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Tag Archives: H.E. Ayoob Erfani


Ambassador Erfani opens the colloquium on Afghan women.

Ambassador Erfani opens the colloquium on Afghan women.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Colleagues, Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this Colloquium on “Perspectives of Afghan Women: 2014 and Beyond”.

I would first of all like to thank the VIC and in particular, the UNODC as well as ACUNS for helping our mission to make this event possible. I appreciate your interest in Afghanistan and in particular your interest in the situation of women in Afghanistan.

The issue of women’s rights and gender mainstreaming is gravely important and one that is close to our heart. Despite Afghanistan’s recent history of decades-long conflict where the women of Afghanistan became the prime victim and regardless of and remaining challenges among them the on-going violence against women, we are in the process of transitioning from three decades of war and transforming into a stable and democratic society.

The post-Taliban Afghanistan, thanks to the commitment of its people and the continued support by our partners in the International community, has made excellent achievements, including on the empowerment of women. The Government of Afghanistan has taken specific steps at the national, regional and international level to meet its obligations to improve the situation of women. We have the most progressive Constitution in the history of Afghanistan, which provides equal rights and duties before the law for both men and women.

Today, Afghan women participate in all levels of society; as members of the executive, judiciary and legislative branches in the Government, as civil society and NGO activists, and as a whole they are actively taking part in the on-going Transition process of Afghanistan to the Transformation Decade.

As in the past, when I have discussed women’s empowerment I have always emphasised that without the active participation of women, who constitute over 50% of the Afghan population, we will be unable to realise our visions for a democratic, stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

It is therefore my privilege to introduce today our two distinguished panelists Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj.

Ms Seraj was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and graduated from Malalai High School for girls and Kabul University. After 26 years in exile, she returned to Afghanistan at the end of 2003, and has since been working with the women and children of Afghanistan. She is the creator of a radio program for women called “Our Beloved Afghanistan by Mahbouba Seraj” which has been broadcast all over Afghanistan. She is a member of the Afghan Women Coalition Against Corruption and is also Executive Board Member and Chair of the Afghan Women Network or AWN, the biggest women network in Afghanistan.

Ms. Seraj has been a tireless advocate for women’s rights, pushing for women’s participation in the Peace Jirga, as well as in the High Peace Council. She and other women’s rights advocates were responsible in raising women participation at the 2011 Bonn Conference and 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan.

Ms. Naderi commenced her primary and secondary education in Kabul and Baghlan provinces, and completed her baccalaureate in 2001 in Harrow female High School in the United Kingdom. In 2004, she joined the Law Faculty at the Westminster International University in Tashkent and from 2004 to 2005 she was the representative to the faculty.

Ms. Naderi is currently a member of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) of Afghanistan’s Parliament, representing Kabul Province. She has also been a member of the Commission on Women’s Affairs, Human rights and Civil Society and has participated in the IPU Assembly in Geneva, where she was elected the President of the Human Rights & Democracy Committee. She is also the only female to have participated in three consecutive Chantilly Conferences, organized by the Foundation for Strategic Research

Please join me in giving Ms Naderi and Ms Seraj a warm welcome.


Thank you, Mr Moderator.

G-77 + China celebrates their 50th Anniversary

G-77 + China  Group of Ambassadors

G-77 + China
Group of Ambassadors

Photo of the G-77 +China Ambassador’s on the opening day of the week-long 50th Anniversary celebrations

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 was received by H.E. Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer

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

Ambassador Ayoob Erfani discusses gender issues at the OSCE

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

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

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

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

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 met Dr. Ernst Vitek, Director of Botany at Vienna’s Museum of Natural History

Vienna, 23.09.2013

H.E. Ayoob M. Erfani today visited Vienna’s Museum of Natural History (NHM) where he met Dr. Ernst Vitek, Director of Botany, who showed the Ambassador around the museum, in the spirit of the museum’s fine tradition of strong external cooperation. The Museum regularly conducts external collecting expeditions, hence its Department of Botany holds specimen from all over the world, with its herbarium possessing numerous historically important collections.

Remarkably, it also holds the world’s largest collection of Afghan plant materials. Dr. Vitek explained his work in the library of the museum, where countless boxes can be found, each containing a dried and preserved plant, which has been identified and labelled, including information about its locality. In the 1960s, a botanist established a herbarium for Kabul University and another one for NHM. Ever since, Asia has ranked among NHM’s geographical focuses: The Orient, The Caucasus and the region of Flora Iranica. Mr. Ambassador Erfani emphasized the importance of enabling Kabul University with access to that database so that both academics and students can utilize it, with a view to adding new information as they continue to study the ecology of the country. There are about 20,000 plants of the Kabul University Herbarium, with a total of 70,000 plants from around the globe – all available online with images, presenting a great potential resource for the Agriculture Faculty, the Botany Faculty and other related faculties. Dr. Vitek generously indicated the Museum’s readiness to assist with instructions, by stating that he and his team would either be willing to travel to Kabul University to run a workshop on how to use the database, or else host a team from Kabul in Vienna to become conversant with the system.
Mr. Ambassador Erfani thanked Dr. Vitek for his time and both pledged to remain in close contact.
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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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H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani addresses the annual session of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch Field Experts

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was invited to make a keynote presentation at today’s annual session of field experts from UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch, in order to share Afghanistan’s experiences and efforts at the national, regional, and international level to combat terrorism.

In his opening remarks, H.E. the Ambassador commended the work of UNODC’s counter-terrorism experts against the global threat of terrorism and, in particular, appreciated the continued efforts and partnership of UNODC with Afghanistan in this field.

H.E., the Ambassador, provided a comprehensive picture of Afghanistan’s experiences. He outlined Afghanistan’s successes and challenges, achievements and ongoing progress, and made general remarks on how terrorism impacts his country, the region and the world as a whole. “Afghanistan was once a stable and peaceful nation, until it became a prime target and victim of terrorism, which has had detrimental consequences to the country’s political and security institutions, society and economy”.

Ambassador Erfani stated that 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 women and children. He added that 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. The Ambassador talked about the ongoing transition process in the country, as the beginning of a new era of equitable partnership between sovereign Afghanistan and its partners in the international community.  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.

Additionally, the reconciliation process remains one of Afghanistan’s most urgent priorities and 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 Ambassador concluded his presentation by urging the global community to keep in mind that Afghanistan is a moderate society, which remains at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and extremism; and urges the international community to remain committed in their support of Afghanistan for the cause of peace and stability. He reminded attendees that terrorist networks and ideological centers are not present in Afghan towns and villages, terrorism operate primarily from its centers based outside Afghanistan.

“In order to contribute to the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan is party to all relevant regional and international legal instruments, and strongly encourages other States to commit to the same degree”. The Ambassador encourages States which are using terrorism as a foreign policy instrument to desist from doing so. Ambassador Erfani also recommended that UNODC further enhance its efforts in building national capacities.

Following the presentation, Ambassador Erfani answered questions raised by participants.