The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed delegates attending the Brussels summit on Afghanis
Afghanistan Can Count on Global Partners: UN Chief
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed delegates attending the Brussels summit on Afghanistan on Wednesday and said that "the people of Afghanistan have been able to count on the help of the international community."
Ban said the United Nations stands ready to help Afghanistan but called for a greater role to be played by women in the country.
He did however, welcome the National Unity Government's (NUG) move to include women in the peace process.
He also welcomed the recent establishment of the anti-corruption judicial center but said he was "deeply concerned" about the high civilian toll and the high number of displaced people in the country. On this note he called on the country's international partners to further commit to helping Afghanistan.
He said he believes that peace and prosperity also requires regional support and called on all regional partners to do their part to help build a peaceful and prosperous future.
He said his message is clear, keep Afghanistan on a path of development and self-reliance.
"We share a bond that stretches back over many decades. Next month Afghanistan marks its 70th year as part of the United Nations," he said, adding that "the international community must use the opportunity (Brussels Summit) to chart the way forward for a prosperous Afghanistan."
In the meantime, the U.S Secretary of State John Kerry told delegates at the summit that despite the challenges "I have an enormous sense of confidence about the future regarding Afghanistan."
Kerry said since 2001 the maternal mortality rate had dropped by 75% and access to health care had "skyrocketed" and added that "progress made thus far is only the beginning."
He said that Afghans are being denied peace by only a small group of people and went on to mention the Hizb-e-Islami peace accord. He said "this is a model for what might be possible - very important beginnings."
He stated that the Afghan army and police force have stood up and fought back against insurgents but "there is a path forward to peace - a political settlement is the only way to end the fighting."
Kerry said that in 2012 donors came together to pledge assistance over four years and assured the people of Afghanistan that "'we will not abandon our Afghan friends."
Kerry said Afghan leaders are committed to and want a better future for their country.
On the NUG, he said that Afghan leaders have made good on their promises including that of fighting corruption and also added that government "revenue performance remains strong despite the many security challenges."
On elections, he said that the right for free and fair elections is the right of every Afghan, including women, and pointed out that societies with empowered women are more stable and more prosperous.
He also said that the U.S pledges to deepen its partnership with Afghanistan all the way through 2020.
He stated that several countries could help and urged Russia, China and Iran to think about the role they could play. Pledges made are only as valuable as the ways they are implemented," he said.
President Ashraf Ghani also addressed delegates and summarized government's achievements in recent years.
He also touched on security and said Afghanistan "is facing a threat than can also threaten the world". He also called for a minute's silence to remember all those who died in Afghanistan in past 15 years.
Ghani says what is critical is to generate regional will to fight terrorism.
"Terrorism is not only a threat to Afghanistan but a threat to the entire world. Root of problem is in region, we at a national level are committed to dialogue and constructive politics and unfortunately terrorism is not a short-term phenomenon, it is a medium term phenomenon," Ghani added.
Ghani said the international community has stood by Afghanistan for many years and acknowledged there are problems in the country including poverty, education, and a high mortality rate.
"Afghanistan needs the international community's help in terms of changing the lives of Afghans. More than 39% of Afghans live in poverty. Afghans know that without good education for their children, they will not have a decent future," he said.
Ghani summarizes positive achievements that international aid has brought.
"Last year government increased revenue by 22%, despite a severe recession and in the last 3 months government has secured $1.1billion USD investment in the country. Over the next three years government will start building more dams," more dams than ever built in the past, he said.
Ghani ended off by saying Afghanistan will succeed.
The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also says that the international community will stand by Afghanistan but said women's rights need to be taken into consideration in the country.