Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 21st, 2017

‘National Dialogue’ Soon to Address Ethnic Concerns: Ghani

‘National Dialogue’ Soon to Address Ethnic Concerns: Ghani

KABUL - Informing the nation of launching in near future ‘a national dialogue’ to hear demands raised by different groups, President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday stressed reforms in government’s system and promised timely elections to the lower house and district councils.
Ghani also emphasized on the importance of peace and stability in the country and promised the Wolesi Jirga or lower house elections would be held next year and the presidential poll at its due time in 2019.
Cabinet members, ambassadors of aid-giving countries and representatives from some international partners of Afghanistan attended the day-long meeting organized by the Ministry of Finance.
The purpose of the gathering was to assess progress with regard to pledges the Afghan government had made at 2016 Brussels meeting and to discuss reforms so far implemented in civil services, judiciary, public sectors, jobs creation and infrastructure development.
The international community agreed upon a 24-point agenda for Afghanistan for 2017-18, with the Afghan government making 15 pledges.
National Dialogue
President Ghani said ‘a national dialogue’ would be launched in the coming days in Kabul, in which demands and concerns of different groups and communities would be heard and efforts would be made to address them.
He said: “There is the need to talk to every segment of the society including ulema, women and the youth. Some people tried to harm national interests, which would never be allowed.”
The president said the indigenous national discourse would be open where every citizen could convey his/her message.
Elections
The president said the national unity government was committed to holding the elections to the Wolesi Jirga and district councils in 2018.
He urged international community’s support for holding the elections and said the presidential election would be conducted by next year.
He said the Afghan government would prepare a plan for the elections and share it with the people and the international community.
Peace and security
The president said the people of Afghanistan wanted durable peace and asked the international community to help Afghanistan achieve the goal because the people of Afghanistan had lost patience with violence.
Referring to the May 31 truck bombing in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave, the president said Kabul was recovering from the tragedy and called the attack against globally-recognized treaties of diplomacy and inter-state relations.
He said the Afghan government after one week of the deadliest bombing successfully organized the Kabul Process Conference and demonstrated its commitment to peace and stability.
The month of Ramadan saw some 1,000 people dying and sustaining injuries in violent attacks in Kabul and provinces, said the president, who praised the Afghan security forces for their bravery. The president said the Afghan forces still needed more equipment.
Ghani said the Afghan people’s main demands were nationwide peace, justice, good governance and quality service, thus bringing reforms in all areas was a serious need, not an option.
However, he said reforms in all organs, particularly in security and defense organs, were not an easy job, but needed more time.
The Afghan security and defense forces would get more professional and equipped and their procurement mattes would be separated and turn into a civil service following the four-year plan, Ghani said.
The president thanked the international community’s commitment towards implementation of the plan and said professionalizing and equipping of Afghan security and defense forces was one of the Afghan people’s fundamental demands.
The reform process has already started in the two important sectors, said the president, who said the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) was responsible for bringing reforms in civil offices, a process that had already begun and was based on open competition.
All posts of deputy administrative and finance directors of the government and senior posts in the presidential palace, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court and Attorney General Office would also follow a transparent process, he said.
Ghani said his government had also the plan for mines’ extraction, attracting investments and controlling the country’s water resources that would play a vital role in Afghanistan’s self-sufficiency.
Without providing details, the president said the government had a program to prevent Afghanistan’s waters from going waste, produce energy and improve agriculture in the country.
His statement on water comes as Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recently criticized construction of several dams in Afghanistan and said Iran could not remain indifferent to building of dams such as Kajaki, Kamal Khan, Salma and other dams in Afghanistan.
However, Rouhani remarks drew angry reactions from Afghans.
President Ghani told today’s meeting that Afghanistan had huge potential in the infrastructure section. He asked the new mines and petroleum minister to prevent illegal extraction of natural resources and make a comprehensive program for legal extraction of the riches.
Pointing to major economic projects such as CASA-1000 and TAPI, Ghani said Afghanistan would get huge advantage from implementation of the two trans-regional projects.
He said the country’s revenue had increased and this process was going on. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted Afghanistan’s economic growth at three percent this year, he said. Afghanistan’s economic growth was two percent last year. (Pajhwok)