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President Karzai and Foreign Minister Spanta Attend U.N. General Assembly

President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Minister Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta and a delegation from the Afghan government travled to the U.S. on September 22 to participate in the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. President Karzai participated in a global summit on climate change and a high level meeting on Afghanistan. He met with numerous heads of state, including the United States, Iraq, Iran, Poland, Bangladesh, France, Canada and Korea.

Foreign Minister Spanta met a number of his counterparts, including the ministers of foreign affairs of India, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Australia, South Korea, Luxembourg, Estonia, Norway and the Slovak Republic, as well as U.S. Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher.

In his address to the General Assembly, President Karzai focused on the challenges rather than the achievements made in Afghanistan and called on world leaders to provide more international assistance to help train Afghan security forces to take a leading role in protecting the country.

"As I stood before this assembly in September 2002, the challenges of restoring security to the lives of the Afghan people, and rebuilding Afghanistan into a stable and democratic country, seemed all but insuperable. The fate of a nation swayed between the promise of a safer, more prosperous future on the one hand, and the enormity of the tasks at hand on the other. Today, the journey of Afghanistan’s stability and reconstruction is resolutely apace. The Afghan people continue to make the best of the new opportunities: our economy is surging ahead; the legitimacy of our newly founded institutions is gradually taking roots; our society is brimming with freedom and activity," said the President.

While the President praised the U.S. and NATO for helping Afghanistan to build its security forces to their present capabilities, he also urged international forces to avoid the unintentional killings of civilians. He stressed that curbing Afghanistan's drug trade was a top government priority.

President Karzai also participated in the Opening Plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative, discussing Afghanistan’s growing private sector alongside President of the Philippines Gloria Arroyo, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Vice President Al Gore, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores H. Lee Scott Jr., President of the The World Bank Robert B. Zoellick and President Bill Clinton. The audience included leaders of the US corporate industry and some 40 past and present heads of state.

“Afghanistan was a country beginning from ground zero,” said the President, and encouraged entrepreneurs to examine the benefits of investing in many of the country’s fledgling industries. He described the booming mobile phone market as one such success story. The President even brought along a pen manufactured in Afghanistan as a testament to the diversity of business opportunities.

CLICK HERE to read President Karzai's Full Speech Before the UN General Assembly

CLICK HERE to read more about the special UN Summit on Afghanistan

CLICK HERE to read more about President Karzai's meeting with U.S. President George Bush

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