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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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Speech by H.E Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the OSCE Conference 10-11 September 2015

Vienna, 10.09.2015

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be part of this important Conference and I would like to thank the OSCE for the invitation extended to me and my delegation and for the opportunity to speak on a very important topic, “how to break connection between drugs and youth”.

I hope that our deliberations in this Conference will help us increase the effectiveness of our measures at all levels to address the spread of drug use among young people.

Before sharing my views on the topic, let me present an overview of drug control situation in Afghanistan. Last year, we witnessed an increase in poppy cultivation which reached 224,000 hectares showing 7% increase compared to previous years. UNODC reports show that during the last few years Afghanistan produced an average of 4900 tons of opium. Two-thirds of this production are processed into heroin and morphine and are consumed in Europe and U.S. markets.  Precursors are key to processing Afghan opiates into heroin and morphine. 1300 tons of precursor chemicals annually is needed in this cycle of production. Afghanistan and neighboring countries are not allowed to produce these chemical substances, and this is indicative of the fact that they are coming from outside the region. Over thousands of tons of such chemicals enter Afghanistan through our neighboring countries. Afghanistan does not need these chemicals for any legal purpose and this has been already reported to the International Narcotics Control Board.

Tragically, Afghanistan has witnessed an alarming rate of addiction over the past few years. Recent surveys show that approximately 2.9 to 3.6 million Afghans could test positive for one or more drugs and 1.0 to 1.2 million of them are children. Of this total, approximately 1.9 to 2.4 million adults and 90000 to 110000 children could be drug users. Nearly one-third (31%) of all households tested positive for one or more drugs. The rural house hold rate is more than three times higher: 39% rural compared to 11% urban.

Approximately 13% of adults tested positive for one to more drugs. The rate for rural adults almost two times higher: 15 % rural compared to 8% urban. About 16% of men and 10% of women tested positive. Drug use among rural men is almost two times higher: 18% of rural men compared 11% for urban men. Drug use among rural women is almost three times higher: 11% rural women compared to 4% of urban women. Approximately 9% of Afghan children tested positive for one or more drug. The percentage for rural children who tested positive is almost six times higher: 11% rural compared to 2% urban.

As in other parts of the world, Afghan youth have been the most vulnerable group to drug use. Unemployment, low literacy rates, deterioration of family relationships, lack of awareness, previous conflicts and associated migration and displacement are among the root causes of drug use among youth in Afghanistan. Youth are also involved in cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs in the country which are linked to several other factors such as high demand in the global market; insecurity and insurgency; poverty; unemployment and lack of alternative livelihoods.  The UNODC Survey 2014 shows that 95 percent of poppy cultivation takes place in nine insecure provinces. Moreover, reports show that the lion’s share of profits from poppy cultivation and drug traffickingare skimmed off by the Taliban and regional and international drug and terrorist networks.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of the opium economy in the country. Counter narcotics remains a cross-cutting issue under our national development agenda and considerable efforts have been made in areas such as legislation, institutional building and policy development aimed at improving the capacity of the Government to counter this multi-dimensional menace in the country. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan as a policy making body is leading and coordinating all counter narcotics efforts in the country andis making every effort to eliminate the opium economy in the country including through the development and implementation of new programs and initiatives and the revision of the current laws and strategies under an integrated approach.

Special attention has been given to vulnerable groups such as women, youth and children and focused efforts are being made to address the challenges that youth are facing in Afghanistan in almost all sectors. Our public information campaigns include mini-theater shows, village level awareness programs, media messaging, interviews, symposiums, media outreach and many more outreach efforts.

Despite the efforts and achievements, the road ahead of us is difficult and challenging.  Among the challenges that need to be addressed, I can refer to the following:

  • Insufficient resource allocation to implement programs of alternative livelihood in Afghanistan.
  • Ineffective alternative livelihood programs in some cases.
  • Lack of easy access of Afghan licit products to regional and international markets.
  • Diversion of precursors from licit use in regional and neighboring countries to illicit use in drug production in Afghanistan.
  • Shortage of cooperation and exchange of information at the regional level including on controlled delivery.
  • Insufficient resources in the area of addiction treatment and lack of capacity in the area of prevention including awareness raising.

 In my view, success in countering narcotics in general and addressing the spread of drugs among young people in particular depends on balanced, integrated and long-term efforts in both supply and demand sides and in this context, due attention needs to be given to the following elements:

  • Drug trade is linked with terrorism in my country and in the region and we should address this growing link under a holistic approach.
  • Along with law enforcement efforts, in the long run we need to focus on the root causes of illicit drug cultivation including poverty, unemployment, and lack of alternative livelihood.
  • The drivers of drug business at regional and international levels need to be addressed with a special focus on its financial aspect.
  • Intensified efforts are needed to combat trafficking in precursors and to reduce demand for heroin in the world.
  • The link between cultivation and demand is drug trafficking, so efforts must be concentrated on traffickers who are earning enormous profits.
  • Greater regional cooperation and coordination is needed including in the area of information sharing in order to more effectively counter narcotics.
  • More resources are needed to address the root causes of drug use among young people as well as to strengthen preventive measures including awareness raising among young people.
  • There is a great potential in civil society institutions in helping with preventive measures. We should make best use of this potential and strengthen cooperation between the governmental agencies and civil society institutions.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us ensure that the gains we achieved this far became entrenched, and let us produce new ideas and new mechanisms to nourish our partnership and enhance our efforts to tackle the menace of narcotics.

The National Unity Government of Afghanistan remains committed to the elimination of opium economy. In few weeks, the new Counter Narcotics Strategy of Afghanistan and the new Drug Control Action Plan will be shared with the international community which will set the priorities and the implementation plans for the years to come. While we are grateful for the support that has been provided by the international community to our counter narcotics efforts in the past 14 years including by the OSCE participating states and partners for cooperation, I hope that we will witness even greater support to the implementation of our new counter narcotics strategy and the relevant action plan in the years to come.

Thank you,

Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani at the 1033rd OSCE Permanent Council Opening Session of the 2015 Serbian Chairmanship 15.01.2015

Excellences, dear colleagues, Let me also warmly welcome H.E. Ivica Dačić, the 2015 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia to the OSCE:

We thank you very much Mr. Minister for your comprehensive presentation of the Chairmanship’s priorities, and you can fully count on our support.

We also wish to thank the outgoing Chairmanship for their excellent work during a difficult year for the OSCE in 2014, and we look forward to close co-operation with our Swiss friends in the Asian Contact Group this year.

I would like to join previous speakers in expressing my delegations’ heartfelt condolences to our French colleagues and to the people of France for their losses, through a barbaric terrorist attack which occurred last week, one which we strongly condem. President Ashraf Ghani stated that: “the Killing of defenseless people and civilians is a  heinous act of terrorism and there is no justification for this brutal act”.

Let me recall the long-term commitment of the OSCE to further strengthen its engagement across the three dimensions of its work with Afghanistan, as requested by our Government and reflected in Ministerial Council Decisions No. 4/07 and 4/11. Afghanistan remains committed to the implementation of the programmes and projects, including in the area of border management and security, with our neighboring OSCE participating States.

The Helsinki+40 process provides additional opportunities to strengthen our dialogue and we pledge our active partnership to the process.

Mr.Chairman,

By the end of 2014 the ISAF and NATO military mission ended and now the ANSF are fully responsible for the security of Afghanistan. The Afghan people are grateful for the efforts, sacrifices and continued support of our partners in the International community.

The newly formed National Unity Government has now presented its cabinet nominations to the parliament and once the parliament has approved the nominees, the government will lead a national commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of opportunity in our country, at the beginning of our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). The National Unity Government will bring its full resources to realize our fundamental goals: peace, stability, prosperity, equal rights, education and justice, which are the fundamental  elements of OSCE principles.

Nonetheless, we will be continuously confronted with a number of challenges. Let me re-emphasize the necessity of effective assistance and continued  support to Afghanistan in order to consolidate what has been accomplished to this date, and to secure further improvements. We are fully aware of the fact that the current crisis in the OSCE region implies certain constraints; however we are confident that the Chairmanship will maintain and increase OSCE’s activities in Afghanistan.

In conclusion, Mr. Minister, the people of Afghanistan has a strong friendly feeling to your people which goes back to the days of our Diplomatic relations in 1954,  and we wish you, your people  and your able team here in Vienna the greatest success.

Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani in response to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-Moon

 

Thank you Mr Chairman,

 

It is my honor to join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming His Excellency Ban Ki-moon the Secretary-General of the United Nations, back to Vienna.

 

Afghanistan, since 2001 has started its new journey to rebuild the country from the ruins of more than two decades of wars and conflict. Thanks to the commitment, efforts and sacrifices of the Afghan people, supported by the continued friendship and sacrifices of our partners in the international community, has made tremendous progress and now we are on the eve of transition to the Decade of Transformation 2015-2024. As a result of democratic elections and peaceful transfer of power to the new President–for the first time in the history of Afghanistan–the new Government of National Unity has been established and it will make every effort to address the remaining challenges for the successful transformation of Afghanistan for the coming decade.

 

The United Nations has played an instrumental and central coordinating role of international community’s civilian efforts in this stabilization, democratization and transition process, to help Afghanistan for a better future. Taking this opportunity, I wish to express on behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan, my gratitude to the United Nations and in particular to you Mr. Secretary-General for your personal commitment, as a good friend of Afghanistan. We are grateful for the excellent work of UNAMA in Afghanistan, which has been done so far under the leadership of Ambassador Ján Kubiš. We thank him and wish him every success for his future endeavours.

 

The role of the United Nations in Afghanistan after the drawdown of the international community’s military presence in the country by the end of this year will remain vital to accomplish our goals, for a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. Clearly, Afghanistan has come a long way over the past thirteen years and has reached a point of no return — we will never go back to the dark ages of the Taliban era. Our constitution, institutions, and security forces are strong, but even stronger is the will of the Afghan people to establish a free, democratic, stable and peaceful country, as they have so overwhelmingly demonstrated during the latest democratic elections, earlier this year.

 

Mr Chairman,

 

We are grateful for the continued support of our friends and partners in the international community and we will never forget their sacrifices and friendship for supporting Afghanistan for a better future.

 

Thank you

Ambassador Erfani makes an intervention at the OSCE Security Committee

Ambassador Erfani makes an intervention at the OSCE Security Committee

Vienna, 15.09.2014

 

The delegation of Afghanistan was invited by the UK Chair of the Security Committee to speak at today’s session of the Security Committee, on border-related issues, in response to presentations made by Sibylle Kapferer, Border Security and International Refugee Protection, UNHCR; Manuchehr Fayzulloev, Head of Border Management Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, Nasimjon Rajabov, representative of the Department of Border Forces of the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan; Nazira Shozodaeva, Border Management Assistant, OSCE Office in Tajikistan; and Dennis Cosgrove, Head, Border Security and Management Unit, TNTD.

 

Ambassador Erfani highlighted UNHCR’s strong partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and the importance of the “Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees”, addressing the problems of Afghan refugees returning from Iran and Pakistan, via voluntary repatriation programmes, as well as about 600,000 internally displaced people.

 

In response to the presentations made by Mr. Fayzulloev and Mr. Rajabov, the Ambassador pledged continued co-operation between Afghanistan and Tajikistan in addressing transnational threats. He recalled that in October 2013, the two countries have signed three agreements of co-operation, on de-mining, cross-border co-operation and the insurance sector. At a meeting in Dushanbe, on September 12, at the margins of the 13th Annual Summit of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Tajik President Rahmon and Afghan President Karzai discussed implementation of joint programs, matters related to transit and trade, as well as bilateral co-operation in the energy sphere. “Both presidents expressed confidence toward improved peace and stability along the shared border and a successful combat against trafficking of illicit drugs, precursors, arms and weapons, as well as disruption of terrorist activities which pose serious threats not only to our two countries but to the whole region and beyond”, Ambassador Erfani noted.

 

“Ms. Shozodaeva and Mr. Cosgrove gave us an insightful look into their work and we appreciate both the important work of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan and the Border Security and Management Unit of OSCE’s Transnational Threats Department”, the Ambassador said when replying to their excellent presentations. The Border Management Staff College (BMSC) in Dushanbe opened in May 2009 as a centre of excellence and plays a crucial role in tackling cross-border threats. A number of Afghan senior border officials have already benefitted from transfer of knowledge and capacity building programs at the college.

 

Before closing, Mr. Ambassador made mention of today’s International Day of Democracy, declared by the UN General Assembly in 2007. “We are reminded to uphold the values, norms and principles of the United Nations Charter. Afghanistan is a young democracy and reiterates its commitment to the Charter”, Ambassador Erfani said.

 

Finally, Mr. Ambassador thanked once again all speakers for your inspiring presentations and the UK Chairperson of the Security Committee for the opportunity to speak.

 

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Response by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani to the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, H.E. Ivica Dačić at the OSCE

Response by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani to the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, H.E. Ivica Dačić

OSCE – 1008 the (special) meeting of the Permanent Council / 15.07.2014

 

Mr. Chairperson,
Minister,
Excellencies,

Afghanistan joins other delegations in warmly welcoming His Excellency Ivica Dačić, First Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia to the OSCE Permanent
Council. We thank you, Excellency Mr. Minister, for your insightful remarks while presenting
your priorities for the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship in 2015, and for your close collaboration with
Switzerland, as stated by our Chair, Ambassador Dr. Thomas Greminger. This is an excellent
example of close co-operation and co-ordination between incoming and outgoing
chairmanships in the history of the OSCE.

Afghanistan has been transformed into a better place for its citizens as a result of our decade-
long and continuing partnership with our friends in the international community, including the
OSCE. We are a committed partner of the OSCE and are dedicated to engaging with the Serbian
2015 Chairmanship on its priorities. Your Excellency, Afghanistan recognizes the joint two-year
work plan of the consecutive Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships as being an excellent opportunity
towards continuity and consistent activities. We appreciate our excellent work relations with
the current Swiss Chairmanship and look forward to close co-operation with the Serbian
Chairmanship in 2015, with the capable Ambassador Vuk Žugić, and we trust that Afghanistan
will remain high on the OSCE’s agenda.

In this context, I wish to note that we would appreciate if a supportive declaration on
Afghanistan could be agreed upon by participating States at the Basel Ministerial Council, and if
we could move towards more active engagement between the OSCE participating and partner
States in the framework of the Helsinki+40 process.
In closing, let me state that we highly value our historic relationship with Serbia and hope that
during the Serbian 2015 OSCE Chairmanship these relations will be further advanced. We wish
you, Mr. Minister and the people of Serbia, continued success and prosperity.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

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

Statement to High Commissioner for Human rights at the 1006th OSCE PC

STATEMENT BY H.E. AMBASSADOR AYOOB ERFANI IN RESPONSE TO THE STATEMENT BY NAVI PILLAY, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

 At the 1006th Permanent council meeting of the OSCE

3 July 2014

Vienna, Austria

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The promotion and protection of Human Rights is one of the main priorities for Afghanistan – a country whose citizens suffered more than enough, due to prolonged three decades of conflict, and they continue to be victims of terrorist attacks in the country.

 

It is a great pleasure for my delegation to join previous distinguished speakers to warmly welcome the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay to the Permanent Council, and we applaud you Madam High Commissioner for your great efforts over the past six years to promote and protect human rights around the globe.

 

Your tireless commitment to raise awareness about modern-day challenges to human rights has been critical to the prevention of human rights violations, among them in post conflict countries including Afghanistan.

 

We agree with you that the work of 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 the realization of fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Afghanistan apprecites and supports your continued calls for equality, for a free press, for good governance and combating corruption, among many other critical factors in this area.

 

As you know, Afghanistan – with the help of our international partners – has accomplished a lot over the past decade, including a much improved human rights record of its citizens, in particular the rights of women and children, although certain challenges are still ahead of us. Yet, let me mention Afghanistan’s constitution, the independent media as well as our vibrant civil society as clear indicators that Afghanistan is on the right track into our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). With full and equal participation of the women, youth and civil society of Afghanistan in all spheres of our society, we are confident about our future.

 

Based on its achievement on the area of Human Rights and its commitments to the standards and mandate of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, Afghanistan also introduced its candidate for the post of High Commissioner of this body.

 

In closing, I would like to reiterate Afghanistan’s commitments to the universal values of human rights and wish you, Madam High Commissioner Navi Pillay, all the best and every success in your future endeavors.

 

Thank you

 

 

Statement at the 1004th PC in response to head of OSCE centre in Astana

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Erfani in response to the presentation by Ambassador Natalia Zarudna of the OSCE Centre in Astana, at the 1004th  Permanent Council Meeting of the OSCE

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to join the previous speakers to warmly welcome Ambassador Natalia Zarudna, Head of OSCE Centre in Astana back to the Permanent Council and thank her for the informative annual report.

We highly value the OSCE’s efforts in Kazakhstan, and believe that Ambassador Zarudna’s continued efforts will have long-lasting, positive effects for the region. Therefore, on behalf of Afghanistan, I would like to extend our gratitude to the Ambassador Zaradna and her team in Astana.

We would like to applaud the OSCE’s efforts in Astana regarding the organization of training workshops on explosive hazards, which included experts from Afghanistan. Thanks to the training and technical support by our partners, including the OSCE, there is a clear downward trend in IED explosives in the country, however, still hundreds of civilians, and military personnel become victims each year to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Any assistance from the OSCE to fight IEDs will be appreciated. We believe that the OSCE has the capacity to do more in assisting Afghanistanto tackle the remaining issues and challenges and further contribute to stabilityand sustainable development in the country.

I was delighted Mr. Chairman, to hear about the successful round of the Annual Central Asian Youth Network Seminar in Astana.  Central Asia is so deeply connected, not only geographically but also economically and culturally, that a seminar for our future leaders discussing transnational threats and organized crimes, also related to Afghanistan, is highly important to the future of this region.

On this note I would also like to commend Ambassador Zarudna about the OSCE’s involvement to promote synergy in environmental activities with regional implications. I would like to reiterate that the involvement of the next generation of leaders, including Afghanistan where 75% of its population is under the age of 25, is essential to the stability and advancement of the region, and thus we thank the Centre for organizing the nine-day training seminar for the Central Asian Leadership Program.

Therefore we thank the OSCE Office in Astana and the FSC Support Section for assisting us in these matters.

Dear colleagues,

Afghanistan considers Kazakhstan to be one of its closest partners in the region and enjoys an excellent relationship with Kazakhstan.

In recent years, the friendship between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan has only grown deeper in being an ally and supporter in the ongoing stabilization and democratization process in the country. Presently over 2,000 Afghan citizens are residing in Kazakhstan and 600 of our brightest students are studying in higher education institutes in Kazakhstan.

The numerous meetings between the Presidents of two countries;the exchange of high level delegations between Astana and Kabul; the establishment and expansion of the Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Co-operation, which has led us to sign an agreement encouraging and supporting investments between our countries, are examples of our expanding friendly and familiar relationship.

Kazakhstan, as good friend, has supported Afghanistanthrough a number of bilateral and regional mechanismsand has actively joined our partners in the International community to assist Afghanistan, in the development and stabilizationprocess since 2001. The people of Afghanistan are grateful to the people and Government of Kazakhstan, as they continue to support Afghanistan in a wide range of areas, including education, commerce, industry, regional infrastructure, development, disaster management and fighting illicit drugs. Kazakhstan has supported Afghanistan in its continued regional integration and confidence building efforts, in particular the Istanbul Process (Heart of Asia). At this point, I would also like to highlight the support we have received from Kazakhstan in our bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

We feel extremely happy to witness the further growth, progress and developments in Kazakhstan in all dimensions and wish for the continued prosperity and success of our friendly country of Kazakhstan.

In conclusion, let me thank you Ambassador Zarudna personally for all the good work you have accomplished and wish you and your team continued success in Astana.

 

Thank you.

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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