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Tag Archives: Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani

H.E. Ambassador Erfani met with Young Afghan Diplomats at the OSCE

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Vienna, 16.09.2015

Today H.E. Ambassador Erfani, along with two diplomats from the Afghan Delegation, met with up-and-coming young diplomats from Afghanistan during a special meeting at the OSCE. The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to welcome young diplomats of the various Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. The group of young diplomats were part of an international training programme organized by the German Foreign Office concerning the formation of young diplomats from all over the world. During their stay in Vienna, the young diplomats visited the OSCE and various International Organisations to get an insight into the functioning and activities of their respective missions.

During the meeting, Ambassador Erfani briefed the young Afghan diplomats various aspects of the work completed here in Vienna at various international oganisations including the UN, OSCE, UNIDO, IAEA and CTBTO. Ambassador Erfani noted the importance of training and first-hand experience for young diplomats. He congratulated the young diplomats on their efforts to improve their skills and knowledge in order to best represent Afghanistan in international affairs.

Ambassador Erfani thanked the H.E. Permanent Representative of Germany to the OSCE, Ambassador Eberhard Pohl, and the coordinators of the Young Diplomats Programme meeting. Ambassador Erfani added that Germany throughout history has proved to be a great friend of Afghanistan and for the last 14 years, has been an active member of the international community in the stabilization process in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani concluded specially thanked Germany for coordinating this capacity building activity and noted that capacity building remains an essential area in particular for the young generation who are a promising factor in our future.

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Minister of Counter Narcotics, Minister Azimi, Meets with Women of the Afghan Community

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Vienna, 17.09.2015

On Saturday, September 12, H.E. Minister Azimi met with women of the Afghan community in Vienna at a reception hosted by H.E. Ambassador Erfani in his residence. At the outset, H.E. Ambassador Erfani welcomed H.E. Minister Aimi and the group of 60 women and emphasized the importance of the empowerment of women in Afghanistan as vital for a prosperous and democratic Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani introduced Minister Azimi to the intelligent, educated and committed women of the Afghan community based in Vienna and briefed the women gathered on the programs and activities of Minister Azimi during her time in Vienna. Minister Azimi’s programme included visiting Vienna in order to attend and speak at the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe Conference on Illicit Drugs Among Young People as well as attending a briefing at the VIC where she made a presentation on the ongoing situation in the country. During both meetings, Minister Azimi reaffirmed the commitment of the government of Afghanistan in the fight against drugs.

During her reception with women from the Afghan community, Minister Azimi briefed the participants on the situation in the country for women and children, as well as addicted women and children. Minister Azimi expressed her commitment on behalf of the National Unity Government of Afghanistan to work Afghan people residing in Europe, including on issues relating to further developing rights for women, children in particular those women and children struggling with addiction. She took questions from the women on the rights for women, children, and addicts and entered into an open discussion of how Afghan women abroad can contribute to the well-being of women and children in Afghanistan, particularly those struggling with addiction.

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Statement by H.E. Ayoob M. Erfani Resident Representative and Head of Delegation at the IAEA 59th General Conference

Mr. President,

Director General,

Excellencies,

Let me start by congratulating your Excellency, Ambassador Filippo Formica on your election as President of this year’s General Conference. Also, I wish to thank Ambassador Aliyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez for presiding in such a great manner over last year’s General Conference and I wish him every success in his future endeavors. I thank H.E. Director General Yukiya Amano for his statement and for the Annual Report 2014 and congratulate him on his outstanding leadership. My delegation also commends the strong efforts of the IAEA Secretariat.

The delegation of Afghanistan welcomes Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Turkmenistan to the IAEA family. We are confident that the new members will have a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization.

Mr. President,

The annual General Conference provides a fresh opportunity for all of us to learn from the past developments, evaluate our opportunities and address the evolving and protracted challenges we are facing in international peace and nuclear safety and security, which remain vital for the security of our global village.

Afghanistan, a founding member of the IAEA, started to benefit from IAEA’s excellent co-operation as early as 1959, and we continue to do so in our ongoing joint efforts in developing nuclear applications and technology in the country. Therefore, today I will focus on further expansion of nuclear applications in Afghanistan through strengthening the technical cooperation between Afghanistan and the Agency.

As Afghanistan completed the transition and has entered its Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) towards a self-reliant economy, nuclear science and technology will have a crucial role in achieving the National Priority Programs of the Government of National Unity of Afghanistan, during the coming years of transformation. The Country Program Framework (CPF) 2012-2016 has already enabled cooperation between Afghanistan and the Agency in seven key areas, namely:

1) Legislative and regulatory framework; 2) human health; 3) agriculture and food; 4) water resources management; 5) energy planning; 6) nuclear analytical capability; and 7) human capacity building.

These policy issues remain vital in achieving our goals as set out in our national development agenda and NPPs throughout the Decade of Transformation. I can also report that the Parliament of Afghanistan has ratified Afghanistan’s Nuclear Act, drafted by the Afghanistan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC) with the IAEA’s assistance on 10 September 2015. Afghanistan with the IAEA’s support is about to finalize draft regulations for radiation safety in the areas of 1) waste management and 2) the transport of radioactive materials.

Mr. President,

The Agency’s technical cooperation activities are of great importance for Afghanistan and our entire region, and Afghanistan therefore considers it essential that the resources of the Technical Cooperation Fund be sufficient, assured and predictable. Recent technical cooperation projects between Afghanistan and the IAEA revolved around three key projects: The establishment of a Radiation Oncology Centre; a Radiology Diagnostic Centre; and Radiotherapy and Radiology Services in Kabul.  Afghanistan appreciates the support that has been received from the IAEA technical cooperation projects and looks forward to the expansion of such cooperation in future projects.

On our part, we are committed to continuing our efforts to further develop the institutional and regulatory framework required for peaceful nuclear technology applications, through leading role of the AAEHC in the country. Training and capacity building remains a key component of the efforts being made by the AAEHC. The IAEA has provided considerable capacity building opportunities to the AAEHC in the form of fellowships and training courses. However, still a lack of funds indicates the need for further cooperation and support by the IAEA and the international community at large and we hope that donors are able to contribute sufficient funds for these important programmes.

I wish to reemphasize that Afghanistan attaches great importance to the IAEA’s technical cooperation projects under the CPF and remains confident that more effective use of various activities under the CPF will have greater impact. We wish to encourage increased transfer of know-how and additional capacity-building programmes from countries with advanced nuclear and radiological standards, which could also serve as an important step in shifting from mere assistance to strong cooperation.

We highly commend the efforts of the IAEA in assisting developing countries in gaining further access to nuclear science and technologies and we believe this must be a priority for the post-2015 development agenda, especially on the eve of the UN Sustainable Development Summit (25-27 September 2015) and due to the importance of access to energy in poverty reduction and improving health and livelihoods. As Director General Amano has rightfully stated in his statement on Monday, there are obvious links between the activities of the IAEA and the new goals, including human health, water management, food security, nutrition, protection of the environment, and energy. We cannot overemphasize the importance of technology and science for our development, welfare and progress.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan welcomes the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed between the IR of Iran and EU3+3 in Vienna on 14 July 2015. We congratulate the IR of Iran, the United States and the other negotiating partners on the historic outcome, which will enhance security and stability in our region and beyond, and we encourage all sides to take every effort for the implementation of this agreement. Safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science and technology will contribute to global peace, security and development.

Afghanistan continues to fully support the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free-zone in the Middle East and respective consultations to achieve this goal. We emphasize the central role of the IAEA in this process. The Government of Afghanistan welcomes any confidence and security building measures in this region, as well as any similar positive steps towards elimination of WMD arsenals.

Afghanistan – a prime victim of international terrorism – strongly supports all efforts towards strengthened global nuclear security. We recognize that the global security framework is constantly changing. The IAEA must have the full support of all member states in order to be able to fulfill its mandate.

Mr. President,

I wish to conclude by reiterating the importance of continued cooperation between Afghanistan and the IAEA and its member states in the future and we are grateful for all the assistance we have received thus far.

Thank you, Mr. President

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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Statement by H.E. Ayoob Erfani, Ambassador in Austria Permanent Representative to the UN & International Organizations – Vienna At the 9th Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

It is a pleasure seeing you chairing our session, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the chair of this 9th Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery and express my gratitude to the Secretariat for the timely preparation of the documents. This session is yet another good opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation and sharing of experiences between state’s parties in overcoming the challenges that we face in the area of asset recovery.

Mr. Chairman,

Many countries around the world continue to face the huge challenge that the transfer of proceeds of corruption abroad pose to their development and economic growth. In Afghanistan, addressing this aspect of corruption remains key in our anti-corruption efforts and considerable efforts have been made in areas such as institutional building, legislation and policy development which aims at building the required capacity to this end.  The adoption of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and the law on overseeing the implementation of the strategy, the establishment of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption as an independent body in 2008 in accordance with article 6 of the UNCAC as well as the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Court and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit at the Office of the Attorney General, are testimony to such efforts in recent years.

As the most recent examples of such efforts, the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law as well as a number of regulations under the Law on Banking of Afghanistan as well as the Law of the Central Bank of Afghanistan have been adopted, which directly or indirectly deal with asset recovery.  Additionally, the capacity of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Afghanistan, which was established in 2006, has been enhanced and the Unit has been increasingly playing an important role in anti-corruption efforts including in facilitating the return of proceeds of crime. The FIU has recently joined various cooperation frameworks among FIUs across the region and beyond.

The Government of Afghanistan has also adopted the new Law on Extradition and has recently signed various extradition agreements with a number of neighbouring and regional countries. Such agreements have already facilitated various cases of asset recovery and extradition between the parties. A number of high profile cases of corruption have been recently addressed by the Government which included, in some cases, asset recovery from outside Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

As it has long been argued, given the cross-border nature of asset recovery, success in this important area depends on continued cooperation at all bilateral, regional and international levels and the role of the existing international initiatives is key in supporting countries in dealing with associated challenges. Asset recovery is also a complex and multi-faceted process which requires technical knowledge and specialized capacity.

In this context, while Afghanistan remains committed to further improving the legal and institutional frameworks required for asset recovery as well as to cooperating under the UNCAC and various bilateral agreements, our anti-corruption agencies will continue to require technical assistance to strengthen their capacity including in the area of asset recovery.

Thank you

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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Remarks by H.E. Ayoob Erfani, Ambassador in Austria Permanent Representative to the UN & International Organizations – Vienna At the Sixth Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group On the Prevention of Corruption

Thank you Madam Chair,

At the outset, I would like to join other distinguished speakers in congratulating you on your election as the chair of this Sixth Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Prevention of Corruption and thank the Secretariat for the timely preparation of the documents. We highly value the Working Group sessions as an excellent opportunity for exchange of information, good experiences and learned lessons among member states on preventive measures and practices, which remains a serious challenge for all of us.

Madam Chair,

Tackling the underlying drivers and challenges of corruption remains an important component of Afghanistan’s national development agenda and in this context, we have taken specific steps at national and international levels. 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.

The Establishment of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption in 2008 as an independent unifying oversight body to coordinate, supervise and support all anti-corruption efforts in the country, the establishment of anti-corruption tribunals and prosecution offices in both capital and provinces as well as creation of the Financial Intelligence Unit are among other institutional building efforts that have significantly contributed to our anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan. The adoption of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and the law on overseeing its implementation have provided an appropriate legal and policy framework for anti-corruption efforts in the country.

Preventive measures have been on the top of our national anti-corruption agenda. Asset declaration of high-ranking government officials has been underway under the High Office of Oversight over the past few years which have so far resulted in registration of close to 8000 asset declaration forms. Simplification of the administrative procedures has been further expedited in the past few years and efforts are underway to revise the existing laws, regulations and procedures pertaining to the area of the provision of public services. Additionally, various anti-corruption public awareness programs have been implemented by the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption with support from the relevant government agencies and civil society institutions.

Madam Chair,

The two topics under discussion in this session of the working group are of high importance. I would like to thank the Secretariat as well as the distinguished panelists for their excellent presentations under the two thematic discussions during yesterday’s and today’s sessions.

Money laundering continues to pose threats to economic and social development in our societies including through fostering other illegal activities such as corruption, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms trafficking as well as terrorism. Over the past few years, the Government of Afghanistan has made considerable anti-money laundering efforts which include, among others, the adoption of the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law as well as improving the capacity of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Afghanistan in addressing money-laundering cases. The Afghan FIU has expanded cooperation with other FIUs in the region and has joined several international cooperation frameworks.

Integrity, transparency and accountability in the public procurement system have a great impact on economic growth in every country. In Afghanistan, legal and institutional reform in public procurement has been underway over the past 14 years and has become a top priority for the National Unity Government aiming at providing better services through an effective, efficient and transparent procurement system as well as boosting economic growth and effective control of financial expenditure.

As part of this reform agenda, the former Special Procurement Commission has been restructured to the National Procurement Commission chaired by H.E. the President and the National Procurement Authority (NPA) has been created which serves as the secretariat for the Commission. The NPA’s mission is to:

  • “Strengthen the national procurement system by incorporating mechanisms for increased capacity, visibility, accountability and public confidence through development of policy instruments for the efficient management of public resources and effective budget execution that will stimulate and contribute to economic growth.
  • Enable system compatibility with international procurement standards, best practices and to keep pace with the dynamic technological advances.
  • Regulate the national procurement system by developing and implementing comprehensive legal, regulatory, policy and capacity building frameworks and programs.”

Afghanistan has made significant efforts in building a credible and transparent public financial management system. The government is taking required measures to continuously improve its public financial management. Such measures include “(a) applying whatever controls are needed to manage the budget and report reliably to all stakeholders on public finances; (b) building sustainable capacity in the spending ministries to improve their internal controls; (c) establishing government wide internal audit under the Ministry of Finance; (d) strengthening the independence of the external auditor; and (e) harmonizing audit standards.”

Mr. Chairman,

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.

Thank you.

 

 

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

Afghan Cyclists with Austrian Olympic Committee VPAfghan Cyclists

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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