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UN News: UN Consults US & Pakistan On Afghanistan

- After talks in Washington on Afghanistan, Brahimi meets Islamic delegates at UN
- UN consulting with neighbouring countries on aid delivery to Afghanistan


After talks in Washington on Afghanistan, Brahimi meets Islamic delegates at UN

22 October – The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, returned to New York today after visiting Washington, D.C., over the weekend for talks with United States government officials.

As the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mr. Brahimi met on Monday with the ambassadors of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a UN spokesman said today.

On Saturday, speaking at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Mr. Brahimi said that his talks with American officials focussed on the UN's role in Afghanistan and that various options were discussed. "We agreed with them, as we have with a lot of other people, that whatever arrangements are going to be made, [they] need to be owned by the people of Afghanistan," he said. "Otherwise, it's not going to work."

The envoy noted that the UN had been asked by Member States to do a number of things in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, among them to provide humanitarian relief to the people of Afghanistan and to try to help the Afghans come together and solve their political problems and unrelenting conflicts.

"The third area in which we are going to be working, slightly at a later stage, but we are going to start preparing for it now, is the rehabilitation, reconstruction and, ultimately, the economic and social development of Afghanistan, post conflict," he said.

Mr. Brahimi stressed that although it was too early to say what kind of government Afghanistan would have, a new regime would need to be acceptable to a broad spectrum of Afghan society.

"We very much hope that it will be an Afghanistan where all the Afghans, all the communities in Afghanistan will be comfortable, where the culture, the tradition of Afghanistan will be fully respected," he said. "I'm sure that this culture and this tradition is not incompatible with the necessity of respecting the rights of both individuals and communities, and that form of government needs to be acceptable to all Afghans."

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UN consulting with neighbouring countries on aid delivery to Afghanistan

22 October – The United Nations top relief official has arrived in Turkmenistan for the first part of his mission to discuss ways to enhance cooperation with three Central Asian countries in delivering humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, a UN spokesman in New York said today.

Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, met today with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov, Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and the country's Chairman of the Commission on Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan, spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

Mr. Oshima and President Niyazov agreed to several immediate steps that would facilitate the UN's ability to conduct cross-border deliveries of assistance from Turkmenistan, including the establishment of humanitarian offices in Attamurat and Imam Nazar, the spokesman said.

Mr. Oshima's deputy, Caroline McAskie, said the current visit by the Under-Secretary-General was similar to his trip in early October to Pakistan and Iran. "He's there now to talk to the governments, to assure them the international [humanitarian] response to the crisis includes assistance to them in dealing with the overflow into their countries and to work out modalities for the UN to use their space for access to Afghans who are suffering because of the crisis," she said at a press briefing in New York.


The UN was raising a number of issues with these countries, Ms. McAskie said, adding that Mr. Oshima was carrying letters from Secretary-General Kofi Annan seeking high-level cooperation. The UN has also been setting up modalities for its country teams to work with local authorities to set up offices on the border to assist in the passage of material.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the Taliban have abandoned the UN offices they were occupying after their supreme leader ordered the return of all looted assets to international aid agencies, a UN spokesman in Islamabad said today.

Last Thursday, Mullah Omar, the Supreme Leader of the Taliban, issued a decree instructing his followers to ensure the speedy recovery and return of all looted assets.

"The Taliban official who had earlier occupied the UNOCHA compound in Mazar left the compound on Saturday minutes after receiving a copy of the latest edict from Mullah Omer," said Hasan Ferdous, spokesperson for the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan.

As pressure continued to build at the border with Pakistan - particularly at the Chaman crossing point - from the growing number of Afghan refugees, UN officials said the Government of Pakistan indicated this morning that 11 locations would be ready before the end of the month in the North West Frontier Province, and that six sites would be ready in Baluchistan Province within the next couple of days.

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