G8 FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING
STATEMENT ON AFGHANISTAN
We, the Foreign Ministers of the G8, met today with Foreign Minister Abdullah of Afghanistan. We congratulated the Government of Afghanistan and the Afghan people on the remarkable progress they have achieved since the Bonn Agreement of December 2001. We warmly welcome the prospect of Parliamentary and Provincial elections on 18 September 2005, as a further important step towards democracy. These elections will mark a successful conclusion to the formal Bonn Process, but not the end of the international community's commitment to Afghanistan.
Serious challenges remain. We are committed to supporting the Government and people of Afghanistan as they work to build on their achievements, to underpin their freedom and enhance their security, to complete the transition to the rule of law, to accelerate the pace and scope of human and economic development, and to eliminate dependence on the illicit drugs economy. We support the efforts to promote national reconciliation and to address injustices of the recent past, and we acknowledge the importance of an Afghan-led Transitional Justice process.
We support the effort being made by the international community through the UN Security Council mandated and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, and through Operation Enduring Freedom, to promote security and stability in Afghanistan. The primary responsibility for enforcing law and order rests with the Government of Afghanistan, but international security assistance will be necessary for same time to come. We welcome the ongoing work to ensure greater synergy between ISAF and OEF, including ways of better integrating the two operations and proposed timelines for its implementation.
Security remains essential for long-term reconstruction and development in Afghanistan. We welcome the progress so far made in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of militia forces, and recognise the particular challenges associated with the disbandment of illegal armed groups throughout the country. We will work closely with the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations to held diminish the threat these groups pose to the political process, including to the forthcoming elections, to security sector reform and to our efforts to eliminate the production, processing and trade of narcotics.
Narcotics pose a direct challenge to Afghanistan's stability and security. We endorse and support the 2005 Counter-Narcotics Implementation Plan as the basis for making progress towards a drug-free Afghanistan. We endorse the efforts being made by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to end poppy cultivation, to build relevant judicial and police capacity, and to provide the means for sustainable alternative livelihoods for those engaged in the rural economy. We recognise the need for increased finance and capacity-building, and encourage the international community to remain closely engaged.
The United Nations has a vital role to play in supporting the Afghan Government. We attach the utmost importance to the work of UNAMA and other agencies of the UN and believe that UNAMA should continue to play a crucial co-ordinating role for the foreseeable future. As G8 members, we will work to reinforce efforts to enhance the rule of law and human rights, with particular regard to judicial and police capacity and public administration, especially at provincial level.
In the spirit of the Bonn Process, we look forward to working with the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations in renewing the partnership between Afghanistan and the international community for the period after the parliamentary elections. This process should define our mutual commitments and provide a framework and means to measure their implementation over the coming years.
We will continue our support to Afghanistan's development effort, to achieve pro-poor growth through rebuilding infrastructure, developing human and institutional capacity and community based development. We recognise the importance of expanding regional economic co-operation, which is crucial to Afghanistan's future prosperity and stability, and encourage all interested parties to come forward with proposals to achieve this goal. We welcome the proposed Conference on this subject, to be co-hosted by Afghanistan and the UK in Kabul later this year.
London, 23 June 2005
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