SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES MEETING OF AFGHAN SUPPORT GROUP TO CONTINUE TO INVEST IN RECOVERY AND SECURITY OF AFGHANISTAN
NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the meeting of the Afghan Support Group, delivered by Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, in Oslo today:
I am very pleased to convey my warm greetings to all the participants in this important meeting of the Afghan Support Group. You are all key players in securing a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Afghanistan.
There have been many "firsts" in the last 12 months, in and about Afghanistan: the swearing-in of the Interim Administration in December last year; the January Tokyo Conference which affirmed the international community’s strong support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan; the creation of the unified United Nations Assistance Mission in March; the historic emergency Loya Jirga in June that paved the way for the inauguration of the Transitional Administration; the presentation by the new Government of its national plan and budget; the introduction of a new currency; the post-Bonn establishment of National Commissions -- for human rights, judicial reform, civil service reform and the drafting of a new Constitution; and, most recently, President Karzai’s decree on the creation of a new national army.
Norway is one of the founders of the Afghan Support Group, and it is symbolic that the President of Afghanistan attends this year’s meeting in Oslo. This is a very encouraging pace of achievement, throughout which Afghan and international partnership has been close and indispensable and in which the support of the United Nations has been a constant.
Peace in Afghanistan is a joint responsibility -– it requires Afghans to choose peace over confrontation, and it requires the international community to offer ongoing and increased support for an Afghan-led reconstruction and peace process.
The changes in the political and security landscape of Afghanistan are inextricably linked to the resolution of the humanitarian plight still facing millions of Afghans, and to the essential requirement for accelerated social and economic reconstruction. The international community has been very generous in the assistance pledged and provided to Afghanistan since Tokyo, and also in its deployment and support of the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, in Kabul. I thank you in particular for your unparalleled generosity to, and faith in, the United Nations Assistance Mission.
I urge you all to continue to invest in the recovery and security of Afghanistan, to invest in the will and capacity of Afghans themselves to rebuild their country and to win the struggle for return and survival that so many Afghans still face.
The events of the last year give us all cause for optimism, but not for complacency. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to Afghanistan. I wish you all success in sustaining a process, which is of vital significance not only to the people of Afghanistan but to the international community as a whole.