Afghans can count on sustained support from UN, top envoy pledges

Special Representative Staffan de Mistura speaks to the press in Herat

11 June 2010 – The Government and people of Afghanistan can count on the sustained support of the United Nations and the rest of the international community as they continue to strive for peace and development, the world body’s representative in the country reaffirmed today.

“We will be by your side for as long as we are welcome, but the future lies in the hands of Afghans,” Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, told reporters during a visit to the western province of Herat.

“There are difficult months ahead for Afghanistan, but the solution is real internal dialogue amongst Afghans. We will be with you through this process,” he pledged.

At the London Conference in January, the Government and its international partners jointly endorsed a strategy of transition to greater Afghan responsibility for the affairs of the country. A follow-up meeting will be held in Kabul next month.

The country is also preparing for the holding of parliamentary elections, scheduled for September.

During his visit to Herat, Mr. de Mistura, who heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), saw for himself an area of the country that has displayed great potential and made significant strides in development over recent years.

He said he looked forward to seeing the Government increasingly expand its capacity and reach to meet the demands of its people and helping them improve their daily lives and assume ownership of their own future.

Mr. de Mistura met with the Governor, Dr. Nooristani, the Provincial Council, the provincial reconstruction team and members of the diplomatic community, as well as with the Prosecutor-General, Maria Bashir.

The Special Representative also toured the regional hospital and a regional prison and female correctional facility. In addition, he visited the Citadel and blue mosque in the centre of Herat, both symbols of Islamic culture that were reconstructed with the support of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.


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