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UN Afghan talks in Bonn ‘off to a good start’

UN Afghan talks in Bonn ‘off to a good start’, Annan says

28 November - Talks among four Afghan factions in Bonn “are off to a good start,” according to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who addressed reporters in Washington, D.C., today following his meeting with President George Bush.

“The parties seem to want a broad-based government and I hope they will be able to settle the establishment of a government before they leave Bonn,” said Mr. Annan. He emphasized that donor countries, including the US, were willing to work with the Afghan people in rebuilding their society. “But we need a partner, and the partner has to be an effective Afghan government that is cohesive, that is stable, that will work with the donor community to ensure that the resources that are being applied to rehabilitation and reconstruction is used effectively,” he said.

The four factions meeting in Bonn, the Secretary-General said, “have a historic opportunity to put the past behind them and form a broad-based government that will be loyal to the Afghan people and respect its international obligations.”

If the Afghans succeed in forming a government, he added, “from all the commitments that I have heard from the President and other leaders, the resources will be there over a period, in a sustained manner, to help rebuild Afghanistan, so I urge them to seize the moment for the sake of their people and for the sake of their country.”

UN officials attending the Bonn talks reported that the atmosphere has been very good so far, while underscoring that the task would not be easy. Discussions are centred on the creation of the interim administration of Afghanistan, as a first step towards a handover of power in Kabul.

The factions represented – the Rome group, the Cyprus group, the Peshawar group and the Northern Alliance – met among and between themselves. The also had the opportunity to meet representatives of Members States, and consulted occasionally with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi and his Deputy Francesc Vendrell.

Several women are among the delegates participating in the Bonn talks. Attending from the Rome group are Sima Wali and Rona Mansouri, both full delegates. Representing the Northern Alliance, Amina Safi Afzali is a full delegate and Sedighe Amena is adviser. Fatana Gilaini is an adviser with the Peshawar group, while Seddighe Balki is an adviser with the Cyprus group.

ENDS

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