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UN appoints new envoy for Afghanistan ahead of London Conference

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Jan 28, IRNA -- The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday appointed veteran diplomat Staffan de Mistura as the top UN envoy to Afghanistan on the eve of the London Conference.

According to the press release by UN Information Center in Tehran (UNIC), the secretary-general announced his intention for de Mistura appointment as his top representative at the international conference which aims at helping Afghanistan chart its future.

Noting that the conference “comes at a critical moment,” Ban told reporters at UN Headquarters, “The Afghan people want a larger say in their future, especially in terms of development.

“National ownership is essential. At the same time, Afghans need to know that the international community will support them, over the long term, in building their institutions of government.”

The conference, which will be co-hosted by the Secretary-General, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, will be followed by another major gathering on Afghanistan to be held in Kabul in a few months, UNIC added in its press release.

According to the UN chief, the London meeting aimed at establishing a strong compact between Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, his Government and his people.

Ban added that the conference was also “…to set up a strong partnership between the Afghan people and the international community following last year’s presidential elections, in which Mr. Karzai won another term as President. “

“In London, we expect, first of all, that the international community should give a clear picture to the Afghan Government – how, and in what way, and how much we can support President Karzai in his efforts to bring peace and stability and economic development,” the UN chief said.

He added, “At the same time, we expect that the new Afghan Government will come out with a strong compact in the area of good governance and how to address corruption, how to enhance human rights.”

Ban also stressed the need for a more balanced approach in moving forward, stating that “our civilian strategy cannot be an add-on to the military strategy… Balancing the cooperation between the military and civilian areas is very important.”

De Mistura, a Swedish national who recently served as the top UN envoy to Iraq, will be tasked with leading the world body’s efforts in Afghanistan, taking over on March 1 from Kai Eide of Norway, the current Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA).

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End News / IRNA / News Code 924775



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