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Foreign Minister Spanta Attends U.N. Security Council Meeting on Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Dr. Rangin D. Spanta visited New York on July 10, 2008 to participate in a high-level meeting at the United Nations Security Council along with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, U.N. Special Representative to Afghanistan Kai Aide, other high-level U.N. officials and representatives from 26 countries. The U.N. Security Council convened the meeting to discuss the current security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as well as hopes raised by the recent Paris Support Conference.

In his remarks, Minister Spanta expressed the gratitude to the members of the council for convening the special meeting on Afghanistan. While discussing security, he stressed that as the Afghan national security forces are jointly fighting terrorism, alongside ISAF and coalition forces, the international coalition needs to work together to effectively combat terrorism. He added that that terrorism can only be defeated through an integrated, regional and global approach that address the root causes of terrorism and extremism. He further stated that the Afghan national security forces needed to be further enhanced and equipped and that increased international focus and support was also needed to confront additional challenges such as poverty, narcotics and governance.

Minister Spanta also discussed the success of the recent Paris Support Conference in which the international community once again illustrated its commitment to Afghanistan's reconstruction effort by pledging an estimated $20 billion over the next five years. He mentioned that it is imperative for the international community to channel adequate resources through the Afghan national budget to ensure aid effectiveness. Minister Spanta also spoke about the importance of the appointment of Mr. Aide as the U.N. Special Representative to Afghanistan, indicating that it has been effective in coordinating the assistance of donor community. Minister Spanta also requested support for the holding of upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in 2009 and 2010.

U.N. Special Representative Aide stated that it was important for international partners to move forward on the momentum gained by the Paris Support Conference. He indicated that in order for the Paris Declaration to be implemented successfully, it is important for the international community to deliver aid effectively as well as for the Afghan government to further improve governance.

Mr. John Holmes, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed the members on his recent trip to Afghanistan where he gathered information on the ongoing humanitarian situation. He talked about the how the recent droughts and rise in global food prices and return of millions of refugees is increasing pressure on the local populace. He announced that his office will soon announce a new strategy, working together with partners and the Afghan government, to address the current challenges.

Click here to see Foreign Minister Spanta's full speech to the Security Council.

Click here to see video of all the speeched given to the Security Council.

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