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Ambassador Jawad Discusses Post-Conflict Management with Business-Government Relations Council

On October 20, Ambassador Said T. Jawad addressed a distinguished audience of business and government leaders during the annual meeting of the Business-Government Relations Council (BGRC) at West Virginia’s historic Greenbrier, a national historic landmark that dates back to 1778 . The theme of the meeting was “Public Policy in a Global Economy,” and the Ambassador’s remarks focused on “Challenges of Post-Conflict Management: Security and Development in Afghanistan.” In attendance were representatives from Coca Cola, Chevron, Chrysler, American Express, Toyota, General Electric, Marathon Oil, Home Depot, AARP, Freddie Mac, Dow Chemicals, Visa, American Airlines, UPS, and others. Other speakers included New Zealand’s Ambassador to the U.S. Roy Ferguson, Utah Senator Bob Bennet, John Zogby, and former Ohio Congressman Michael Oxley.

The Ambassador was introduced by Tim McBride, Senior Vice President of Freddie Mac and an old friend and supporter of the Embassy. The Ambassador’s remarks encompassed the international consensus on Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s strategy for fighting terrorists, social development, reconstruction and narcotics. He outlined Afghanistan’s economic indicators, citing consistent GDP growth–7.5% in 2006—and increased international investment as indicators of progress. The Ambassador explained the importance of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones in providing vital jobs and economic stimulus, as well as Afghanistan’s inclusion in a number of regional trade organizations, including the Central Asian Cooperation Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation Organization, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which Afghanistan joined in April 2007. The Ambassador maintained that there were great rewards waiting for early investors in Afghanistan’s emerging market, alluding to the booming telecommunications industry.

The focus of the Ambassador’s remarks was post-conflict management, and he revisited the golden opportunity that existed following the U.S. intervention in 2001. He discussed the negotiations surrounding the creation of the Afghan Constitution, and subsequent challenges coordinating at international, national and provincial levels. Ambassador Jawad highlighted Afghanistan’s continued need for capacity building as the Afghan government—with a shortage of human capital—faces reconstituted and rearmed terrorists

The Ambassador concluded by reiterating Afghan support for the international mission in Afghanistan. According to a recent ABC/BBC poll, 88% of the population still views the international presence in Afghanistan favorably. “Afghanistan is a strategic partner in a volatile and strategic region, and our transition and successful advance on the path to democracy will impact the expectations and the aspirations of the people throughout the region.”

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