Security Council visit to Afghanistan "productive," says head of delegation

08:43, July 01, 2010      

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The recent mission to Afghanistan by a UN Security Council delegation was "productive," and the world body reiterated their commitment to the Afghan people and government, and stressed free and fair upcoming elections, Ertugrul Apakan, the Turkish ambassador to the UN, said here Wednesday.

"We reiterated the UN Security Council's support and enduring commitment to the people of Afghanistan and its government in furthering peace, development and stability," Apakan, who led the four-day mission, told an open Council meeting on the current situation in Afghanistan.

The delegation particularly stressed the central role of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and voiced solidarity with the UN special envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura, he said.

With the necessity of free and fair elections, the delegation welcomed the strong participation of women candidates, as well as the importance of economic and social development.

"We encouraged the Afghan authorities to further their efforts to uphold rule of law, human rights, women and children's rights," Apakan said.

He noted that the delegation was briefed on such challenges regarding the legislative elections scheduled for Sept. 18, as well on the security situation, reconciliation, reintegration and importance of regional cooperation.

During the visit, which wrapped last Thursday, the delegation met with senior Afghan government officials, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai and members of his cabinet in substantive talks.

A comprehensive approach to the region should be at the forefront, which must contain security, governance, rule of law, human rights, as well as social and economic development, Apakan said.

A strong and well-trained Afghan military and police in combination with a modern education and justice system, needs special attention, to combat extremism effectively, he said.

Transition is key, "but it should not be understood as an exit strategy," Apakan said. "We will continue to increase civilian efforts."

The recent Istanbul and London Conferences brought "new impetus, " Apakan said as he emphasized that what is crucial foremost is Afghan leadership and Afghan responsibility in the period ahead.

"Afghan ownership should be supported by the international community," he said citing the parliamentary elections which will be part of the process.

"There should be a political process and UN should be part of it," Apakan said.

Regional cooperation and dialogue needs to be enhanced, he said noting that Turkey will continue its regional contributions by hosting the Fourth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) after parliamentary elections.

Source: Xinhua


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