EU Urges Afghan Government To Hold Credible Elections, Guarantee Human Rights

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council has called on the Afghan authorities to reassure the international community regarding implementation of their commitments to improve political and economic governance in the country.

In a statement issued after the Council meeting in Brussels on Monday, the foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc called on the Afghan Government to ensure the holding of "inclusive and credible" presidential and parliamentary elections.

They pledged EU's continued support in Afghan efforts to reform the electoral system and to strengthen the independent electoral institutions.

The EU underlined the importance of an Afghan-led, inclusive peace process and an outcome that respects the principles set out in the Bonn Conference Conclusions of December 2011.

The Council recommended that Kabul build on the dialogue process initiated at the Bonn conference, and regularly evaluate and review progress on these matters.

The Council called on the Afghan Government to guarantee respect for human rights, in particular those of women and children, and to increase the opportunities for women to participate fully in the labor force.

The Council also urged the Afghan Government to act on the IMF's recommendations
following the collapse of the Kabul Bank. Kabul has been urged to take steps to improve its public financial management, including establishing a transparent system of flows of public finances from donors to central government and from central government to provinces, and advancing public administration reform.

In this context, it is essential that Afghanistan uses international support effectively to achieve fiscal sustainability. Undertaking the necessary steps to facilitate adequate private sector development to sustain the economic income of Afghanistan is an important prerequisite for long term engagement of the international donor community. The European community cautioned that without adequate economic development shared by the population, all other progress in the country may be hampered.

The Council reaffirmed the long-term commitment of the EU and its Member States to support Afghanistan during transition and the decade of transformation. This commitment requires a reciprocal and genuine effort by the Afghan authorities to meet the reform obligations agreed at the Kabul and Bonn Conferences.

The Council reiterated the EU's commitment to support Afghanistan's efforts in strengthening policing and the rule of law beyond 2014 and its intention to address this matter at an early date.

The EU will reallocate an increased share of its bilateral support for governance in Afghanistan for 2012-2013 for the Afghan National Police through the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA).

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