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Time for Afghan leaders to advance on several fronts, Canada tells UN debate

26 September 2009 – Afghanistan’s political leaders need to step up and make progress on multiple fronts, from good governance to economic growth to regional cooperation, to ensure the country is on the path to self-sufficiency after decades of war and misrule, Canada’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly tonight.

Lawrence Cannon told the fourth day of the high-level debate, being held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, that “there is no greater commitment for Canada than our mission in Afghanistan,” with more than 2,800 military personnel and 100 civilians deployed to try to stabilize the country and foster peace and development.

Mr. Cannon noted that the Canadian Parliament has adopted a resolution to end the country’s military mission to Afghanistan at the end of 2011 and therefore Ottawa looked to Afghan leaders to make progress on a series of key priorities.

They include good governance, anti-corruption measures, political reconciliation, economic growth, reconstruction and cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbours.

As the leaders tackle those challenges, “they must do so in a way that promotes, protects and improves human rights in a concrete manner – particularly the rights and lives of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

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