Chairman’s Statement of the International Contact Group Meeting New York City, USA, 20 September 2013

1. Members of the International Contact Group (ICG) met on 20 September 2013 in New York City to discuss important political, security, governance, and economic issues in Afghanistan’s ongoing transition, as well as preparations for Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential and provincial council elections. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi opened the meeting, which was chaired by Ambassador Michael Koch, ICG Chairman and German Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The meeting was hosted by the United Nations. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, International Contact Group member states, and multilateral institutions, including NATO, EU, and OIC, attended.

2. Contact Group members warmly welcomed the progress made by the Afghan Government in establishing the legal framework for Afghan presidential and provincial council elections in April 2014 through the adoption of the Election Law and the Electoral Structure Law, as well as the nomination of IEC members. They reiterated their call for credible, transparent, and inclusive elections as a precondition for the peaceful development of Afghanistan. Members called on the Afghan government to address any remaining unresolved issues concerning the legal, technical, and political modalities of the election in advance of next year’s polls, including a fair representation of civil society in the Elections Complaints Commission. They reaffirmed their vigorous support to the preparation and conduction of the elections.

3. Contact Group members underlined the importance of enhanced regional cooperation for the benefit of Afghan refugees in Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries. Members noted the implementation of the “Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees” of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to support voluntary repatriation, investment in sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan and assistance to the host countries and welcomed a recently concluded agreement between UNHCR and the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan as a significant step to achieve that goal. Members thanked Iran and Pakistan for their willingness to welcome Afghan refugees.

4. Contact Group members acknowledged the essential role of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. They discussed the future scope of United Nations activities post-2014 to ensure that the common goals of the international community in laying the foundations for a sustainable peace and development and a constitutional democracy continue to be consistently advocated after the completion of the security transition. They welcomed the UN’s commitment to continue to support the government and people of Afghanistan aimed at strengthening Afghan leadership and ownership ahead of the transformation decade. Contact group members emphasised the importance of adequate resourcing for UNAMA to fulfill its mandate post 2014.

5. Contact Group members confirmed their commitments to sustained civilian assistance through and beyond the security transition in 2014. They took note of the results of the Senior Officials Meeting that took place in Kabul on July 3rd, 2013, to access progress in implementing the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework. Members underlined that while some progress was already achieved, too many requirements remain still to be fulfilled. They reiterated their call upon the Afghan Government to provide for good governance and rule of law as indispensable prerequisites for the formation of a prosperous and equitable Afghanistan.

6. Contact Group members took note of recent developments in the efforts aimed at initiating an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process among Afghans and reaffirmed the importance of a political process to seek solutions to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

7. The Contact Group thanked the United Nations for its hospitality in hosting this meeting. On behalf of the Government of Germany, the Chairman thanked ICG members for their continued dedication to international and regional efforts to support Afghanistan, noting especially the significant progress achieved by the Afghan Government since the last ICG meeting in preparation of the presidential and provincial elections and in implementing the obligations made under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.

8. The next meeting of the International Group will be hosted by the Republic of India in New Delhi on December 5th, 2013.

By Voice of After The War