21 February 2017

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and US President Donald Trump discussed issues of mutual interest during a phone conversation earlier Thursday night.
According to Presidential press office, the two leaders discussed counter-terrorism efforts, including Afghanistan and regional countries’ security as well as investment and the economy.
Hinting to Afghan National Security Forces’ (ANSF) performances and crossing of the obstacles, President Ghani said the US and NATO forces playing key role in fight against terrorism together with Afghan forces, the statement added.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said Afghanistan’s success in war on terror and its practical steps on the aspect, caused the two countries to be the main partners in such war.
The US president said would soon meet his Afghan counterpart and both agreed that their team further work on the issues discussed and fix a date for the meeting, the statement added.

Saturday February 11, 2017

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday said that government has strong will to implement comprehensive reforms and hold the Wolesi Jirga elections.
A statement from the presidential palace told Bakhtar News Agency, the president chaired a meeting attended by Independent Election Commission (IEC) commissioners, the UN special representative and a number of foreign envoys. Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also attended the meeting that discussed preparations for holding the parliamentary and district councils elections. IEC chief Najibullah Ahmadzai presented his report about the commission’s financial, legal and technical developments as well as consultations with political parties about the elections. The president urged the IEC to organize the election schedule and requirements of the commission so its operations proceeded without any interruption. “The IEC should organize its plans and procurements in a way to be cost-effective and stable,” the statement quoted the president as saying. President Ghani suggested creation of an information technology committee in the IEC to could ensure transparent elections.
He also stressed prevention of mistakes made in the past elections said the capacity of human resources should be effectively used in the upcoming elections. The president also stressed overall transparency of elections said anyone who attempted fraud and corruption in elections would be taken to justice under the new election law. “The government is committed for providing $30 million fund for the procurement of upcoming elections,” he said. Dr. Abdullah on the occasion also said the government had strong will for holding the elections. He stressed organizational reforms in the IEC. Foreign envoys welcomed the government’s stance on the upcoming elections and pledged support to the democratic process. They suggested the creations of a permanent committee to work in different electoral areas, particularly finance, security and technical ones. The president said standards and foundations should be defined and used in the 2017 and 2019 elections. The statement said Second Vice-President Sarwar Danesh, Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi, IEC commissioners and ambassadors of the US, the UK, EU, Norway, Japan and Germany as well as NATO’s RS mission representative also participated in the meeting.

Saturday February 11, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Presided over by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the cabinet session was held at presidential palace the other day.
In the session, the cabinet by strongly condemning Tuesday suicide attack in Kabul tasked MoI and NDS to identify perpetrators of the incident and submit them to justice. Meanwhile, the cabinet regarded recent snowfalls in the country as a good omen, asserting that recent snowfalls would be useful for agriculture, cultivation and work in Afghanistan and increase economic development by 3.5%. The cabinet tasked chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to take urgent step in cooperation with MoD, MoI, state ministry of countering natural disasters, ARCS and other relevant organs in connection with dispatching aids to victims caused by snowfalls in the country’s provinces. Afterwards, minister of justice delivered the session attached draft law on medals and signs related to issuing state Amir Ali Shir Nawayee stated medal, adding that the draft has been prepared in six articles and approved in laws committee. The cabinet also approved the respective draft. Later on, minister of justice delivered the session the draft regulation on medical trashes prepared in five chapters and 25 articles, which was approved by the cabinet and ministries of justice and public health were tasked to amend and finalize the regulation. Minister of justice also delivered the cabinet draft regulation on assessment of the social and environment’s impacts prepared in three chapters and 17 articles and approved by laws committee.
The cabinet approved the regulation and tasked ministry of justice to include representative of Kabul municipality in special committee on assessment of the social and environment’s impacts and report once a year of the modality of supervision and audition of environment permit to cabinet session. In the session, minister of justice also delivered the cabinet draft regulation on foreign military higher education scholarships prepared in three chapters and 19 articles and approved by the laws committee. The cabinet by approving the respective draft tasked MoD, MoI and NDS to prioritize those officers fighting for protection of national sovereignty in front line of war in connection with distribution of foreign scholarships and consider a proper place in accordance to their higher education field three months prior to completion of their higher education and take urgent steps for their reappointment after they return home.

Wednesday February 8, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Moscow wants to cooperate with Kabul in a range of areas, especially in security and economy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday opening talks with his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani.
"Russia and Afghanistan are old-time and close partners, and are interested in cooperation in security, humanitarian and economic areas," Lavrov said. "We support efforts of Afghanistan’s leadership in stabilizing the situation in the country and in the war on terror." Moscow is satisfied by the "level of political dialogue" with Afghanistan and cooperation in the United Nations, Russia’s top diplomat said. Lavrov expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the avalanches in Afghanistan earlier this month, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured people. More than 100 people died in this tragedy between February 4 and 6. Lavrov called on Afghanistan to develop cooperation in preparing for natural disasters. Rabbani thanked Lavrov for offering condolences, noting that Afghanistan’s authorities are making every effort to reduce the aftermath of the disaster.
"This trip is important, we call for developing our relations. We have many topics for discussion, in particular, the fight against terrorism," Afghanistan’s foreign minister said. The international meeting on Afghanistan with participation of Russia, Pakistan, China, Iran and India will be held in Moscow in mid-February, Lavrov said. "We have a common understanding that there is the need to boost efforts (for reconciliation in Afghanistan). In this context, we confirmed the invitation for the Afghan colleagues for another meeting on Afghanistan’s settlement due in mid-February in Moscow, with participation of representatives of Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Iran and India," Lavrov said. "We expect that all partners will be represented at a high level, and most of them have already confirmed their participation," he said. Russia’s supports Afghanistan’s bid for full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according to Lavrov. "We confirmed our support for the development of cooperation in assisting the Afghan settlement as part of the SCO, considering that this year India and Pakistan will join the SCO as full-format members and considering that Kabul filed a similar application in 2015 for full-fledged membership, a bid, which the Russian Federation supports," Lavrov said.
Russia will continue working in favor of the approval of this application by all the SCO members, Russia’s top diplomat said. Russia is prepared to continue providing assistance to Afghanistan in supplying and repairing military equipment, Lavrov said.
"The Russian side has confirmed its willingness to continue providing assistance to Afghanistan in supplying and repairing military equipment," the minister said. "We have the appropriate capabilities and the appropriate agreements. We will also help training national personnel of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, both in military and civilian occupations." Moscow is prepared to establish contacts with the United States on Afghanistan and this will be to the benefit of everyone, first of all the Afghan people, Lavrov said. "As soon as the structures are formed in Washington, which will deal with the war on terror and the Afghan issue in broader terms, both in the State Department, the White House and other bodies of the US administration, I’m sure that our contacts will be established," Lavrov said. "This will be to the benefit of everyone, including our Afghan friends," he said. The Russian diplomat also said that Russia supports the idea of plugging the Taliban into a dialog over future settlement in Afghanistan on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions. "We have confirmed our common stance that Taliban should be involved in a constructive dialog in keeping with the criteria contained in the UN Security Council resolutions," Lavrov said. Lavrov said the Taliban was trying "to conduct the dialog on certain terms that do not quite suit our Afghan counterparts and in a situation where the Islamic State (terrorist organization outlawed in Russia), has been trying to get a foothold in Afghanistan."

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