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Annan hails agreement on new Constitution for Afghanistan

4 January United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today lauded members of Afghanistan's grand council for reaching accord on a founding charter for emerging democracy in the country.

"The Secretary-General was very pleased to learn today of the Constitutional Loya Jirga's agreement on Afghanistan's new Constitution," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement, which congratulated participating delegates for completing the "difficult and complex" process.

The original draft of the text was subject to extensive public debate among Afghans, and the Secretary-General today hailed the "historic achievement" as evidence of their determination to establish a stable and democratic State.

He also urged global support for the effort. "This is another important step in the peace process that justifies the commitment of the Afghan people and the international community to date and which must be sustained, if not increased," he said.

Mr. Annan said he was gratified that the UN had been able to contribute to the accomplishment, and commended his Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, "for the vital role he has played."

Since October 2001, Ambassador Brahimi has been serving as the senior UN envoy to Afghanistan, with overall authority for the Organization's humanitarian, human rights and political work in the country.

A former Foreign Minister of Algeria with extensive diplomatic experience, Mr. Brahimi previously carried out a number of UN assignments, including serving as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Afghanistan from July 1997 until October 1999.

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