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Cablegate: Osce/Permanent Council: Response to Osce/Odihr

VZCZCXRO1801
OO RUEHAST RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL
RUEHSR
DE RUEHC #6174 3432106
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 092105Z DEC 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 6285
INFO ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 4984

UNCLAS STATE 126174

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OSCE PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM AF
SUBJECT: OSCE/PERMANENT COUNCIL: RESPONSE TO OSCE/ODIHR
FINAL REPORT ON ELECTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN

(U) Post is authorized to present the following statement at
the Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on December 10.

Begin text:

Madam Chair,

The United States warmly welcomes Ambassador Lenarcic back to
the Permanent Council and thanks him for presenting this
final report by the ODIHR Election Support Team for
Afghanistan. The report,s detailed analysis and thoughtful
recommendations make plain why ODIHR truly represents the
well-deserved label of the gold standard, in election
observation.

We would like to congratulate ODIHR on fully completing its
mandate as stipulated in PC Decision 891, well within
existing resources, and notwithstanding the sometimes
dangerous situations in which EST team members found
themselves. The United States once again condemns the
cowardice of the Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the
October 28 terrorist attack on the UN housing area in Kabul.
We again express our condolences to the families of the five
UN staff members killed in the attack. We are likewise
thankful that the remaining members of the EST escaped injury
and that the EST was willing to continue its task should a
second round have been necessary in the presidential
election.

The United States joins with ODIHR in its sober assessment of
the impact of fraud, corruption and violence -- or the threat
of violence -- undoubtedly had on the electorate in
Afghanistan. Yet we cannot understate the courage of more
than five million Afghan citizens, who despite these
inhibiting factors and other seemingly insurmountable
obstacles, turned out to cast their votes in the first ever
Afghan-led elections. Similarly, we would like to express
our heartfelt appreciation to the thousands of Afghan and
international observers and security officials who, sometimes
at great personal risk, supported the electoral process and
made this election as well as the ODIHR,s candid report
possible.

The United States concurs with the report's findings that
deep and sustained reform is required in Afghanistan to
enhance the government,s ability and credibility in
conducting future elections. We remain committed to
partnering with the Afghan people and their government on our
shared objectives of strengthening good governance, tackling
corruption, increasing economic opportunities, and improving
security for all Afghans. We note the calls by the EST for
reform of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the
Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). We also take note of
the report's call for a review of the electoral calendar,
consideration of an electoral system that encourages the
creation of political parties alongside independent
candidates, and the need for a robust, comprehensive voter
register. We will study the comprehensive recommendations
set forth in the ODIHR report and will work with our Afghan
and international partners on their implementation. We value
highly the effective partnership ODIHR has built over the
past few years with the IEC and ECC and we look forward to
further opportunities ahead to build upon it.

We once again wish to thank you, Ambassador Lenarcic, for
your tireless efforts to support respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law
throughout the OSCE and in our partner nations. The OSCE's
work with the government and people of Afghanistan stands as
a testament to the enduring commitment by our region,
including neighboring states, to helping Afghanistan on its
way toward a secure, prosperous and democratic future.

Thank you, Madam Chair.
CLINTON

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