|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, in Closing Remarks to International Conference,
Hails ‘New Compact’ between Government, People of Afghanistan
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s closing remarks at the International Conference on Afghanistan, in Kabul, today, 20 July:
Thank you for your commitment and very perceptive discussions today that took place for the future of Afghanistan. And I also would like to express on behalf of all of us our deepest appreciation and admiration for the leadership of President [Hamid] Karzai. And for the hospitality that went out to all of us. Thank you very much.
Today’s discussion was so rich, detailed and comprehensive that it is hard to summarize it. Let me just say that we have agreed on a communiqué that highlights both the essential points of our deliberations and the very specific commitments we have made.
What we have achieved is of tremendous importance. Never before have we had a more concrete vision of Afghanistan’s future. Moreover, this vision was created by the Afghan Government. It has been developed with the Afghan people.
It is based on a new compact between the Government and the country’s people. And it has been endorsed by the international community, reflecting our determination to stay engaged for the long term, align our activities behind Afghan priorities, and do our part to enable stability and development to take hold in this country. Now we must focus all our energies on making this vision a reality.
Certainly, we have challenged ourselves by setting out specific, measurable commitments. Those commitments are the criteria against which we will be judged, and by which we should judge ourselves.
Accepting that judgment is the essence of accountable Government and effective aid. The people of Afghanistan expect us to rise to this challenge. So do the people of each of the other countries represented at this table. We must not disappoint them.
Finally, let me express my gratitude to the Afghan Government, first, for its hospitality again today, second, for the hard work it has done on its programmes for the future. With the planning now done, implementation lies ahead. The Kabul Conference may be ending today, but the Kabul Process continues. It continues with our full support and with our expectations of returning one day to this historic city and to a more prosperous and stable Afghanistan.
Let me just add my personal observation and reflection on my experiences of Kabul. When I was just a secretary in the Korean Foreign Ministry, I was covering Afghanistan and working on this area and India. I used to come here. I was so impressed with this beautiful building. The whole city was very secure and I was able to walk around and eat a kabab in the market without any fear of insecurity.
Now, after 37 years or so, coming to this building, this is my first time after that, after I had left and I [had] just got the office of Foreign Minister, where I went today with my ambassador to establish diplomatic relationships.
That was my personal reflection, and I really hope that, when I come back again, we will really be able to see this city secure and prosperous, and people can walk around freely without any threat of insecurity. And this is my own personal statement. Thank you very much for listening to my own personal reflections.
I have a special attachment to you and to your people and thank you very much for your leadership.
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