Elections crucial to new partnership: EU
KABUL (PAN): The European Union special representative and head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan on Thursday underlined the importance of the forthcoming elections, hoping they would pave the way for a new EU-Afghan partnership.
The 2014 elections would be a historic occasion marking the first peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan, Ambassador Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin said at a meeting with President Hamid Karzai.
While presenting his credentials to the president, the EU diplomat urged the government, election candidates, political, tribal and religious leaders and civil society to work together to ensure the elections were transparent, credible and inclusive.
He promised the EU would stay committed to Afghanistan throughout the "transformation decade". He promised support for Afghanistan through a comprehensive approach ensuring synergies between political, development and security sectors.
In a statement from his office, Mellbin stressed the need for promoting respect for human rights, in particular women’s rights. Tangible progress had been achieved, he acknowledged, saying safeguards were needed to ensure were protected and consolidated.
Although Afghanistan had achieved significant progress on the reconstruction front over the past 12 years, corruption risked undermining the gains, he observed, asking the government to increase its efforts to combat pervasive corruption in its institutions.
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