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Ambassador Erfani responds to the 2015 Serbia Chairman of the OSCE

Vienna, 15.07.2014

 

The delegation of Afghanistan joined 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” Ambassador Erfani said, also highlighting that “this is an excellent example of close co-operation and co-ordination between incoming and outgoing chairmanships in the history of the OSCE.”

 

H.E. Ayoob Erfani noted that Afghanistan has been transformed into a better place for its citizens as a result of Afghanistan’s 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, and we 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.”

 

A joint two-year work plan of the consecutive Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships has been agreed upon by the two countries and is widely seen as being an excellent opportunity towards continuity and consistent activities.

 

Ambassador Erfani also expressed his hope that a supportive declaration on Afghanistan could be agreed upon by OSCE participating States at the Basel OSCE Ministerial Council in December this year, and encouraged more active engagement between the OSCE participating and partner States in the framework of the OSCE’s Helsinki+40 process.

 

In closing, Ambassador Erfani stated that Afghanistan highly values its historic relationship with Serbia and wished H.E. the Minister and the people of Serbia continued success and prosperity.

 -END-

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

Afghanistan joins Security Sector Reform Group at the OSCE

Afghanistan joins Security Sector Reform Group at the OSCE

07 July 2014

Today H.E. Ayoob Erfani gave a statement on Security Sector Reform and thanked Slovak Republic and Switzerland for co-hosting the Joint Conference on Strengthening OSCE – UN Co-operation on Security Sector Reform (SSR).

Ambassador Erfani spoke of the many achievements and significant progress which has been made by Afghanistan in this sector in the last years and especially the improvements since Afghanistan joined the Group of Friends of UN-SSR in 2007, where it has benefited through ongoing support.

Ambassador Erfani reiterated the importance of Groups such as these in combating the global menaces of terrorism and illicit narcotics trafficking, which Afghanistan have been prime victims of, in securing a safer and prosperous global community through capacity building and encouraging safer practices through information and skills exchanges.

He concluded by stating that ‘Afghanistan welcomes and supports this initiative and declares membership of the SSG/R Group of Friends. We as a committed partner of OSCE are ready to do our part for the success if this young process.’

 

-END-

Statement by Ambassador Erfani on OSCE/UN Security Sector Reform

Thank you, Chair, for giving me the floor.

We thank the Slovak Republic and Switzerland for co-hosting today’s Joint Conference on Strengthening OSCE – UN Co-operation on Security Sector Reform (SSR).

Afghanistan, as a post-conflict country, has particular high stakes in SSR initiatives.

Afghanistan joined the Group of Friends of UN-SSR in 2007, co-chaired by Slovakia, and has been inspired by and  benefited from the ongoing support  and useful lessons gained from this process.

The Government  is making every effort in the areas of defense establishment, civilian law, customs agencies, elements of the criminal justice sector and is training its professional and accountable security forces to operate in accordance with the constitution of the country, with a view to promoting human rights, good governance, and gender equality, all of which are inextricably linked with Security Sector Reform.

The Government is committed to effective security sector reforms, through continued improvement and democratization of all relevant processes, norms, structures and institutions including the national security forces. Our national security forces of 350,000 troops have proven to be capable while acting responsible under the ongoing reforms and capacity-building process. With the help of our international partners, the Afghan Ministry of Interior has implemented mechanisms that are apt to ensure both effective operations and democratic control of all  its armed forces.

The Government of Afghanistan has co-operated, among others, with UNAMA, UNDP, and EUPOL in this area and ISAF’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams also contributed, and I quote: “to support where appropriate the Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives”, end of quote.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior has initiated at Democratic Policing project in September 2009, involving law enforcement, community groups and local governance councils.

Since then, the project has evolved to a cluster-based approach comprising the National Area-based Development Programme, Afghanistan Sub-national Governance Programme, Gender Equality Project, Afghanistan New Beginnings Programme, and National Disaster Management Project.

Our Democratic Policing concept covers the security sector as well as the rule of law and Human Rights, as covered under the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and the UNDP Country Programme Action Plan. We continue our efforts towards full establishment of the rule of law, good governance, due process, and upholding human rights, under the National Priority Programs (NPPs).

The national ownership and role of civil society remains one of the most important elements of the SSR process in the country.

We understand comprehensive security as a concept that enables participation and integration of a broad spectrum and all those segments of our society who are committed to the stabilization and democratization process in the country, regardless of their social and ethnic backgrounds or gender, and in particular youth and women.

Afghanistan remains committed to our joint fight against global and intertwined menaces: combating terrorism, illicit trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotics, cultivation of illegal drugs, human trafficking and other forms of organized crime. In this context, and with a view to accomplishing our goals of successful Transition and the Transformation Decade (2015-2024), Afghanistan will need – inter alia – continued assistance towards capacity-building, training programmes, sharing of knowledge and expertise in the area of security sector reform. Plus, we must keep in mind the long-term nature of any SSR activities.

As I stated on 30 June 2014 during the official launch of the open-ended Group of Friends of SSG/R, we in Afghanistan as a member of the United Nations Group of Friends of SSR, believe that the creation of our Group of Friends is an important initiative and provides an excellent platform for exchange of good practices and experiences among its members on the topic of SSG/R and related processes within the OSCE region as a whole.

We believe that this initiative must be considered as a long-term process and in order to accomplish success, this  process requires a number of necessary measures, including:

– Assignment of SSG/R permanent staff within the OSCE secretariat;

– Institutionalize SSGR and  adoption of a work program and projects to share and apply lessons learned and good practices ;

– Along with the extra budgetary measures , to  establish a voluntary trust fund towards SSG/R activities;

–  Create a joint OSCE-UN task force for co-operation and co-ordination.

Afghanistan welcomes and supports this initiative and declares membership of the SSG/R Group of Friends. We as a committed partner of OSCE are ready to do our part for the success if this young process.

 

Thank you

 

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

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Vienna, 03.07.2014

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani today responded to a statement made by Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the 1006th Permanent Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Mr. Ambassador started by recalling the fact that the people of Afghanistan have suffered so much over the past three decades of conflict in the country, and that they continue to be victims of terrorist attacks.

He then welcomed Ms. Pillay to the Permanent Council and commended her tireless efforts towards protection and promotion of human rights over the past six years.

With reference to the joint declaration signed by Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Ms. Pillay on 12 June this year in Geneva, on enhanced co-operation between the two institutions, Ambassador Erfani said “We agree that the work of the 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 realization of fundamental freedoms and human rights”.

The Ambassador highlighted Afghanistan’s improved human rights record, emphasizing the rights of women and children, while addressing remaining challenges.

Before closing, Mr. Erfani stated that “with full and equal participation of the women, youth and civil society of Afghanistan in all spheres of society, we are confident about our future.”

He then reiterated Afghanistan’s commitment to the universal values of human rights and wished Ms. Pillay all the best and every success in her future endeavors.

 

-END-

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the Secretary General of the OSCE

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responds to the

Secretary General of the OSCE

Vienna, 03.07.2014

 

H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani responded to a presentation made by OSCE’s Secretary General, H.E. Lamberto Zannier, at the 1006th Permanent Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Mr. Zannier presented the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.

Ambassador Erfani recalled that “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 Afghanistan’s partners in the international community”.

He also reaffirmed that “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”.

The Ambassador continued by highlighting the importance of participation of female delegates from Afghanistan in major OSCE conferences and seized the opportunity to thank all involved OSCE structures and donor countries for their continued generous support.

In closing, Ambassador Erfani stated that “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”.

 

-END-

 

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

 

 

Visit of Ms Shukria Barakzai MP and Mr. Safiullah Muslim MP to the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference

Afghanistan takes an active part in the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference

 

 

Vienna, 26 June 2014

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan actively participated in the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC), held from 24 to 26 June. H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was joined by Ms. Shukria Barakzai MP and Mr. Safiullah Muslim MP to lead a high-level Afghan delegation to the Conference.

Ms. Barakzai presented an insightful keynote address during today’s working session IV on “Supporting stability in the OSCE area during the ongoing transitions in Afghanistan”, sharing her experience and perception as a senior parliamentarian of the Afghan Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) and deserving women’s rights activist. Mr. James Appathurai, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, also presented a keynote speech during this working session. Furthermore, a representative of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) updated delegates on the work of the ODIHR Election Support Team during the second round of Presidential Elections in Afghanistan.

On the second day of the conference, Mr. Muslim made an intervention during working session I on “Early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation: Lessons learned and the way ahead”. The Afghan delegation also delivered presentations in working breakfasts on Afghanistan, organized by the OSCE’s Gender Section and the Delegation of Mongolia. Additionally, meetings were held with the Secretary General of the OSCE, H.E. Lamberto Zannier, and with the head of the United States delegation to the ASRC, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Brent Hartley.

 

-END-

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.