Upcoming Afghan conference will help promote postelection dialogue – Ban

Mr. Ban said the London conference – scheduled to take place on 28 January – and a further high-level conference, to be convened in Kabul a few months later – will help outline the framework so that Afghans can play a greater role in shaping their own destiny.“These conferences would thus constitute defining moments in the reconfiguration of the relationship between Afghanistan and the international community,” Mr. Ban said today in a statement issued in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he is attending the Commonwealth heads of government meeting.The United Nations Secretary-General stressed his support for high-level dialogue and noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in his inaugural speech earlier this month, also outlined the importance of such discussions in the wake of the elections.Mr. Karzai was re-elected to the presidency after his opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from the run-off round that had been slated for 7 November.In his inaugural speech Mr. Karzai detailed a work programme for the new Government, and pledged to fight corruption and to bring increased good governance, security and services to the country, where the Taliban and other insurgents continue to wreak violence.The London conference is the result of a joint European proposal by the United Kingdom, France and Germany and Mr. Ban today thanked Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel for their initiative.After meeting with Mr. Brown today, Mr. Ban told journalists that the conference would have two objectives: to establish a strong compact between Mr. Karzai, his Government and his people, and to set up a strong partnership between the Afghan people and the international community.”We expect President Karzai will reach out to ethnic groups and other political leaders to promote national reconciliation and unity of the government. We also expect that we will try to help the Afghan Government so they can build institutional capacity.”We also expect that President Karzai will ensure good governance, including eradication of corrupt practices of their country and… [through improving and strengthening] partnerships with neighbouring countries like Pakistan, India, Iran and Turkey.” 28 November 2009The international conference on Afghanistan that will be staged in London early next year provides “a very timely” opportunity to discuss the country’s agenda in the wake of its recent presidential elections, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. read more

Manmohan assures GL on cooperation

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured the Minister of External Affairs Prof. GL Peiris that India’s cooperation with Sri Lanka in all sectors is accorded highest priority, the External Affairs Ministry said.A statement by the Ministry today said that Prof. GL Peiris who is currently in New Delhi in connection with the 8th Session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday. Recalling President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent visit to India in September 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requested Minister Peiris to convey his warm personal regards to the President, the statement said. Prime Minister Singh had also expressed satisfaction at the very productive Joint Commission session between the two countries and stressed the importance of meetings of the nature of the Joint Commission in strengthening the bilateral partnership between India and Sri Lanka in all sectors including economic, trade and security. The External Affairs Ministry said that the Prime Minister had also appreciated several initiatives and projects by all stakeholders to increase bilateral trade and investment as well as people-to-people contact.Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs K. Amunugama and High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam were associated with Minister Peiris at the meeting while National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and High Commissioner Ashok Kantha were associated with Prime Minister Singh at the meeting. (Colombo Gazette) read more