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EU to observe Afghan electoral process

EU to observe Afghan electoral process

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On
Dec 20, 2013 - 12:49

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The European community has promised to continue playing an important role in ensuring that Afghanistaninfo-icon continues its transformation into a democratic state with a modern economy.

The assurance was held out at a one-day conference on the prospects and challenges for Afghanistan in the wake of next year’s troop withdrawal. The event was organised by the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee in Brussels.

Thijs Berman, chair of the delegation for relations with Afghanistan who presided over the morning part of a conference, said the EU and its partners would still be needed to help Afghanistan.

“One thing should be clear: we owe the Afghan people our full commitment. We will have to be there to support and assist the Afghan people in finding its way to peace and stability, economic progress and equal rights for all.”

Stephen Evans, assistant secretary general for NATOinfo-icon operations, said: “Let’s be frank: Afghanistan is and will remain for some time to come reliant on externalinfo-icon assistance and therefore for Afghanistan the road towards greater stability, development and self-sufficiency will be long and challenging.”

Pierre Vimont, executive secretary general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), called next year’s presidential elections an important test for the country. “The EU stands ready to help prepare the electoral process and be there to observe it...“

Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, head of EU delegation/EUSR for Afghanistan, stressed the importance of growth for the country’s stability: "Not enough had been done in the past to help economic growth in Afghanistan."

He added womeninfo-icon’s rights would remain a priority. "We brought healthinfo-icon and educationinfo-icon to Afghan women and this will not disappear," he concluded.

pr/mud

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