribute to all military and civilian officials who have sacrificed so much for Afghanistan. I also thank the Election Support Teams of ODHIR for their valuable participation in these and all previous elections in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime has been ousted.

Mr. Chairman,

As previous distinguished speakers stated, this vote has been one of the defining political events in Afghanistan’s history. Just before polling day, in my presentation at the meeting of the Asian Contact Group, I 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.

The outcome of these elections exceeds our expectations and marks the first democratic transfer of power in my country. I can also announce a record turnout and a record participation of women, at almost 40%. Also, Afghanistan’s large youth population, many of whom were voting last weekend for the very first time, are ready to mobilize themselves and to have a say on their country’s future. The Taliban threatened to “use all force” to disrupt the elections, yet clearly failed.

The Afghan National Security Forces succeeded in providing security and the brave Afghan people, yearning for democracy, security and stability in their country, came forward and withstood the bloody threats by the Taliban and adverse weather conditions. 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.

Mr. Chairman,

Based on all this information, we can safely conclude that this election was historic for Afghanistan. As a matter of fact there was less fraud compared to previous elections, better security in all 34 provinces, and enthusiastic participation of more than 7 million voters implying a better turnout than ever before. We also witnessed the commitments of the brave Afghan people, the improved preparation of electoral institutions (IEC and IECC), the active role of Afghanistan’s vibrant media, the strong campaigns of candidates, the committed participation of both local and international observers and the excellent performance of Afghan National Security Forces. The international press response to these elections has been largely positive, with the events that unfolded on Election Day being heralded as a resounding success. The elections also were widely welcomed by the International Community including the UN, EU, NATO and other partners and friends.

This election proves, once again, that Afghanistan has established all necessary institutions for a better future and we thank our partners in the International Community for their continued support during the Decade of Transformation. It is a fact that this election took place with an unexpectedly high voter turnout, despite vile threats from terrorist organizations, harsh weather and logistical barriers; and it is a fact that the Afghan people took this opportunity to say no to violence and terrorism but stood up defiantly for their right to vote.

Mr Chairman,

At the same time, we are aware that there are a number of issues that still need to be addressed, primarily in the areas of logistics, technicalities, alleged irregularities and possible frauds. However, the reports by observers indicate fraud in the 2014 elections was significantly lower than in the 2009 vote and it will not undermine the legitimacy of April 5 elections.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) are working hard to resolve all remaining problems; to respond to any alleged malpractice and election law violations and investigate all complains to secure the credibility of the elections.

In conclusion Mr. Chairman, I would like quote a prominent female member of parliament: “It was my dream come true – That was a fantastic slap on the face of the enemy of Afghanistan, a strong rejection in the face of those who believe Afghanistan is not ready for democracy.”

Thank you

 

ANNEX — FACTS AND FIGURES

Turnout More than 7 million / 60% of the 12 million electorate
Female participation 40 %
Active polling stations 6218  (out of 6423)
Partial results to be announced At the end of this week
Announcement of Preliminary Results of Presidential Election 28 Apr
Presidential Election Complaints Period 7 Apr – 27 Apr
Adjudication of Complaints of Presidential Election 7 Apr – 7 May
ECC Final Decision and Its Submission to IEC 8 May
Presidential Election Final Results Announcement 14 May
Implementation of IEC Decision 22 May
Presidential Election Run-off 28 May
Counting of Votes of Provincial Councils Elections 21 Apr – 12 May
Announcement of Preliminary Results of the Provincial Councils Election 17 May
Adjudication of Complaints of Provincial Council Elections 22 Apr – 30 May
ECC Final Decision and Its Submission to IEC 31 May
Provincial Councils Election Final Results Announcement 7 Jun

 

 

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.

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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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H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani statement at OSCE Permanent Council on 17 January terrorist attack that occurred in Kabul

Thank you Mr. Chairman

Last Friday January 17, Kabul fell victim to another indiscriminate and criminal terrorist suicide attack. The attack took the lives of 21 innocent individuals in a Lebanese Restaurant  with no regard to their nationality, race, religion, creed or color. Among the victims were 13 internationals and 8 Afghans.  I had the honor of knowing most  of the victims and had personally worked with some of  them during my tenure in Kabul.

Our heart, thoughts and condolences go out to all of those who have suffered losses through this terrorist attack. I would like to take this opportunity to express my delegation’s sincerest condolences to the families, friends and governments of the fallen victims. We are deeply sorry, and strongly condemn and deplore the acts of senseless violence and intimidation as committed by the terrorists and enemies of the Afghan people.

Having had the opportunity to work with some of the victims, I can say with confidence that despite nationality, religion or belief we were gathered around one mission and one dream, to work for peace, development, human rights and humanity and a better future for Afghanistan.

HE President Hamad Karzai has condemned this terrorist attack and extended his sympathies to the families of all victims.  The President also received  HE Mr. Jan Kubiš the SRSG in Afghanistan, and expressed his condolences for the fallen UN staff members.

The people of Afghanistan are committed to continuing their journey during the decade of transformation, and are determined to face all remaining challenges including terrorism. The people of Afghanistan are grateful for the last 12 years  of support and sacrifices of our friends, and appreciate their commitments and continued support for Afghanistan which remain vital in the coming decade of transformation 2015 – 2025.

Thank you.

 

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was received by H.E. Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer

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

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani discusses gender issues at the OSCE

Vienna, 08.10.2013    Today, H.E. Ayoob Erfani had two meetings at the OSCE: He first met Her Excellency Ambassador Miroslava Beham, OSCE’s Senior Advisor on Gender Issues — a very productive meeting, which was followed by another fruitful encounter, with Mr. John Crownover of the Bosnia and Herzegovina branch of CARE International.

In his meeting with Ambassador Beham and her team, Mr. Ambassador Erfani discussed the vital role of the women of Afghanistan in the country’s struggle for peace, freedom and democracy, given the fact that more than 50% of the population of Afghanistan are women and that their full engagement is indispensable in order to secure the country’s future. Both agreed that the role of the OSCE in empowerment of women in Afghanistan should be further enhanced and that respective projects and programmes should be put on top of the agenda in the co-operation between Afghanistan and the OSCE, with a view to enabling the women of Afghanistan to play comprehensively active roles in all spheres of society, including politics, economy, health, culture and education.

Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, has achieved great progress over the past twelve years, in many areas, including gender issues. Ambassador Erfani also mentioned that women run for the post of President and Vice-President in next year’s elections. Nonetheless, remaining challenges need to be and will be addressed, in order to fully meet Afghanistan’s constitutional but also international obligations. The Government of Afghanistan remains committed to safeguard total equality of women and men in the country.

In the meeting with Mr. Crownover of CARE, Mr. Ambassador Erfani again stressed the imperative of gender equality and future ways and means of fully achieving this noble goal were discussed. At the heart of accomplishing this goal lies the gender education of Afghanistan’s kids and students.

The International Narcotics Board

The International Narcotics Board (INCB) is responsible for monitoring and supporting Governments’ compliance with the international drug control treaties and was established in 1968. It is an independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the UN international drug control conventions. The UN 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs establishes strict controls on the cultivation of opium poppy, coca bush, cannabis plant and their products, which the Convention describes as ‘narcotic drugs’. The INCB works to strengthen and monitor the control system established under the 1961 Convention. The PM of Afghanistan works closely with INCB, seeking to emphasize the need for shared responsibility in the efforts undertaken to address the world drug problem. It benefits from recommendations in how to improve drug control efforts and strengthen shared responsibility principles.