3 November 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Appeals for Regional Cooperation to Bolster Afghanistan’s


Transition Process, Hails Government’s Efforts to ‘Reach out to Neighbours’


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Istanbul Conference on Afghanistan, delivered by Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in Istanbul, 2 November:

It is an honour to convey my greetings to this Conference.  I am grateful to President [Abdullah] Gül and President [Hamid] Karzai for convening this important meeting, and I welcome the participation of Afghanistan’s neighbours and so many other countries from the region and beyond.

It has long been recognized that peace and stability in Afghanistan are essential for peace and stability throughout the region.  We are all too aware of the many ways in which the prolonged conflict affects not only the Afghan people, but also their neighbours.

This Conference is, therefore, a very encouraging initiative to strengthen regional cooperation.  It is also timely, as Afghanistan embarks on the transition process, the course of which will define its future.

Transition is primarily a process by which the Government of Afghanistan will reinforce its sovereignty, ownership and leadership.  The Government has sought to do precisely that during preparations for this Conference, by seeking to be not merely the subject but the catalyst.  I applaud this vision, this leadership and the efforts to reach out to the country’s neighbours.

A considerable amount of diplomatic effort went into preparing for this event.  Regional diversity and the numerous and complex issues involved made for a challenging preparatory process.  Yet, I am encouraged by the efforts of all participants to seize the opportunity and to contribute.  This is testimony to your commitment to regional cooperation as a means to address shared challenges and pursue common objectives.

It is my hope that this event will have a constructive outcome that builds upon the momentum of previous meetings and declarations, and paves the way for practical, coherent and concerted action.  As ever, the United Nations is committed to supporting your efforts.  Please accept my best wishes for a fruitful Conference.

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For information media • not an official record