Ban urges Afghan neighbours to help in transition

Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations, Dec 5: United Nations Chief Ban Ki-Moon has called on Afghanistan's neighbours, Iran and Pakistan to help the country tackle threats of terrorism and drug trafficking in its transition to stability, saying their cooperation is "indispensable" to the country's peace.

Terming the regional dimension in the Afghan development process as "crucial", Ban told an international conference on Afghanistan in Bonn that "Afghanistan is not an island; it must be moored in the broader stream of regional commerce and development.

"Regional cooperation is essential for addressing transitional threats-- organised crime, trafficking in illicit drugs, and the links between these activities and terrorism," he said.

Calling on Afghanistan's neighbours - Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, Ban said their cooperative understanding is "indispensable to peace and reconciliation.

Political reconciliation in Afghanistan can proceed only if it is supported by its neighbours.

"The UN secretary general said he was "deeply concerned" that violence remains a "constant" factor in the daily life of the Afghan people.

"It is hard to build when violence hijacks the reconstruction and development agenda," he said.

Ban stated that the United Nations re-affirms its commitment to support Afghanistan in its efforts for a peaceful and prosperous life for its women and men. The road to a stable Afghanistan will be full of challenges, he said adding that success requires effective engagement and reconciliation.

"Reconciliation is in everyone's interest. It must be everyone's concern," he underlined. The Afghan people have long understood that lasting stability must grow from a political process grounded in dialogue and consensus.

"The international community has to continue in its efforts to safeguard human life and property and ensure that all parties renounce violence, cut ties to international terrorism, and respect the Afghan Constitution with its protections for human rights," Ban said.

Ban said the Afghan people must see the International Security Assistance Force as "true partners in the deepest sense.

"As Afghanistan assumes full responsibility for its security, the government and its international partners must shift and intensify their focus on the non-military aspects of transition — development, governance and extending effective civilian authority throughout Afghanistan," Ban said adding that, "There are no easy solutions."

The UN chief said the trust and confidence of the Afghan people will be won by fighting corruption, tackling the drug trade, sustaining the rule of law and progress on human rights, ensuring women rights, and advancing social and economic development.


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