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H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani welcomed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) by the IR of Iran and the 5+1 group

Vienna, 24.01.2014   H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani addressed the IAEA Board of Governors Special Session on Monitoring and Verification in the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to the Joint Plan of Action Monitoring Irans Nuclear Program. Ambassador Erfani praised the  progress on the ongoing implementation of the Joint Plan of Action agreed on November 24th, 2013. He stated that “We congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran on the ongoing positive and promising development in relation to the cooperation between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic of Iran; and we welcome the start of the implementation process of the JPA on January 20, as an initial and practical step of the implementation process of the Geneva Agreement by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the 5+1 group”.

Ambassador Erfani reiterated  Afghanistan’s  position on the peaceful and diplomatic solution of Iran’s nuclear programme and expressed his hope that the implementation of the JPA could mark a practical step to restore the international community’s confidence on the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, that could lead to a comprehensive, lasting and peaceful solution of Iran’s nuclear issue.

He added that “Afghanistan reaffirms its position on the inalienable right of all states to access and use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and reiterates its position on the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free-zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East,  as a positive step towards our continued call on the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the region as well as attaining the objective of global nuclear disarmament”.

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.

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani meets the Ambassadors of the five Central Asian OSCE participating States to discuss the outcome document on Afghanistan of the upcoming OSCE Ministerial Council (Kyiv/Ukraine, December 5-6, 2013)

Vienna, 07.10.13     Today, Ambassador Erfani met the Ambassadors of the  five Central Asian OSCE participating States — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan —   to discuss the Kyiv OSCE Ministerial Council’s outcome document on Afghanistan.

At the meeting, proposed by the Tajik Ambassador, Ambassador Erfani briefed his colleagues on Afghanistan’s expectations of the outcome document to be adopted in Kyiv. Ambassador Erfani stated that Afghanistan gives great importance to its relationship with the OSCE and that the “backbone of Afghanistan’s foreign policy is and will remain a commitment to good relations with our partners in the region”.  The Ambassador added that Afghanistan is proud of its achievements over the past 12 years and remains grateful for the support from the OSCE and its neighbors, especially as part of the Confidence-Building Measures of the ‘Heart of Asia’ process. He noted “Our goal for the OSCE is for the organization to play a more proactive role in strengthening regional co-operation, which will be even more relevant during the Decade of Transformation. Our expectation of this political declaration is for it to be a supportive document, which will contribute to a stable region and help to address Afghanistan’s challenges, which also remain challenges to the region”.

Ambassador Erfani stressed that strengthening the relationship with Afghanistan’s neighbors remains a priority of Afghan foreign policy. In addition, Afghanistan maintains its commitment to discuss all relevant issues with its neighbors, including close co-operation on outcome documents. These views were supported by the other Ambassadors who expressed the need for further co-operation and communication on a bilateral level. Ambassador Erfani raised the necessity for a ‘Friends of Afghanistan’ working group to discuss and develop methods to deal with different issues. He briefed his fellow Ambassadors on the importance of such groups within the OSCE, which would be a cohesive platform for further co-operation in the Decade of Transformation. In conclusion, Ambassador Erfani thanked the Ambassadors and stated his appreciation for the important political support which Afghanistan receives from the region.                                                                                                                                                      -END-

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani made statement at the OSCE Security Committee meetIng

Vienna, 30.09.2013    At today’s meeting of the OSCE’s Security Committee, presentations on Border Security and Management in Tajikistan were made by Mr. Manuchehr Mahmudov, Head of Territorial and Border Settlement Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, and Mr. Suhrob Kaharov, Tajikistan Country Manager of the Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA), launched by the European Union in 2003.

Following the presentation by Tjikistan’s delegation, the representative of some countries, among other issues,expressed their concerns from the pssible security challenges from  Afghanistan after drow down of international security forces in 2014.

H.E. Ayoob Erfani welcomed the two speakers to the OSCE, thanked them for their excellent briefings, expressed Afghanistan’s appreciation of the friendly and brotherly relationship it enjoys with Tajikistan, and highlighted the “enhanced level of co-operation on bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral levels, as well as regional initiatives such as the Istanbul Process and international mechanisms, which are essential not just for the well-being of our two nations but for the security, stability and economic development of our entire region and beyond”.

Ambassador Erfani continued by stressing the fact that “Afghanistan is now approaching  an important milestone: the process of Transition, which will be completed at the end 2014 and which will lead us into the Decade of Transformation (2015-2024) that will mark a new era of partnership between Afghanistan and the international community.” During the 12 years of partnership with its friends in the international community, Afghanistan managed to establish all necessary institutions, including its national security forces, to defend the country against both internal and external threats. Despite great achievements in most areas, Afghanistan is still facing certain challenges, including terrorism, drugs and other organized crimes. Ambassador Erfani noted that “it is the shared responsibility of all OSCE participating and partner States to address these transnational threats and common challenges.”, and he concluded his remarks by stating that “I would like to emphasize that as of 2014, Afghanistan shall not be seen as  source of a security threat to our region, which includes five OSCE participating states;  I would like to assure you all that ,Afghanistan is committed to be a source of good neighborly relations, stability, transit, investment , exchange and connectivity in our region”.

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Ambassador Ayoob Erfani addresses IAEA General Conference

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, Permanent Rep to the UN and Resident Representative of Afghanistan to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is heading the delegation of Afghanistan to the IAEA’s 57th annual regular session of the General Conference, held in Vienna from 16 to 20 September, 2013.

In his address, Mr. Ambassador Erfani stressed the importance of the IAEA General Conference as both key international forum to reflect on today’s challenges, and venue for dialogue on secure and peaceful uses of nuclear applications and technologies, and he added that “Afghanistan, on the basis of its policy of multilateralism through strong regional and international cooperation, is ready to do its part for the success of the IAEA mandate”. Furthermore, Mr. Ambassador outlined future priorities of the Government of Afghanistan in its cooperation with the Agency, ranging from technical cooperation, in particular in the area of human health, capacity-building, and nuclear and isotopic applications in the fields of agriculture and water resource management.

Also, Mr. Ambassador emphasized that Afghanistan will remain a strong advocate of strengthened nuclear safety regimes: “Potential trans-boundary impacts of nuclear accidents remind us of the universal nature of the issue of nuclear safety.” At the same time, Afghanistan recognizes the danger of nuclear or similar radioactive materials being used in terrorist attacks and therefore supports all measures geared at reinforced global nuclear security. Ambassador Erfani also noted that robust safeguards and verification mechanisms are a prerequisite for nuclear disarmament and invites all concerned IAEA Member States to “take further steps towards nuclear disarmament”, while pledging Afghanistan’s continued commitment towards regional and international cooperation. In closing, Mr. Ambassador Erfani extended his appreciation to all those IAEA Member States which have generously contributed to the technical cooperation fund, thereby enabling implementation of vital projects in Afghanistan.

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Ambassador of Afghanistan H.E. Ayoob Erfani re-emphasizes his country´s continued commitment to strongly cooperate with the OSCE for the stability and prosperity of the region

Press Release

Vienna, 11 September 2013: H.E. Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg briefed the OSCE’s Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) at the opening session of Luxembourg’s chairmanship of the FSC about the agenda for the upcoming three months, among them the holding of two security dialogue sessions where the transition and the post-2014 situation in Afghanistan will be high on the agenda.

Mr. Asselborn emphasized the importance of Afghanistan in OSCE´s engagement for the security and stability in the region.

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani thanked Mr. Jean Asselborn for his encouraging commitment to keep Afghanistan prominently on the FSC working agenda during the upcoming months and stated:

“Afghanistan is committed to the goals of the OSCE and will make every effort for a safe, stable and prosperous region”

He added that “The regional cooperation has become a central element of the foreign policy of Afghanistan, which remains crucial for our success during the Transition to be followed by the decade of Transformation (2015-2024). H.E. Ambassador Erfani praised “the ongoing engagements of the OSCE to address the common challenges and improve the stability of our region”, and stated that “Afghanistan is committed to do its part  for the stability and prosperity of the region in strong cooperation with the OSCE.”

Presentation by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani To the annual session of field experts from UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch

Dear colleagues, dear participant ladies and gentleman, good morning.

It is a pleasure for me to participate in today’s annual session of field experts from UNOD’s terrorism prevention branch, to share with you our experiences from Afghanistan in dealing with counter-terrorism and the lessons we have drawn from this. Today, I will share with you the experiences drawn from Afghanistan, which is the prime victim of and an active partner against international terrorism as a global challenge. I will also talk about our successes, achievements, ongoing progress, remaining challenges and I will be happy to have an interactive discussion with you on this subject.

To begin with, I would like to express my gratitude to UNODC for the assistance it has given Afghanistan, and I appreciate the continued efforts and partnership of UNODC with Afghanistan in this field.

Terrorism and extremism did not exist in Afghanistan two decades ago, however during the period of war and inner turmoil in the country, terrorist organizations and radical elements moved to the country and Afghanistan, which was once a stable and peaceful nation, became a prime target and victim of terrorism, which had detrimental consequences for the country’s political and security institutions, society and economy.

Each and every day, Afghan men, women and children wake up with the fear that another brutal act of terror will occur, killing or maiming another family member or fellow citizen. Through suicide and roadside bombings, attacks on our clinics and schools, markets places and mosques, terror and violence continue to deprive the Afghan people from their rights for a peaceful life.

Dear participants ,

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 Afghanistan has come a long way, from being a lawless country, an epicenter of international terrorism and a source of regional instability. Afghanistan has begun re-building its national institutions, has established the foundations of democratic society and moved to a market economy, and has adopted a constitution that protects the rights of all its citizens, especially those of women and children.

These achievements were made through the unprecedented commitment of the international community, with the central coordinating role of the United Nations. Yet, many challenges remain – the greatest being to fight terrorism and to establish lasting peace across the whole country, and to free Afghans from decades of violence and conflict.

Afghanistan is firmly committed to defeating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and has, in this regard, spared no effort at the national, regional and international levels. Over the past 12 years since the fall of Taliban, together with our international partners, we have significantly weakened the overall capabilities of terrorist networks. As a result of our counter-terrorism efforts, a considerable number of terrorists have been curtailed in their brutal efforts, and captured, while others are being pursued.  Our state institutions have thwarted a significant number of terrorist plots across the country. Consistent with the process of Transition, the Afghan national army and police today are assuming the primary role in all security activities across 90% of Afghanistan, including counter-terrorism operations.

Our counter-terrorism policies are a key part of our national security strategy. To that effect, we have further strengthened our counter-terrorism legal framework. Afghanistan is party to all international conventions, protocols and instruments concerning terrorism, and we have adopted a multitude of national laws to combat terrorism and other forms of organized crime.  These include the Law on Combating the Financing of Terrorism; the Law on Combating Terrorist Offences; and the Law on Combating Money Laundering.

Afghanistan continues close collaboration with a wide range of relevant actors, comprising the counter-terrorism implementation task force. We encourage States which are using terrorism as a foreign policy instrument to desist from doing so and join the international community to fight this challenge. We would like the UNODC to further enhance its efforts in addressing terrorism.

We are working closely with the three counter-terrorism committees of the Security Council: the 1373, Committee’ the 1267 Committee and the 1540 Committee. In this regard, we have submitted relevant national reports on implementation, the most recent of which was our 2nd report to the 1540 Committee.

At the regional level, we are intensifying cooperation and dialogue with regional partners through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral regional processes to effectively deal with the problems of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations.  Most recently, during the “Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Almaty” Afghanistan and its regional partners reaffirmed their commitment to ensure peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and our region by implementing a broad set of confidence-building measures (CBM’s), which include counter-terrorism cooperation

A successful counter-terrorism strategy needs a comprehensive approach, including economic, security and political aspects. Such an approach requires sincere cooperation among all States, in particular in the region surrounding Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is now in an absolutely crucial phase. The process of transitioning security responsibilities to Afghan National Security Forces is reaching its final stages. As I speak, the security for over 90 percent of the Afghan population is led by Afghan Security Forces.  Afghanistan’s national security forces amount to 350,000 soldiers, and they will do their best to defend Afghanistan against any internal and external threats. From our perspective, transition is the beginning of a new era of equitable partnership between a sovereign Afghanistan and its partners in the international community during the decade of transformation and beyond.

Alongside this security transition, the peace and reconciliation process is a national priority, based on the conviction that dialogue is the most practical means for ending the conflict that plagues our country. The government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process. This includes all Afghans who are ready to renounce violence, denounce terrorism, accept the constitution, and respect human rights, especially those of women and children. “Without the active participation of Afghan women, which constitute more than 50% of Afghanistan’s population, there will not be a stable, just and prosperous Afghanistan”.

The upcoming 2014 presidential elections will be a milestone in Afghanistan’s democratization process, and the government is doing its upmost to guarantee a free and fair election, and ensure a successful transition to a decade of transformation, which is against the will of terrorist elements in our region.

Dear Participants,

We all must keep in our minds that Afghanistan as a traditional moderate society, that strongly stands against all forms of terrorism and extremism, urgently needs a peaceful life and the international community must remain committed in their support for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Terrorist networks and ideological centers are not present in Afghan towns and villages, they operate primarily from their centers and sanctuaries based outside Afghanistan.

As a country that has been at the forefront in the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan has suffered immensely in terms of human and material loss. A significantly high number of Afghans, including civilians, tribal and religious figures, law-enforcement personnel and government officials have lost their lives as a result of terrorism.   Nevertheless, such attacks will not deter our commitment to achieving lasting peace and security.  We are firmly committed to making sure that the sacrifices made along the way will not go in vain. We, in Afghanistan, will remain as resolute as ever in our partnership with the international community to fight against terrorism, and secure a better life for our future generation.

Thank you!



Statement by Ambassador Erfani at UNODC 4th Session of the Review Group

UNODC 4th Session of the Review Group ( 27-31 May 2013, BR-D, C Building)

H.E. Ambassador Erfani, Statement

Background Information:

The Implementation Review Group was established by the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in its resolution 3/1  entitled ‘Review Mechanism’ as an open-ended intergovernmental group of states parties to operate under its authority and report to it.  The Group is to have an overview of the review process in order to identify challenges and good practices and to consider technical assistance requirements in order to ensure effective implementation of the Convention.

A briefing for permanent missions to the UN in Vienna was held on Monday 18th of March 2013, on the requirements of the Mechanisms for the Review of Implementation of the UNCAC and arrangeents forseen for the fourth session of the Implementation Review Group. The Conference adopted resolution 4/1 entitled ‘Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of the UNCAC’ at its fourth session held in Marrakech, Morocco, 24-28 October 2011. In that Resolution the Conference endorsed the guidelines for governmental experts and the secretariat in the conduct of country reviews and the blueprint for country review reports.

UNCAC and Afghanistan

Afghanistan became a signatory of the UNCAC in 2004, the Convention was then ratified in 2008. The government of Afghanistan undertook a series of measures to combat corruption. UNODC and other international bodies undertook studies aimed at providing an analysis of the prevalence and problems related to corruption. The UNCAC is particularly important for Afghanistan given its tumultous past and the transition period it has embarked on in recent years. Hence, the combating of corruption is essential for the country’s political and economic development, the strenghtening of the Rule of Law and the fair, even improvements made in the quality of living standards. According to UNCAC, corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. Therefore, any success in combating corruption will have a direct, positive effect in combating terrorism, the illicit drugs trade and organized crime.

The United Nations’ objectives against administrative corruption are aimed at the following targets:

1- Improving actions against administrative corruption in order to make them more sufficient and effective.

2- Spread, facilitate and support international and technical assistance in the prevention and fight against administrative corruption.

3- Dispersing of deposits, answering for or accountability and proper administration of public affairs and common property.

Definitions of Corrpution and Typologies:

Corruption can be encountered in various forms, therefore it can be defined in several ways. According to the Afghan Strategy for Anti-Corruption, corruption in the administrative  sphere represents any acts which lead to the abuse of public properties for personal benefit and can often sometimes be construed as taking bribes. However corruption exists in many other forms in addition to the two above mentioned types. For instance, nepotism, cronyism, intercession, influencing actions to gain of personal benefits, illegal use of government income, not paying taxes, money laundering, theft of public properties, defalcation, embezzlement, the cultivation, production and smuggling of drugs, election violation, etc.

As administrative corruption is against the legal activities, it is also counted as national, cultural, economic and historical benefits violation of the society and country. Corruption is imposed on the people and society in an organized manner inside the structure of the government either by corrupt bands of individuals and separately by persons. Any type of corruption is a crime and deverves its punishment. Corruption hampers economic and social development and causes difficultiues in the law and social justice.

Corruption usually affects the life of poor people and disrupts the strategies of the government in implementing projects targeted at poverty reduction. Corruption creates dissatisfaction, distrust and causes distances between the people and governmental units. Although a decisive solution for this issue requires long-term efforts, taking measures and outlining an effective draft in the national strategic agenda has crucial value that can be achieved through public awareness and attraction of public cooperation so that an effective and gradual struggle can be launched.

UNODC Research in Afghanistan on Corruption

According to a study conducted by UNODC in Afghanistan in 2012 political corruption very often receives the greatest attention due to its visible impact on political decision-making and good governance. Still the pervasive and devastating impact of administrative corruption in the everyday lives of Afghan people receives considerable less publicity. A survey conducted in 2009 by UNODC in Afghanistan pointed out that corruption, together with insecurity and unemployment represent the main challenges facing the country, these having been listed ahead of poverty and extenal inteference in the government sphere. A survey conducted by UNODC in 2012 listed corruption on the second spot, behind insecurity and ahead of unemployment as the principal challenges facing Afghanistan.  The findings also revealed that the delivery of public services remains severely affected by bribery, something which also has a major impact on the country’s economy. Furthermore certain worrying trends have emerged, such as an increase in the frequency of bribery and the vulnerability of the educational sector to corruption.

According to surveys the population of Afghanistan believs that corruption is a major problem in their country, furthermore this problem affects their confidence in the elected government. A large part of the people who had participated in the survey (UNODC lead project, 2012) have confessed to have paid bribery several times or regularly during a certain period of time. Corruption and implicitly bribery are encountered in all spheres of society, be it the government, the civil service, the health and education systems, and lastly, the economy. The process of contracting, administration and investment of international funds and development aid also represent spheres in which corruption unfortunatley is to be encountered as well and can potentially hinder the implementation of development prpgrammes and diminish delivery rates. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the USD 8bn of international annual aid pledged to the Afghanistan beyond 2014 can easily be robbed by the endemic corruption existing in the government.

In spite of existing legislation and adherence to international conventions and treaties aimed at tackling corruption, this problem persists and is considered to be one of the greatest afflictions to the country and its present government. When it comes to the illicit drugs and the cultivation of poppy fields, together with all the activities associated with drugs trade, consumption and smuggling, corruption represents the engine which fuells such pernicious activities.

The reasons for this state of affairs are various. In the case of civil servants, low pay is often cited as the motive for which individuals accept bribes and consider these to be harmeless and acceptable.  A certain type of culture which tolerated these acts and favoured nepotism was aslo prevalent in  Afghanistan during the past century. Because the government had often found it difficult in the past to extend its sphere of influence into tribal, rural areas, practices related to corruption could not be effectively scrutinized and properly addressed.

Efforts Undertaken by the Governmnet of Afghanistan against Corruption

According to the Strategy and Policy for Anti-Corruption and Administrative Reform (the first commission was held in 2006), corruption is mostly imposed in an oppressive manner and some corruption is based on unholy alliances between internal parties, therefore it happens based on unholy treaties  between parties. Any type of corruption is prohibited and is in violation with existing legal regulations, national benefit and humanitarian values.

At present, the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan, as the main collector of revenues and customs taxes find itself in a favorable position to combat corruption and create a good reputation for the government of Afghanistan. In this respect, an Anti-Corruption Programme was launched as a prevention and awareness raising method to tackle corruption. Additionally, it also provides a complaints mechanism with a telephone hotline and an online complaints form. A set of procedures were put in place so that all complaints can be dealt with consistently and legally. Generally speaking, in order to address the issue of corruption the Ministry of Finance also seeks to promote good governance best practices within the public sector. In August 2006, President Hamid Karzai gave a Presidential Decree regarding the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission and Reforms in the Civil Service. Following this procedure, a commission was established. This is responsible for drafting strategies, procedures regarding institutional reforms, and combating corruption through designing long –term, medium- term, and short- term plans in three months; and for reporting back their conclusions to the Office of the President of IRA.

Present Situation and a Way Forward

After three decades of ongoing war, the remaining framework for governance, their structure and administrative systems were obsolete and had a nepotism style that could not organize nor provide the kind of public services required by the existing situation. In addition, the assignment of persons and employees had no rational and appropriate basis which had caused further corruption and disorder. Structural expansion was subsequently identified as one of the significant factors in corruption.

Still, at present inappropriate appointments and selections take place based on relationships rather than regulation; its undesirable results are clear and obvious to all. Political and partisan relationships, tribal and regional relationships, family relationships, bribing in appointing and then continuously paying of bribes for appointments and transfers were often taking place. It continues to be mostly seen that people are appointed, transferred and promoted in the government administrations based on their tribal and regional relationships. Therefore this created an unhealthy social and work environment.

However I would also like to mention that as in every society, corruption and bribery are not exclusive to the employees of the public sector or to local inhabitants, and Afghanistan is no exception. Various different individuals, groups, entities and organizations external to the public administration of Afghanistan, such as the private business sector, may demand illicit payments in retun of certain favors or preferential treatment.

The government of Afghanistan are activelty trying to reduce corruption and punish those responsible using legal mecchanism which are in place. The UNCAC has provided us with a framework for operation and instruments that have helped our country deal with corruption. We are realsitic and I admit that any system infected with corruption can not change over night, furthermore, I doubt there is a country where there are zero levels of corruption. However, the government of Afghanistan is conscious that corruption is a highly serious matter for our country and our population, that is why reducing it is our primary goal. We consider that the upcoming elections in 2014 will represent a test for our government and our commitment to UNCAC and its improved effectiveness, one which we will pass, I am confident, demonstrating that fair and free elections can successfully be achieved.

Closing Remarks

Your Excellencies, dear friends and colleagues, thank you very much for your attention.