Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Foreign Minister Rassoul Arrives in NY for 65th Session of the UNGA

Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul today arrived in New York for a nine-day official visit to participate in the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

During the visit Foreign Minister Rassoul will address the general-debate of the annual UNGA session, which will hear statements from member-states on a number of pressing international and national issues. He will also attend the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), convened to review progress towards meeting the MDG’s, which include reduction of poverty, combating diseases and promoting health and education.

Foreign Minister Rassoul is also scheduled to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as well as numerous Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister Rassoul will also take part in a number of foreign ministerial meetings, including the annual gatherings of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Tajikistan-Russia Quadrilateral for enhance regional cooperation.

Joint Statement between Pakistan and Afghanistan on strengthening the partnership

The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai visited Pakistan on 15-16 September 2010 at the invitation of President of Pakistan H.E. Asif Ali Zardari. The two leaders held in-depth consultations to strengthen the partnership through enhanced and deepening of bilateral cooperation.

The two leaders:

Affirming the historical, cultural and religious bonds of brotherhood and friendship that exist between the two countries and its peoples.

Reiterating firm resolve for a strong constructive Pakistan-Afghanistan partnership to address the common challenges and promote peace, security and development in the region and beyond.

Recalling their mutually shared vision of the bilateral partnership as enunciated in the Joint Declaration on next steps in Afghanistan-Pakistan Comprehensive Cooperation signed in Islamabad on 12 March 2010 and Joint Declaration on Directions of Bilateral Cooperation signed in Kabul on 6 January 2009.

Also recalling Kabul Declaration on Good Neighborly Relations of 22 December 2002 and successful outcomes of the Kabul Conference of 20 July 2010.

Reaffirming the mutual commitment to respect each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, non interference in each others’ internal affairs; consolidate good neighborly relations; and uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter as key principles underline the bilateral relations.

Recognizing that terrorism and extremism are common challenges and a common approach and close cooperation is required to effectively and comprehensively deal with these challenges.

Expressing satisfaction at the increasing understanding and harmony between the two countries on the need of a holistic approach to confront the challenges of terrorism and extremism.

Recognizing the immense potential for harness mutual benefits of the partnership through enhanced bilateral engagement and deepening interaction in diverse fields including security, development, transit, trade, economic and investment linkages, infrastructure and energy connectivity and people to people exchanges.

Emphasizing the need of a coordinated approach to implement the laid down roadmap to strengthen and deepen bilateral interaction.

Agreed on the following course of action to strengthen the partnership:

Strengthening institutional engagement

Develop strong institutional engagement between the two countries based on mutual interests.

Establish, promote and deepen regular high level bilateral dialogue between the relevant institutions in the areas of:

-Security and counter-terrorism,

-Economic cooperation, transit, trade and investment,

-Infra-structure development and connectivity

-Energy linkages

-Capacity Building.

Security Cooperation

Strengthen interaction among the security and counter-terrorism institutions for promoting effective cooperation.

Hold regular dialogue in the area of security and counter-terrorism cooperation through exchanges between the relevant institutions and greater information and intelligence sharing.

Explore long term institutional arrangements for capacity building and joint training programmes for security institutions.

Economic cooperation, transit, trade and investment

Develop a joint approach to realizing enormous potential of bilateral economic, transit, trade and investment cooperation.

Take measures within the respective policies to expand bilateral economic cooperation, transit, trade and investment linkages.

The Commerce Ministries to focus on joint efforts to take measures to achieve the goal of enhancing bilateral trade to more than $5 billion by 2015 through effective trade promotion and facilitation measures.

Welcome the conclusion of negotiations on Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) in July 2010 and to ensure its early signing and implementation for the benefit of the two countries’ economies and beyond. Both sides expressed their readiness for prompt implementation of APTTA.

Hold regular sessions of the bilateral economic commission on an annual basis to keep the momentum on promoting economic and commercial relations.

Expedite action on already agreed measures such as establishment of a Silk Route CEOs Forum, Pakistan-Afghanistan Reconstruction Consortium, Economic and Industrial Zones and a Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Investment Company.

Infra-structure development and connectivity

Focus on infrastructure development and rail-road connectivity to complement economic, transit, trade and investment linkages.

Develop a joint approach including a roadmap to promote infrastructure development between the two countries and connecting the infrastructure along side the two countries to facilitate movement of people, transit, trade and commercial activities.

Undertake the following projects on priority basis:

-Peshawar-Jalalabad rail link -Quetta-Kandahar rail link -Build modern facilities at Landi Kotal-Torkhem and Chaman-Spinboldak.

Energy Linkages

Develop a comprehensive strategy to promote energy sector cooperation and projects

Work out a long term plan to implement trans-Afghan energy transmission projects.

Capacity Building

Devise long term capacity building programmes for Afghans in different areas of social sector development.

Education: Develop a joint approach to effectively utilize the 2,000 scholarships for Afghan students in Pakistani institutions by 2012.

Workout a plan for grant of scholarships to Afghan students at Pakistani educational institutions for 2012-15.

Explore cooperation in promoting vocational training centres in Afghanistan in different fields.

Health:  Strengthen continued arrangements for provision of medical treatment facilities for Afghans at Pakistani hospitals and health centres.

Explore bilateral cooperation to strengthen Afghanistan’s public health infrastructure.

Agriculture: Draw out plans for training of Afghan agriculture officials and professionals at Pakistan’s agricultural research and development institutions in the coming years.

Explore establishing Agricultural research institutions in Afghanistan under bilateral cooperation as well as through possible third donor funding arrangements.

Develop regular dialogue on joint five-year and ten year food-security plans to cater the food needs of the peoples of the two countries.

To initiate comprehensive dialogue on environmental protection and mitigating impact of climate change. Semi

Agreed as on 15 Sept 2010 (10 pm)

Click here for original Statement (PDF)

Ambassador Tanin Briefs JCMB Countries on Preparations for Parliamentary Elections

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador Permanent Representative to the United Nations, yesterday joined the Assistant Secretary General for Peace-keeping Operations, Mr. Atul Khare, in briefing members of the Joint Coordinating and Monitoring Board (JCMB) on preparations for Afghanistan’s up-coming parliamentary elections, which will take place on the 20th of September 2010.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Tanin noted that the successful holding of free, fair and transparent elections were among the top priorities of the Afghan government. In that regard, he asserted the preparations for the polls were well on track, with candidate and voter registration already concluded.

He said Afghan national security institutions – the Afghan national army, police and intelligence services – were working in close collaboration to ensure the elections are conducted in an atmosphere of security. Nevertheless, he asserted that the prevailing security situation in the country remained a challenge and that under such circumstances, “a perfect election process should not be expected.”

Ambassador Tanin, however, underscored that Afghanistan’s expectation was that the elections would see remarkable improvements in terms of “transparency and credibility,” and “mark a milestone in the consolidation of Afghanistan’s democracy.”

On his part Assistant Secretary General Khare said all ballot papers and relevant material had arrived in Afghanistan. He also stated of the total number of registered voters, 376,000 were new voters, who did not take part in Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections of September 2005. Forty percent of the new-registered voters were women.

He also alluded to the assessment of the Afghan national security forces of the security situation in various provinces, which led to the decision to close 797 polling centers which – owing to insecurity – were “declared not fit to be open” on the day of elections. In that regard, he also underscored the need for a “realistic perception of the election process,” noting that incidents of irregularity should be expected. He also said that the final list of all polling stations which will open on the day of elections will be available on the 18h of August.

Nevertheless, the Assistant Secretary General noted that the Afghan government and the UN were fully committed to ensuring a successful election process. He also called on the international community to contribute in that effort by dispatching elections monitors.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan