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Afghanistan: Countdown To International Peace Day

Afghanistan: UN mission launches countdown to International Peace Day

12 August 2008 - The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today joined graduating students from Kabul's Polytechnic to launch a countdown to the annual International Peace Day intended to be marked by a global ceasefire on 21 September.

"Peace is Afghanistan's greatest need and it is the United Nations' highest calling. Peace is the bedrock from which we can encourage development, defend human rights and support progress," Kai Eide, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said today.

Mr. Eide was addressing students at the Polytechnic, which is the first higher education institution in the country to offer courses in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

Launching the 40-day countdown, the envoy said that last year International Peace Day enabled the UN and Afghans to vaccinate thousands of children against disease, deliver hundreds of tons of life-saving food supplies, and to reach out to communities in previously insecure areas.

"Let us send a message to those who are still fighting that the time for conflict must come to an end, let us give a voice to all those Afghans whose lives continue to be blighted by the shadow of fear and violence that they are not alone," he said.

"Over the next 40 days we want to work closely with grassroots communities, religious leaders, civil society organisations and Afghans from all walks of life to build a momentum for peace that reaches every corner of Afghanistan," he added.

ENDS

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