EU welcomes security transition process
KABUL (PAN): The European Union, welcoming the start of the security transition process, has said there is no alternative to an Afghan-led process leading to a political solution to the conflict in the country.
At a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council stressed the importance of close coordination between all parties involved and recognised the High Peace Council's efforts to forge a broad national consensus in support of peace and reconciliation.
After Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death and the creation of a new sanctions regime, Afghan insurgents had an opportunity to participate in the political process, the council believed, according to a statement from the EU.
"While there should be no conditions for the beginning of political talks, the outcome must be in line with the red lines laid down by the Afghan government: renouncing violence, cutting ties with Al Qaeda and respect for the Afghan constitution," it said.
The transition in the security field must go hand in hand with sustainable progress in governance, rule of law and development, the EU noted, asking Afghanistan to take the necessary measures to reinforce democratic institutions, including oversight by elected bodies at national and sub-national levels.
Underlining respect for the independent role of Parliament and the judiciary, it said the authorities charged with audit must be progressively strengthened.
The council expresses its concern about the lack of progress in areas of governance, rule of law and anticorruption, urging the Karzai administration to show determined leadership in delivering on the commitments held out at the July 2010 Kabul Conference.
Afghanistan and the IMF were asked to reach an agreement on resolving the crisis triggered by the collapse of the Kabul Bank in a transparent way, in the interest of Afghanistan's financial sector as well as to allow development flows to resume as soon as possible.
"Production and trafficking of drugs and precursors remain a major threat to the stability and governance of Afghanistan and continue to be a major source of revenue for the insurgency," the statement added.
In addition to hampering the development of legitimate economic alternatives to the cultivation of opium, the drug commerce had a direct impact on agriculture, health and policing, it said, stressing regional cooperation in the field of security and of economic development.
The EU supported the steps taken toward an intensified dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the matters, saying the potential for closer regional integration through trade and transit networks.
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