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Welcoming Remarks by H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Opening Session of the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of g7+ 23 March 2016, Kabul

Kabul, 23.03.2016

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

His Excellency President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani,

Excellencies,

Honorable Delegates of the g7plus

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you all to the 4th Ministerial meeting of the g7+ countries here in Kabul. We are delighted to host this important gathering, which is of particular importance to the people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and signifies our steadfast commitment to advancing the important goals of our group.

Your presence here under the theme of “from Dili to Kabul and Beyond: Pathways Toward Resilience” expresses a strong sense of solidarity and commitment towards maintaining the momentum which the g7plus envisioned in 2010.

Since its inception, the g7plus has evolved into one of the most important cross-regional fragile state groupings in the realm of international relations and development.  It provides a unique platform for genuine cooperation between fragile States and more broadly, with our international development partners to overcome the many challenges that confront us in the security, social and developmentspheres.

We will have His Excellency President Ghani deliver the keynote address, in which he will outline various aspects of the policies and strategies that we have initiated to achieve our peace-building and State-building goals (PSGs).

I will, therefore, be brief in highlighting the overall context of our state-building efforts.

Excellencies, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although the constituting members of g7plus belong to diverse regions from Asia to Africa and from Middle East to Latin America, our experiences in peace building and development are common and so are our challenges. Dealing with these decades of challenges has made us realize the importance of coming together.

It is also pertinent to mention that 18 out of the 20 members of the g7plus group are also Least Developed Countries (LDCs) including Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a country that has experienced a myriad of challenges ranging from armed conflicts and combating terrorism and extremism, to developing viable institutions, and rehabilitating the social fabric of our society, which was decimated as a result of the decades-long conflict.

Yet, over the past fifteen years – with the generous assistance from international partners – we have made considerable progress in various domains that helped put us on the path to achieve a new Afghanistan.

Despite these gains, we are far from where we want to be.  We fully understand that our security and stability ultimately rests on our ability to make steady and substantial progress on the goals that we, in the g7+ grouping, are collectively seeking to achieve.

That includes improving security and promoting peace; strengthening governance and the rule of law; enhancing capacity and transparency in our institutions for effective service delivery; as well as building our infrastructure and increasing private sector investment to spur economic activity and lift our people out of poverty.

In this context, the Government of Afghanistan is adamantly focused on implementing our reform agenda, which we presented at the international London Conference on Afghanistan in November 2014. As we move forward, we (are) pleased that the international community will continue to stand beside us as a committed partner, in support of our state-building efforts.

To our many international partners represented here today:  we deeply appreciate the important work that you continue to render, in support of our peace and stability.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Afghanistan believes that the adoption of the New Deal marked a truly momentous occasion in the development of a more effective result-oriented partnership between fragile and conflict-effected States, with our development partners.

With this initiative, the nature of North-South cooperation has changed for the better, whereby the international community is increasingly channeling greater portions of official development assistance, in accordance with the national development strategies and priorities of fragile states.

Needless to say, challenges remain.  We, therefore, must remain vigilant and increase our collaboration. Let us benefit from each other’s experience, and work to ensure that levels of development aid-delivery are proportionate with the assistance needs of concerned countries.

Equally important, it remains imperative that the donor community channels its assistance in a manner that will also reinforce the principle of national ownership, and strengthen national capacities of state and non-State actors, including civil society and the business community.

Afghanistan welcomes the increased number of feasibility assessments conducted by the members of our group. Conducted at the country level, these assessments feature a concise and detailed analysis of the underlying sources of conflict and stability in fragile settings.

For our part, Afghanistan has been actively engaged in the implementation of the New Deal since 2011,with the Ministry of Finance taking the lead on this important issue.

My esteemed colleague, Finance Minister Hakimi, will present the findings of our New Deal Fragility Assessment, entitled: “Afghanistan’s Pathway Towards Stability and Resilience.”  We are sure that it will be of great interest to you all.

Excellencies, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last September in New York, at the Summit Meeting of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the international community adopted the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The integration of the Peace and State-building goals in the 2030 development agenda was a welcoming event that will serve to benefit the g7+ grouping.  Nevertheless, we must (NOT) lose focus on the task at hand.

The onus is on us (to) undertake every effort to increase our coordination and collaboration, and leverage the full range of resources to implement the five peace-building and state-building goals,as a central component of our overall efforts to meeting the MDG’s and SDG’s.

We are convinced that so long as we stand firm in our shared commitment, we will succeed in our“transition from fragility to resiliency,” and transform the slogan of “Goodbye Conflict – Welcome Development”  into reality!

To conclude, let me state that Afghanistan stands fully committed to working closely with all members of our group to advance our common peace and development agenda.   We look forward to adoption of our Strategic Road Map for 2016-2017 at the conclusion of our meeting!

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is now my honor to invite His Excellency the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to deliver the keynote address.

Thank you!

– E N D –

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan receives Ambassadors of European Countries to Kabul

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Kabul, 08.02.2016

H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani, met this afternoon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Ambassadors of Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden; the Chargé d’Affaires of Norway; and the Deputy Representative of the European Union and the representative of the European Union Police in Afghanistan.

Pointing to the Afghan peace talks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “As a result of three meetings of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China, the road map of Afghan peace talks has been completed and agreed by the four members. The fourth meeting of (QCG) will be convened on February 23, 2016 in Kabul.”

On commencement of direct talks between the Afg
han government and the Taliban, Minister Rabbani added that based on the decision of (QCG), it is expected that by the end of February this year the date for direct talks will be determined and announced.

While talking on issues of Afghan refugees in the European countries as well as discussions with European Unions and its members, Minister Rabbani added, “The Afghan government wants to reach a comprehensive understanding with European countries before the Brussels and Warsaw meetings.”

Minister Rabbani also added that the Afghan government is seeking support from European countries towards implementing its programs to stop migrants and pave the ground for those who wish to return voluntarily to the country.

– E N D –

Director General for Border Affairs and Security Cooperation addresses OSCE’s Security Committee

Vienna, 18.12.2015

Ms. Farishta Sakhi, the Director General for Border Affairs and Security Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan delivered a presentation at this week’s Security Committee of the OSCE. Ms. Sakhi discussed the implications of political and security transitions in Afghanistan and briefed participants about the reform agenda of the National Unity Government and shared her views regarding the latest developments concerning the Resolute Support Mission and the Government’s response to current and emerging security threats. The Director General also briefed the committee about renewed efforts toward peace and reconciliation, while highlighting the regional dimension of the security architecture. Ms. Sakhi highlighted the importance of Afghanistan’s collaboration with the OSCE for the past twelve years, including in the area of border affairs and security cooperation and shared her perspective of areas that can be further expanded under this partnership in view of the needs and priorities associated with the Decade of Transformation. Afghanistan has been an OSCE Partner for Co-operation since 2003.

In closing, Ms. Sakhi thanked the OSCE and all donors for both implementation of the projects and programmes and generous contributions provided, and looked ahead to next year’s Warsaw NATO Summit as well as the international conference on Afghanistan in Brussels, to be held in July and October, respectively. Ms. Sakhi visited Vienna as a member of a ministerial delegation attending high-level meetings at UNODC.

 – E N D –

Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani delivers press conference on the Sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference for Afghanistan (RECCA)

 

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Kabul, 04.09.2015

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan hosted the Sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference for Afghanistan (RECCA-VI) in Kabul. During the two day conference, technical working groups, academic sessions and senior officials met to discuss issues relating to regional cooperation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, during his press conference regarding RECCA, stated that the conference was important not as a means of finding finances for Afghanistan but rather to create an effective regional economic and trade mechanism. He noted that all regional countries would benefit from the work done in the RECCA projects and that establishing a constructive engagement through regional cooperation and active diplomacy will result in a win-win situation for the region.

H.E. Rabbani noted contributions from the participants of the conference including welcoming, “the Heart of Asia Process regarding the regional cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan and emphasized that there should be further coordination between the Heart of Asia Process and RECCA projects which have priority.”

H.E. Rabbani concluded his statements noting that, “The participants appreciated and thanked the United Nations, European Union, and other international financial organizations and the Government of Afghanistan also appreciated and thanked all the countries for their active presence in this conference which brings encouragement and hope for Afghanistan’s bright economic and security future.”

 – END –

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release Regarding the Postponement of the Second Meeting of Formal Peace Negotiations with the Afghan Taliban Movement

July 30, 2015

Kabul – The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan regrets the postponement of the second meeting of formal peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban movement, which was scheduled for July 31st, 2015 in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as always, is committed to the peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban movement and hopes that the aforementioned meeting will be held in the near future.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan believes that in the current situation, peace negotiations are possible than any time before; therefore, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for sincere cooperation of all the relevant actors in supporting the Afghan Government’s efforts towards a lasting peace in the country and the region.

HE FM Rabbani’s Opening Speech at the International Contact Group

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May 21, 2015

 

Your Excellency Mr. President,

Distinguished Ministers and Delegates,

Honorable Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From the outset, I would like to welcome you all to the 16th meeting of the International Contact Group in Kabul.

Please allow me to first honor the immense sacrifices and invaluable investments you have made for a more just, peaceful and democratic Afghanistan.

Thank you all very much for your presence here today,

We are gathering here at a very crucial time when two significant processes, the democratic transition of power and the assumption of full responsibility by our National Defense and Security Forces, have come to a conclusive end.

The completion of these processes has made two things very clear:

First, Afghanistan is moving forward responsibly to overcome the challenges, and make the best of opportunities to strengthen democratic processes.

Second, our friends and partners have a long-term commitment to the success of these processes, and will continue to support our people’s aspirations for realizing self-reliance, peace and stability.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan has achieved substantial progress over the past decade in many areas ranging from health to education, economy, human rights, women’s empowerment and governance.

But certain challenges still remain, particularly in the area of security, which often cast shadows over our achievements in other areas.

Safeguarding and consolidating these, hard-earned gains and addressing the challenges we face, will require close collaboration among all of us.

The strong will of the National Unity Government which is reflected well in the leadership of His Excellency President Ghani and His Excellency Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah is making a difference on the ground, improving good governance, accountability, transparency, and preparing the environment for necessary reforms to take place effectively.

The long-term commitment of the International Community is of particular significance, providing Afghanistan with the necessary support to implement the much-needed reforms and deliver on our mutual commitments.

Distinguished delegates,

International Contact Group has been an important forum for consultation and consensus building, and I take this opportunity to profoundly thank all members of the Group for their continued support and efforts for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

I would also like to thank Ambassador Michael Koch, the German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan for his outstanding leadership, dedication and continued support to this forum.

I hope that today’s meeting of the ICG will lead to constructive discussions, and further strengthen our cooperation at all levels, particularly through better regional solutions for a more peaceful Afghanistan.

With this conclusion, I would like to invite His Excellency President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to present his keynote address. 

Your Excellency, the floor is yours!

H.E. Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani addresses NATO meeting of Foreign Ministers

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Pr na 2 Pr Na 3

 

 

 

 

 

Vienna, 14.05.2015

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu hosts a meeting of Foreign Ministers of NATO countries and NATO partners in Antalya, Turkey, on 13 and 14 of May, under the chairmanship of NATO Secretary General, H.E. Jens Stoltenberg. The Foreign Minister of Afghanistan was also invited to attend and delivered a statement.
Yesterday, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to maintain a presence in Afghanistan after the end of the Resolute Support Mission. Mr. Stoltenberg stated that “our aim will be to advise and instruct the Afghan security institutions, to help them become self-sufficient, and to build on what we have achieved so far, as part of the broader international effort.”
Foreign Minister Rabbani in his address to NATO welcomed the commitment shown by the alliance towards Afghanistan and stated that: “We received assurance from all the NATO members that their support will continue to enhance the capability of the Afghan national security forces. In the coming years, they will be standing by the Afghan people”.
General John Campbell, Commander of Resolute Support Mission, and representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, Japan, and South Korea also participated.
Foreign Minister Rabbani also met NATO Secretary General Mr. Stoltenberg and held bilateral meetings with other Foreign Ministers at the margins of the conference to discuss in detail prospects of the future cooperation.
ISAF was established by UNSCR 2001 and concluded in December 2014, making the security transition to the Resolute Support Mission.

-End-

Transcript of Speech by H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the official reception, hosting the foreign ambassadors based in Kabul

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February 24, 2015
Kabul, Afghanistan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

 

Distinguished Ambassadors,

Members of the Diplomatic Community,

Friends and Colleagues,

It is my distinct pleasure to warmly welcome you all to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this evening.

Tonight’s gathering brings together many distinguished Ambassadors and representatives of both partner countries and organizations with whom we share a common purpose:  a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.

Thank you for being here tonight!

I do not want to make this too formal, as this reception is an opportunity for all of us to relax and reconnect, but there are a few points that I would like to share briefly about where we are now, and where we are heading, particularly regarding Afghanistan’s foreign policy, as we begin the Decade of Transformation.

A year ago, there were open questions about whether Afghanistan would complete its security and political transitions without being further destabilized.

I think we all can agree that Afghanistan did weather some difficult storms in this period – most notably, the challenges associated with our difficult, but ultimately successful political transition.

Our people demonstrated patience and fortitude, and came together, in a spirit of unity, to protect and promote our national interests which resulted in the formation of the National Unity Government offering a strong foundation to build on our past progress and realize our future goals.

The successful completion of security transition is another milestone putting the Afghan National Security Forces in the lead to provide security across the country.

Although emerging from the long electoral process has made Afghan political forces more resilient, a great deal of work remains for the National Unity Government.

Restoring confidence in governance, not only with Afghans but our international partners as well; applying lessons learned from the elections to institutional reforms, so that the shortcomings of the past never happen again; enhancing the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces; and implementing effective economic policies for the country towards becoming more self-reliant are the key focus of our work in the coming months.

Beyond this, the Transformation Decade also brings with it a new phase in Afghanistan’s foreign policy, focused particularly on economic development.  A key aspect of this is regional cooperation.

President Ghani, CEO Dr. Abdullah, and I recognize the importance of our relationship with our immediate and extended neighbors and allies as defined within the five circles of Afghanistan’s foreign policy.

We endow trust in, and goodwill to our relationships with all our neighbors, regional and international partners.

We will do our utmost to enhance our friendly and effective cooperation without letting our relationship with one country overshadow our relationship with others.

We are ready to explore avenues of cooperation that would bear desired outcomes collectively while respecting our national interests.

In this regard, the most tangible progress we have made since the formation of the National Unity Government is in the area of regional diplomacy and global outreach.

This is partly a result of the clarity of vision and policy that the leadership of the National Unity Government, and President Ghani in particular, has forged in the past few months.

The core message of this new policy is consistent and straightforward:

 

  • Afghan people demand peace and stability,
  • Afghanistan is gradually, but surely realizing its role in regional and international political, security and economic spheres,
  • Finally, Afghanistan is working to enhance its role and position as a responsible member of the international community,

As we set out to achieve these objectives, we will need regional and international assistance to address the challenges we face and to fully embrace and utilize existing and emerging opportunities.

Taking this opportunity, I wish to express our gratitude to all our regional and international partners for the support they have provided to Afghanistan over the past 13 years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan’s peace and stability have direct impact on the region and beyond and the challenges we face cannot be confined to our borders nor can they be insulated or pushed into others’ backyards.

Terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crimes as well as mass human migration, are serious threats to regional stability and international order.

Overcoming these threats demand a unified and integrated response through concerted efforts and effective collaboration at both regional and international levels.

We are hopeful in being able to increase the level of regional cooperation to combat these challenges, which is vital to our common success.

Dear Friends,

There are opportunities in this region as well.  Trade, transit, communications and energy interdependence are all opportunities which can ensure the interests of all countries in the region with the implementation of effective economic policies.

Our location as a land-bridge between major economic powers offers an excellent opportunity for economic integration at both regional and international levels.

Our clarity in policy and vigorous diplomatic outreach has been well-received in the region and has helped our neighbors shape their long-term vision for partnership with Afghanistan more precisely.

The emerging regional pivot toward Afghanistan is an important outcome that involves two key interrelated elements:

First: Increased regional interest, participation and support to political, economic and security processes in Afghanistan; and

Second: The need for consensus to forge a more unified regional position in support of these processes.

One area where this consensus is beginning to take shape is,  support to advance our peace and reconciliation efforts, as the priority has been highlighted in various international and regional conferences, including those held in Brussels, London, and Beijing.

In this respect, we are in the process of boosting our engagement with a number of neighboring countries and other partners to achieve real and substantial progress.

We are also inspired by the increased interest of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and its member-states, in support of the Afghan led and owned peace process.

The OIC and its member-states can play an important role in the process, and its active engagement can have a significant impact given the instrumental misuse of Islamic teachings by terror groups and other insurgents.

With government’s strong will particularly through the leadership of the National Unity Government, along with the changing dynamics within the region, the Islamic World, and the long standing support of the United States and other members of the international community, the prospects for peace and stability in Afghanistan grows stronger.

But reaching full fruition in the process will continue to require patience and collaboration of all our regional and international partners.

We are hopeful that the coming months will bring positive outcomes for Afghanistan and the wider region through the continuation of a multi-lateral diplomacy with the purpose of strengthening regional processes and sustainable international support.

In this regard, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs will operate as proactively as possible, but we need your help.

We hope you will raise with my office any outstanding issues you may have so we can address them as soon as possible, and I am confident that for the sake of close cooperation, you would coordinate outreach and engagements through the Ministry.

And with that I would like to thank you all again for accepting our invitation and coming to this reception tonight.