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UN strives for "big success" at Kabul conference, official says

07-19-2010 15:26 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations will try its best to ensure the upcoming international conference on Afghanistan "a big success", said a senior UN official.

"We are very honored that (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai has asked the United Nations to co-chair this conference," Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, Director of the Asia and Middle East Division, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told Xinhua in a recent interview ahead of Tuesday's conference in Kabul.

"It shows the strong bond between the United Nations and Afghanistan and we will do our best to make this conference a big success."

Over 60 envoys, among them some 40 foreign ministers including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are expected to attend the event co-chaired by Karzai and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The conference follows the London Conference held in January, at which the Afghan government and its international partners endorsed a strategy to transfer greater responsibility into the hands of Afghans.

As the first major international event of its kind hosted by Afghanistan, the Kabul conference is of great significance, Weisbrod-Weber said.

"We've had conferences in London, the Hague, Paris, and Bonn. They were all somewhere else," he said. "But this one is organized by and prepared for the Afghans. It is a conference about Afghan people themselves."

Weisbrod-Weber said the United Nations expects Afghan authorities and ministries to present their views for the future of their country at the conference, including governance, security and economic and social development.

"This is not a dialogue between the international community and the Afghans, but a dialogue between the Afghan government and its people," he said. "The role of the international community is to align behind the government."

Top UN envoy in Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura said last week the main objective of the conference is to foster confidence in a "public contract between the Afghan government and the Afghan people" and to promote the delivery of social and economic improvements.

The international community, he added, will not be expected to bring new funds to the meeting but to re-align the resources which they have already allocated for Afghanistan with the country's own priorities.

"It is very important to point that this is not a pledging conference," said Weisbrod-Weber. "Frankly there is enough money being spent. The challenge is how to spend and what it is to spend for."

According to a joint news release issued by the United Nations and the Afghan government, the conference will be an opportunity for the international community to support Afghan-led priorities including fighting corruption, building up self-reliant Afghan national security forces, and undertaking reconciliation and reintegration activities to reach out to opposition and to encourage combatants to lay down their arms.

Talking about the relations between the United Nations and Afghanistan, Weisbrod-Weber said that the two have maintained "strong ties."

The United Nations has been with the Afghan people for many years in good times and bad times. "We have never left the Afghans alone," he said.

"This is a treasure of goodwill accumulated by previous generations of UN people,"Weisbrod-Weber said. "I think that is what makes the relations between the United Nations and Afghans so strong. It is the long history of reliability."

He said the United Nations will continue to contribute to the good relations with Afghanistan and remain at the side of the Afghan people.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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