Afghanistan and Turkmenistan signed the Contract on Sales and Purchase of gas

WazirJuly 13, 2013 KABUL ­– the Contract on Sales and Purchase of gas was signed between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan on July 9 in Ashgabat. This contract was signed on the sidelines of the “The 17th Steering Committee Meeting on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India TAPI Project”, which was held on 9 of July in Ashgabat. This meeting was hosted and chaired by Khojamukhamedov the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan, in which the ministers of petroleum and mines, ambassadors, officials of the ministries of foreign affairs and technical agencies of the member countries participated. This contract was signed between Afghan Gas and Turkmen Gas companies and the Ministries of Mines and Petroleum of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The signing of this contract is considered as a fundamental and practical step towards implementing the TAPI Project through which Afghanistan will address its gas needs for the next 30 years. Based on this contract, following the completion of this project, Afghanistan will purchase 500 million cubic meters of gas in the first ten years, and 1bilion and 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually in the second and third ten years respectively. The gas imported from Turkmenistan will be used for industries and generation of power for homes and factories. At this meeting, the four countries in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank, agreed to establish a joint consortium entitled TAPI Ltd by the end of 2013 which will comprise of the gas companies of the member countries. TAPI Project is one of Afghanistan’s major regional projects. The length of this project is 1800 km and passing through the borders of Turkmenistan and India, it will traverse several provinces. In addition to buying gas, Afghanistan will also play an important role as a transit country for implementation of this project. As a result of the transit of this pipeline, Afghanistan will also earn about $ 500 million annually.

Co-Chair’s Statement Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) Senior Officials Meeting Kabul, Afghanistan, 3 July 2013

Co-Chair’s Statement Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) Senior Officials Meeting Kabul, Afghanistan, 3 July 2013 1. The Senior Officials Meeting (hereinafter called "the Meeting") was held on 3 July 2013 at Kabul, Afghanistan, a year after the Tokyo Conference of July 8, 2012 where the International Community and the Afghan Government met to reaffirm and further consolidate their partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade. Today’s meeting serves as a follow-up mechanism for the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), the main outcome of the Tokyo Conference (July 2012). The TMAF establishes an approach based on mutual commitments of the Afghan Government and the International Community to help Afghanistan achieve its development and governance goals. The purpose of the Meeting was to review progress, key policy issues, and the way forward under TMAF. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan thanked the International Community for their generous support and emphasized the significance of a peaceful political transition through free, fair and transparent elections. The Meeting was co-chaired by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Finance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to Afghanistan. Delegations from 40 countries and 8 international agencies in addition to Ministers and senior officials of the Afghan Government and representatives of Afghan civil society and private sector attended the Meeting. 2. Substantive policy discussions took place in two plenary sessions on elections and aid effectiveness and three working group sessions on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights (with a particular focus on the rights of women and girls); Integrity of Public Finance and Commercial Banking; Government Revenues, Budget Execution and Sub-National Governance; and Inclusive and Sustained Growth and Development. 3. Representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan emphasized their continued resolve to fulfill commitments made by the Government under TMAF. The international community also reiterated its pledge to continue to support Afghanistan through transition and the transformation decade and reaffirmed its Tokyo commitment of providing US$16 billion US dollars through 2015, and sustaining support, through 2017, at or near levels of the past decade. The participants stressed that sustained international support in the years ahead requires resolute action by both the International Community and the Afghan Government, particularly in the coming months, to address areas of TMAF where further progress is required. 4. Afghanistan has made progress in a number of areas under the TMAF. A comprehensive timeline and a detailed operational plan for the Presidential elections have been prepared as well as arrangements for top up voter registration. Participants agreed, however, that it is important for the two elections laws to take effect as soon as it is passed by the parliament and signed by the President before the summer recess, in order to provide the basis for the appointment of Commissioners of the Independent Elections and Complaint Commissions. This will help ensure that the Presidential, Provincial Council and Parliamentary elections are seen by the Afghan people to be properly based in sound legislation. The Afghan Government and the International Community agree that credible and inclusive elections are profoundly important for a successful and peaceful political transition and for sustaining international support. 5. Discussions on progress in relation to human rights, including women’s rights, noted the vital need for a continued commitment of the Afghan Government to safeguard these rights. Participants agreed that while much has been achieved in the last decade, these gains should not be rolled back and more remains to be achieved. Maintaining this momentum includes implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law and monitoring of its progress. Participants noted the initial concern of the UN High Commisioner with respect to the new appointments to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The Afghan Government reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining the standards of the Human Rights Commissioners in acccordance with Article 11 of the AIHRC law and the Paris Principles to retaining its "A" accreditation. 6. Participants agreed that continued efforts were needed to hold complicit parties accountable for their actions and to secure appropriate criminal convictions in relation to the Kabul Bank fraud, which would enable measures to recover stolen assets, particularly those held abroad. 7. The overall revenue growth over the last decade was welcomed as a significant achievement. At the same time, the Afghan Government agreed that continued efforts were needed to ensure that revenue targets, as agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were needed to help remove outstanding obstacles to the continuation of the IMF-supported program. 8. Participants acknowledged that progress has been made on the declaration and publication of assets of senior members of the Executive and Judiciary, while agreeing that declared assets will continue to be verified based on Afghan law. 9. The International Community congratulated the Afghan Government on its impressive performance on budget transparency, resulting in Afghanistan moving from a score of 21% in 2010 on the Open Budget Index to 59% in 2012, exceeding the TMAF target. Participants anticipate further progress in budget management when the new Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment is completed. 10. Participants agreed that progress had been made in drafting new policies to enable the Provincial and District levels of government to play a more effective role in responding to development needs at those levels and increasing the ability of citizens to hold government to account. Participants also agreed that it was now important to finalize, consult, and start applying a Provincial budgeting policy. 11. Participants also noted that great strides have been made by Afghanistan to make progress toward its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Of note, there has been considerable progress in enabling boys and girls to enroll in school and in enabling women and men access to basic health services. It was agreed that quality improvements across basic service delivery will require attention and adequate national budget allocations. 12. Participants looked forward to the passage of the Minerals Law, which was approved by Cabinet and is now before the Parliament. Participants commended the progress made towards Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative compliance, while noting that some issues remained to be addressed. The Afghan government reaffirms its commitment to the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive and effective development framework for the Extractive Industries, including measures incorporating international best practice on social, environmental, as well as on community engagement. 13. Participants acknowledged that the International Community had made progress in delivering its commitments under TMAF. Participants expressed the need for the international community and the Afghan Government to make greater efforts to progress against aid effectiveness commitments, and the 50 percent on budget and 80 percent alignment targets as per TMAF. 14. Participants welcomed the contribution of the civil society and their active engagment in the TMAF process, and took note of their statement. The Participants further recalled and reaffirmed the role of the Afghan civil society, particularly women‘s organizations in advocating for and supporting human rights, good governance and sustainable social, economic and democratic development of Afghanistan through a sustained dialogue. 15. Participants recognized the need to continue to review and encourage rapid progress against the TMAF within a realistic but accelerated timeframe as a roadmap for Afghanistan to achieve economic self-reliance. Government and donors will continue to meet in Kabul on a monthly basis, both at the Ministerial and Ambassadorial levels, or equivalent, with their designates pursuing progress at the working level. Existing Ambassador and Heads of Agency fora will serve as a continued platform for engaging with the wider international community. 16. Participants looked forward to the Ministerial meeting to be co-chaired by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom in 2014, after the Presidential election in Afghanistan. The meeting will be held 3 to 6 months after the formation of the next Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As agreed at Tokyo, the Ministerial meeting will review progress, update indicators, assess resource requirements and renew Afghan Government and international commitments. 17. Participants encouraged the Afghan Government and the International Community to continue efforts to meet commitments under TMAF to help improve the lives of the Afghan people and advance good governance, economic growth, peace and stability in Afghanistan. 18. The Co-Chairs thanked the participants for their continuing support to Afghanistan at a time of fiscal hardships in donor countries and looked forward to another productive dialogue to review TMAF at the Ministerial level in 2014.

Press Release- 19/06/2013

His Excellency Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal Minister of Finance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is visiting Australia as a Guest of the Australian Government from 19 to 22 June 2013. During his visit, Dr. Zakhilwal is meeting the Honourable Wayne Swan MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, the Honorable Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Julie Bishop MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and other high level official of the Australian Government. Dr. Zakhilwal will also interact with the members of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade. The committee has recently reviewed Australia’s overseas development program in Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Australia signed a Comprehensive Long-Term Partnership in May 2012. The two countries also singed a separate Memorandum of Understanding on Development Cooperation for Afghanistan in July 2012. Dr. Zakhilwal is a senior ranking member of the Afghan cabinet. He has been the Minister of Finance since March 2009 and Chief Economic Advisor to the President since July 2008. He holds a PhD in Economics from Carleton University in Ottawa Canada.

H.E President Hamid Karzai congratulated the Hon. Kevin Rudd on his election as the leader of the ALP and Prime Minister of Australia

H.E President Hamid Karzai congratulated the Hon. Kevin Rudd on his election as the leader of the ALP and Prime Minister of Australia. In his message, President Karzai emphasized that " the signing of the Enduring and Comprehensive Partnership between Afghanistan and Australia in May 2012 laid the foundation for a deeper and expanded bilateral cooperation between our countries."

Transcript of Remarks Delivered by President Karzai at the 10TH US-Islamic World Forum

June 9, 2013 Doha, Qatar Introduction: Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen! President Karzai is someone who needs no introduction especially to this audience, but he has earned one. He is of course the 12th President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He was first elected as chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan after the ousting of the Taliban on December fifth, 2001 and subsequently confirmed by a Loya Jirga. In 2004, he was elected President and in 2009 he was re-elected President of Afghanistan. His friend, United States ambassador there, Ryan Crocker, once said that President Karzai has the hardest job in the world. I could add that it is probably the most [inaudible] job in the world and he has done it for eleven years and now he is preparing the ground for what in politics could be an even harder job ensuring the peaceful transition of power in a young but vibrant democracy. Despite all the difficulties, President Karzai has presided over the building and training of an afghan security force which is now leading the fight against the Taliban throughout the country. Under President Karzai’s leadership, the Afghan economy has been growing at some 8 percent a year, something that we in the United States are jealous about. He has created circumstances in which the next generation of Afghans are showing remarkable talent and promise as they raised positions of government and private sector. He has presided over an multi-ethnic cabinet and through his leadership, Afghanistan has avoided the kinds of sectarian tensions vividly noticeable in other parts of the greater Middle East, so today, thanks to his leadership, nine million afghan children are in school, compared to less than half a million when he took power in 2001 and 40 percent of them are girls, President Karzai! I want to give you a personal anecdote about some of those girls that you made it possible for them to get an education. Under one of those State Department programs that Secretary Sonenshine was just referring to just now, my fiancé and I have been hosting two afghan girls as they complete their secondary education and for two years we have had the pleasure of learning about them and their lives in Afghanistan, Masheed and Azada. I just attended Masheed’s graduation from high school and she is on her way back to Afghanistan and she has an internship there and she has put together a library of five thousand books which we are helping her transport to Kabul where she and her brother are going to open the first English language public lending library in Afghanistan. This is just one example of a credible female talent that you have helped sponsor in your own country. When I told Masheed and Azada that I would have the pleasure of introducing you tonight, they said please thank the President on our behalf and said please ask him to promise that the opportunity for education for girls like us will never be taken away from the girls of Afghanistan again. I told them that I am quite sure you would make that commitment on the basis of the leadership that you have already shown. President Karzai! Thank you for honoring us with your presence here for the second time of the US-Islamic world forum. Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan President Karzai: بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم Your Excellency deputy Prime Minister of Qatar, Excellency secretary General of OIC, excellencies, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen! Asalam u Alaikum Thank you very much ambassador Indyk for your introduction to this meeting and for your introduction of Afghanistan and for sharing with us your excellent, excellent story of looking after two young Afghan girls, educating themselves in the United States and for the further good news that one of them will be returning to Afghanistan with bringing herself and her books to the country. Thank you very much This is the 10 forum of the US and the Islamic World. I was previously here some years ago, three, four years ago, it is very important for us to recognize His Highness the Emir of Qatar for his contribution and for hosting us all here and for making such events possible in Qatar. It is becoming a place for international get-togethers, good for Qatar and its people and good also for the Muslim world. Well, ladies and gentlemen! The US and the Islamic World is a very vast subject, from the Muslim feelings on the issue of Palestine and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood, to the current problems of the Muslim world, and to the fog blurring quite often the view of the West of the Muslim world in the name of radicalism among Muslims. We are talking of a very vast indeed sensitive subject. My job today is to speak more about Afghanistan, but the importance of the subject will also bring me to other issues between the Muslim world and the United States or in other words the West. A Colonial rule of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries continuing into the twentieth century, the legacy that it left behind and the mantle taken over from Great Britain by the United States after the Second World War, brought the United States in close contact with the Muslim World and this close contact has been affected by Palestine in the first place and the aspirations of the Palestinian people in the first place and as the Muslims continued to struggle for that state in Palestine with many events across the World in between, the Muslim World and the United States and the West came across suddenly with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States and the West helped the Afghan resistance. The Afghan resistance was indeed the resistance of the Afghan people against an invading power to protect our values, to protect our independence and to protect our religion. In this struggle between us the afghan people and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, both sides, the Soviet Union and the West, countries in our neighborhood and some of the Muslim countries tried to help their allies by super imposing on them the values that they thought were important for them. The Soviet Union tried to impose communism on a deeply believing Muslim people, on a deeply religious people, profoundly religious people, strong believers, the United States, the rest of the Western world and our neighbors tried to impose on our resistance against the Soviet Union, radicalism, the more radical we looked and talked, the more Mujahid we were called, the consequence of that was a massive effort towards uprooting Afghan traditional values and culture and tolerance. When the Mujahidin succeeded, the next day as we arrived in Kabul in the form of the mujahidin government, the United States and Europe closed their embassies and left and we were left to the wishes of our neighbors and those around. That brought us to the tragedy of September 11, and the destruction of twin towers and the attack on America and thus the return of the United States and NATO to Afghanistan. As ambassador Indyk indicated, indeed with the arrival of the United States and the West, the Afghan people felt liberated and gave a strong helping hand to this new arrival in Afghanistan. The consequence of that working together was the liberation of Afghanistan in less than a month and half and subsequent to that Afghanistan leaped forward in brining democracy, a massive free media, a flourishing of education as ambassador correctly indicated, 9 million children 40 percent of it women, 150 thousand students in our universities, more than 10 thousand studying abroad. In 2001, 2002 when we created our new government, Afghanistan had in name about one, two to three universities. Today Afghanistan has more than twenty public universities, and more than 30 private universities and institutions of learning, you know the story of the media, you know the story of the economy and you know all that, for which the Afghan people are indeed grateful to the US, to our western allies, to our brothers and sisters in the Muslim World as well. This is one side of the story, the other side of the story, the war on terror as it began in 2001 and as it moved forward till today has not been a happy one, has not been a happy story for us in Afghanistan or the region or indeed in the consequences of it beyond Afghanistan into Africa and elsewhere and the subject on which I have engaged President Obama and the Western leaders very often and the subject is, have we succeeded in the war on terror, have we found a definition for terrorism? Who is terrorist? Was terrorism to be found in afghan villages and homes? Did we address the sanctuaries of terrorism? and by waging this war on terrorism, have we brought less radicalism in the Muslim World or have we caused more radicalism in the Muslim World? The argument is definitely that the Muslim world has seen more radicalism, from Pakistan and Afghanistan, all the way today to Mali and Nigeria, is this unintended consequence of the war on terror as some would argue, or was this intended by the United States and the West as some others would argue? Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, the subject of the Islamic World and US is one of immense importance to the relationship, not only of the United States and the Muslim world but to the whole world. In my view, the West as led by the United States needs to explain itself to the Muslim world. Has the United States given an impression to the Muslims of impartiality in the issue of Israel and Palestine? No! Do the Muslims want Israel to go away? No! I, as a Muslim, would not want that. I want Israel and its people to live as much as a state and as a people as everybody else but I also want the same right for the Palestinian people, that the Palestinian people should live like the Israel people in peace and prosperity and have a state of their own. Has the United States and its Western allies clearly, in a manner of a clear vision, explained this to the Arab world and beyond that to the Muslim world? Is this the desire in the West to achieve? If it is, then the explanation has not been right! Is the war on terror really against terrorism? If it is, and if it has caused more radicalism among the Muslims, especially among the youth, then something has gone wrong. Have we implemented it correctly? These questions must be answered, and if there is an increasing view among the youth in the Muslim world that radicalism is actively promoted by the West, the question is why and for what purpose? If this is not the intention of the West, then the West has to explain to the Muslim world if things have gone wrong, then the corrective course for actions must be taken. If we in the Muslim world are wrong about our perception of what the Western intention is in the Muslim world, then it is for the Western world to explain to us their intentions and objectives. Today as we speak, the Muslim world is in turmoil from Pakistan upto Nigeria. Is this all the fault of the Muslims, the radicalism that we have? is this because of the injustice, bad governance and all other factors, or do we have external elements playing in it? The Arab spring for example, well , we all were happy about this, just yesterday we had twenty eight Libyans killed, by those who brought about the Arab spring, Is this what we want, is this what the Arabs or the Libyans want? Is it not the repetition of the story in Afghanistan after we succeeded in defeating the Soviet Union but failed to create a government and stability? So, ladies and gentlemen, in my view and of the experience that I gained in the past eleven years, there is much that we the Muslims have to correct in our own societies and governments by educating ourselves better, by learning how to adopt to the changing environment, by showing more tolerance towards the rest of the world , to other religions but there is also a great deal of the explanation , especially of good intentions by our Western friends and by the United States that today they are not looking to the Muslim world from the perspective of the colonial era, and that they wish the Muslim world well, and that this changed relationship will be one in which mutual interests will be kept in mind that it is inevitable in today’s world, and that we seek to understand one another, that we all have the right to good life, that we share the world together, and that without that broad understanding on a proper sharing of resources and knowledge and prosperity that none of us will eventually do well, as we have to explain ourselves to the West in terms of our views and tolerance, I believe the United States and the Western world have plenty to do towards us because today they are a bigger power, they have more responsibilities and they have greater impact. So from Palestine and the aspiration of its people to the wellbeing of the Muslims around the world and to us working together, to removing the causes of radicalism in Muslim societies and to correcting Islamophobia in the West , there is plenty for us and to you around, I cannot speak for all, but as a single Muslim person, I assure the West that we recognize and respect their values and their immense scientific progress, their immense ability to do good things which they have done, Mother Teresa is an example of a Western person, of a Christian person who went to India and became a servant to the masses of India - Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist , everyone , that example could be given in different ways by the Western world to us and we must replicate it. Thank you very much!