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Accord Offers New Hope For Afghanistan

The signing of a power-sharing agreement after intensive negotiations at UN-sponsored talks in Bonn was an important first step towards lasting peace and the return of legitimate authority in Afghanistan, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.

“This is a landmark for the people of Afghanistan, giving them the right to freely determine their own political future in accordance with the principles of Islam, democracy, pluralism and social justice.

“It reaffirms the commitment of all participants to promote national reconciliation, lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights. The UN’s support has been critical in achieving this result.

“A legitimate government and the rule of law in Afghanistan are pre-requisites to ending the terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking that has thrived in past years.

“While the accord is a step forward, the hard work lies ahead and much will depend on the Afghan parties working together in good faith,” Mr Goff said.

The accord was signed by all four Afghan groups represented at the negotiations. Agreement was reached on a provisional arrangement in Afghanistan, pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions.

An interim authority of 30 members will be established on 22 December. It will rule for six months until a traditional grand assembly, opened by the former King of Afghanistan Zahir Shah, appoints a transitional government. The transitional government will govern for 18 months until a constitution was approved and elections held.

Mr Goff said that the provisional arrangement was also significant because it included two women and an interim Department of Women’s Affairs.

“This is a positive development for the participation of women in Afghanistan’s political life,” he said.


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