Development News from Afghanistan

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EU calls for deal on UN envoy for Afghanistan

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by Bojan Kavcic
Fri Feb 22, 2:12 AM ET

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia (AFP) – The European Union called for the appointment of a special UN envoy that would coordinate operations in Afghanistan after Kabul rejected earlier this month the candidature of Paddy Ashdown.

It also said that an international conference on development aid for Afghanistan, announced last month by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, would be held in late June in Paris.

“We want to have a special envoy in order to coordinate the military and the civilian side and also the international community together with the government of Afghanistan,” European foreign affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner said here.

When asked about posible candidates for the post, Ferrero Waldner said “there are a few names, but I’m not going to speculate.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s vetoed earlier this month the candidature of Ashdown.

Ferrero Waldner arrived earlier Thursday in Slovenia, which currently holds the bloc’s six-month rotating presidency, to take part at a meeting of the EU Troika with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta.

Spanta said the appointment of a special UN envoy “is very important” for coordination between the international community and Afghanistan, and blamed media speculation about Ashdown’s role for the failure of his candidacy.

Meanwhile EU special representative Francesc Vendrell said France would host an international aid conference for Afghanistan in late June to review rebuilding efforts.

“The Paris conference, late in June, should provide an opportunity for us to reiterate our support and review the process that started in London,” Vendrell said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced last month the organization of the conference without giving a date.

The EU Troika and Spanta also reviewed the current situation in Afghanistan where the “security situation has deteriorated” over the last year, according to Ferrero Waldner.

“We have a mutual aim: that is to go forward and work for a common stabilization of Afghanistan,” Ferrero Waldner told journalists.

The EU has already invested 1.2 billion euros (1.68 billion dolars) in Afghanistan and plans to “be there for the long term,” Ferrero-Waldner said.

Spanta said his country had achieved a lot since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 but more challenges were ahead.

“The main challenges we have to address now is terrorism, drug production and drug trafficking, and weakness of state institutions,” Spanta said.

Vendrell said he expected the deployment of a 195-man EU-led police training mission by early April.

“If we perform well I think there will be willingness on the part of the EU, Canada and New Zealand to enlarge the numbers,” Vendrell said.

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Written by afghandevnews

February 27, 2008 at 5:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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