Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, yesterday delivered an address before the 4th Round of Government Accountability to the Nation. The session was part of an annual review of activities of all Ministries and Government Departments whereby cabinet members and heads of departments brief the public on the work of their Ministries over the course of the year. The first round of accountability week took place in November 2005.
In his address, Foreign Minister Spanta delivered a comprehensive briefing on the activities and achievements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the past year. Foreign Minister Spanta stated that since assuming the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, he prioritized the following areas of activity:
Afghanistan’s foreign policy, including diplomatic relations and foreign security and economic policy;
Enhancing capacity of officials of the Foreign Ministry; and
Fundamental reform of the Ministry’s framework of activities.
Additionally, Foreign Minister Spanta noted that, among various accomplishments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had consolidated its relations with the broader international community. In that regard, it was said that Afghanistan had expanded both bilateral and multi-lateral relations by establishing diplomatic relations with additional countries and up-grading its participation in various international forums and organizations.
To that effect, he alluded to the following: election of Dr. Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as Vice-Chairman of the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly and his appointment as Chair of the Working Group on Security Council reform; election of Ms. Zohra Rasekh, Director of the Human Rights and Women’s Affairs Dept. at the Foreign Ministry, as an independent expert at the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); Afghanistan’s membership in the Board of Governor’s of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); election of Mr. Yahya Maroufi, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Tehran, as Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO); Afghanistan’s assumption of the post of Deputy Chair of the 15th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and continuation of the Vice-Chairmanship of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at the UN.
Foreign Minister Spanta highlighted the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in facilitating Afghanistan’s participation in various international gathering on numerous issues. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for the organization of 23 officials visits conducted by His Excellency President Karzai. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for preparation of draft statements, talking points and drafting of official declarations and international agreements, said Foreign Minister Spanta.” The Foreign Ministry undertook the aforementioned measures for official visits of Ministers and Deputy Ministers of other Ministries as well.
Furthermore, Foreign Minister Spanta emphasized the importance of good-governance at all levels of government, including government Ministries. He cited various measures initiated by senior officials at the Ministry aimed at improving governance at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Ministers also expressed the commitment of the Ministry’s leadership in promoting official appointments on the basis of merit and combating “a culture of nepotism.”