Saturday, February 22, 2014

Afghan election “a new chapter” for Afghanistan – UN Special Envoy --- 22 February 2014 - The top United Nations official in Afghanistan described the upcoming Presidential and Provincial Council elections, slated for 5 April 2014, as “a new chapter in the life of the country,” involving not only a political transition but also a major step in developing the democratic system and bringing more stability and predictability to the nation. -- “With all the challenges, all the risks that are there, I see this as a very positive development,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ján Kubiš in an exclusive hour-long interview with a private television channel, Tolo TV, broadcast on Friday evening [the interview was pre-recorded on 10 February 2014]. -- The head of UNAMA noted that he was “reasonably satisfied” with the preparations for the elections and pointed to a robust legal framework and the independent election institutions which were developed and created on the basis of the “clear laws” of the country. -- He underlined however the need to make sure that all electoral processes are “as clear as possible, as correct as possible, as inclusive as possible,” and spoke of the absolute necessity for the preventive measures to counter any fraudulent activities which could spoil the elections and undermine their credibility and broad acceptance. -- “We cannot expect perfect elections. First of all, in no country in the world you will find perfect election. There is always a problem here and there… But I see a very strong drive and very good quality preparations for reasonably good elections. That should be inclusive, that should be representative, that should be guided by the law, by clear action plans provided by the commissioners, clear regulations and rules,” he said. -- “At this point of time, we detect a very strong will on the side of the people, majority of the people [that they] would like to go and vote. They know how critically important the election is for the future of the country, for future stability and unity of the country,” observed Mr. Kubiš. --- We have provided money, technical advice; we have provided logistics, material support [but], as I detected, there are some misinterpretation of what has been available, of what has been provided. Very soon we will bring more clarity to this because I believe that people should know, be aware that indeed the international community has been in a very strong way supporting the work of IECC,” he said. --- “We understand very well that the environment in Afghanistan would be different with Bilateral Security Agreement as a trigger for continuous engagement of not only the United States, but [of] many other countries, some donors of Afghanistan for days to come, for their lasting commitment and for their lasting support for the Afghan National Security Forces,” said the UN Special Envoy. -- He added however that “without BSA, it doesn’t mean that the international community will disappear, but the degree of support will be different, the focus of the support will be different and definitely it will not be in such a quantity as, in my opinion, needed for the needs of Afghanistan.” --- “We have been operating here for decades [at the invitation of the Government of Afghanistan], and we assume we will be asked to continue our operations and support Afghanistan for many years to come in many areas, [including] education, health care, agriculture, women’s rights,” said Mr. Kubiš. -- Another part of UNAMA’s mandate, he added is “to provide good offices and facilitation and continue steps and other measures to facilitate peace and reconciliation if that would be the wishes of the Afghans.” -- “We are here [in Afghanistan], strongly engaged and will remain strongly engaged also in the future,” concluded the Secretary-General’s Special Representative. - More, UNAMA - at:


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