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Foreign Minister Spanta Attends Donor Summit in Berlin

Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta joined delegates to the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) on January 30 as they committed to a more aggressive and cooperative reconstruction effort. The high-level meeting of Afghanistan and its international partners was hosted by G8 leader Germany, and was designed to build on a conference in London last year when the international community launched the Afghanistan Compact, a five-year plan coordinating financial and military support to Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister addressed delegates from twenty-three countries and international institutions on the situation in Afghanistan, and maintained that Afghanistan should have a greater say in spending aid money and called for an accelerated Afghanization of the national army and police.

In a speech opening the two-day meeting of donors, the Foreign Minister cautioned, "Unfortunately, the Afghan government continues to be bypassed by donor countries. Trusting Afghan institutions will be an important step towards breaking this cycle.” He explained that terrorists exploit the government’s inability to provide services to its people, and urged donors to ensure that resources were reaching the Afghan people and not being diverted by exhorbitant consultanting fees.

 “Afghanistan is grateful for the intensified military efforts of our international partners. And we recognize that an equally aggressive effort needs to be put into creating the conditions for long-term economic stability and social progress,” said Professor Ishaq Nadiri, senior economic adviser to President Karzai and Afghan co-chair of the JCMB in his introductory remarks.

The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board is a high-level body that meets four times a year to oversee implementation of the Afghanistan Compact, successor to the Bonn Agreement. The Berlin meeting was its first session outside Afghanistan, in line with intentions to hold at least one meeting annually in a major international setting. In the last year, the JCMB has overseen the creation of a national appointments mechanism; technical and administrative support to the new National Assembly; the initiation of a review and reform of oversight procedures for strengthened government transparency; work on creating sustainable water resource strategies and plans for irrigation and drinking water; progress on new business organization laws; momentum towards liquidating state-owned banks that have not been re-licensed, and the adoption of an Action Plan on Peace, Justice and Reconciliation.

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