Deputy Minister Ershad Ahmadi's Remarks at the International Contact Group Meeting in Delhi

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ershad Ahamadi attended The International Contact Group Meeting (ICG) and Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Afghanistan on January 16-17. The meetings were hosted by Minister of External Affairs of India, Salman Khurshid. Representatives from 50 countries and 10 international organizations attended the meetings. Click on the attachment on the right to view Deputy Minister Ahmadi's speech.

Below are remarks by Chairman Khurshid, which provide a recap of the meeting.

Chairman’s Statement
International Contact Group Meeting
New Delhi, India, 16 January 2014

1. Members of the International Contact Group (ICG) met on January 16th, 2014, in New Delhi to discuss important issues related to the political, security, and economic transition in Afghanistan, as well as preparations for Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential and provincial council elections. Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid delivered the inaugural address. The Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of India, Ambassador S.K. Lambah, and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi addressed the inaugural session, which was chaired by Ambassador Michael Koch, ICG Chairman and German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Special Representatives and senior officials from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, more than fifty International Contact Group member states, and international organizations attended the meeting.
2. Contact Group members welcomed the progress made by the Afghan Government in preparation for the 2014 elections, including efforts to update voter registration for next year’s Presidential and Provincial Council Elections. They noted the importance of a level playing field for all candidates in the Presidential election as essential for a fair contest. Contact Group members reaffirmed their support for the electoral process while remaining impartial, neither supporting nor favoring any candidate. The Afghan government reiterated its assurances as to guaranteeing equal access to state resources, and access to complaint mechanisms. Contact Group members underscored the importance of a credible and impartial Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) and the speedy establishment of its nationwide operational structure.
3. Contact Group members indicated their confidence in the capability of the Afghan Security Forces (ANSF) to ensure security for the Presidential and Provincial Council elections. They reaffirmed their commitment to support the ANSF at the request of Afghan authorities.
4. Contact Group members took note of the progress in implementing the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework since the Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul on July 3rd, 2013, namely the adoption of the legal framework for the upcoming Presidential elections. Members referred to the ongoing discussions on the remaining hard deliverables and looked forward to a joint review of progress later in January in Kabul. Donor countries confirmed their commitments to sustained civilian assistance through and beyond the security transition in 2014. Contact Group members were in accord on the importance of continuity of the Tokyo Process beyond the election date and affirmed that the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework will continue to serve as a reference for relations between donors and a new Afghan Government.
5. Contact Group members underscored the importance of regional cooperation in order to enhance stability in Afghanistan and the region as a whole. They welcomed the growing sense of regional ownership and awareness for the mutual benefits of cooperation. Contact Group members welcomed the convening of the Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia group in New Delhi on January 17th, 2014. They commended the efforts made by regional countries to enhance regional political dialogue ahead of the Tianjin Ministerial, which will be hosted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in August 2014. They further commended preparations underway to convene the Sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on March 25-26, 2014 in connection with the International Nawroz Day Festival on March 27 in Kabul. The Afghan Government pledged to continue in its efforts at creating a business-friendly environment.
6. Contact Group members remain fully supportive of Afghan-led reconciliation as the surest way to end the violence and bring lasting stability to Afghanistan and the region. Members underscored that the Taliban and other armed opposition groups must end violence, break ties with Al Qaeda and accept Afghanistan’s constitution.
7. Contact Group members appreciated the long-standing commitment by the Government of Afghanistan to respect and defend the fundamental rights of women and girls. They encouraged the Government of Afghanistan to continue in its efforts to ensure the protection of women's and girls’ civil and social rights, and to ensure equal participation of women in the electoral process, as voters, candidates, and election workers. Furthermore, Contact Group members acknowledged enhanced efforts at implementing the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) as a part of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.
8. The Contact Group thanked the Government of India for its hospitality in hosting this meeting. On behalf of the Government of Germany, the Chairman thanked ICG members for their continued dedication to international and regional efforts to support Afghanistan, emphasizing especially the significant efforts by the Afghan Government in preparing the upcoming presidential and provincial elections, providing security for those elections, and in implementing the obligations made under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.