All eyes fixed on presidential vote: Tanin
WASHINGTON (PAN): The end of transition in Afghanistan would mark the beginning of a new chapter, the country’s top diplomat to the United Nations told members of the powerful Security Council on Tuesday.
“The end of transition will signal the beginning of a new chapter, one marked by national resilience and the strategic goal of self-reliance,” Ambassador Zahir Tanin said, seeking the international community's continued support.
Addressing a special meeting of the Security Council, Tanin said the full realisation of sovereignty and self-reliance would make Afghanistan a more effective partner for the world, but achieving that objective required international trust, confidence and long-term commitment.
Noting that the Afghans were keenly focused on a successful political transition, and all eyes were fixed on the election next spring, Tanin said the Afghan government was doing its best to ensure the success of the reconciliation process.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said while transitioning security to the Afghans was necessary for stability, it was not sufficient in itself. “In this regard, an inclusive and credible presidential election in 2014 is critical for the country's future and to sustaining international assistance.”
She added the presidential election must produce an outcome that was legitimately accepted by the Afghan people. Afghanistan's progress was primarily due to the grit, determination and hard work of the people, she remarked.
“It is they who have come this far. The international community has provided vital assistance along the way and will continue to do so. Afghanistan's neighbours must play a constructive role in creating a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan,” the envoy stressed.
Afghan-led reconciliation was important for stability, the best way to end conflict and bring lasting peace to Afghanistan and the region, Rice observed, promising the US would continue to support the opening of an office in Doha to facilitate negotiations between the High Peace Council and authorised representatives of the Taliban.
“As a part of the outcome of any process, the Taliban and other armed opposition groups must end violence, break ties with Al Qaeda, and accept Afghanistan's Constitution,” she said.
The outcomes of peace and reconciliation must respect the historic achievements that a unified and sovereign Afghanistan had made over the past decade, including protecting the rights of all citizens - women and men - as guaranteed under the Constitution, Rice concluded.
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