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Brahimi meets in Kabul with designated leaders

Brahimi meets in Kabul with Afghanistan's designated leaders

11 December - The Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, today held a series of meetings in the country's capital to discuss the transfer of power scheduled to take place next week.

The envoy met with Abdullah Abdullah, the Foreign Minister designate and General Mohammad Qasim Fahim, the Defence Minister designate, among other leaders.

Mr. Brahimi also received key pledges of support for the transition, which will take place on 22 December according to an agreement reached last week in Bonn. Current Afghan leader Burhanuddin Rabbani told the envoy that he would hand over power to Hamid Karzai, the designated head of the new interim administration.

During a stopover in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday night, Mr. Brahimi received a message from Rashid Dostum, a Northern Alliance leader in northern Afghanistan, who said he would not support any efforts to derail the power-sharing deal reached in Bonn.

Mr. Brahimi is scheduled to return to Islamabad on Wednesday to meet with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. He will then proceed to New York for a short stay before returning to Kabul for the formal transfer of power.

In another development, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) announced today that some 40 Afghan women attending a meeting in Brussels organized by the agency had formulated an action plan to ensure that women are central to efforts to rebuild their war-shattered nation.

Concluding a two-day roundtable co-organized by the Government of Belgium, the women called for the establishment of a commission of Afghan women to work directly with the interim authority and provisional government. The commission would coordinate efforts to provide names of Afghan women from within and outside Afghanistan who could be considered for leadership positions as new government structures were created.

"We cannot have a situation where warlords are brought to the table and not women," said UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer. "We cannot have a situation where leadership is seen in terms of arms, and not in terms of the courage that women have shown. In short, the rebuilding process itself will suffer without women's leadership."

ENDS

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