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Uzbek president urges UN to establish permanent committee on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 23, 2020)

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan, on Wednesday called on the United Nations General Assembly to establish a permanent UN Committee on Afghanistan to coordinate peace efforts and to facilitate a lasting political settlement in the country.

Mirziyoyev outlined steps his country has taken to try to promote peace in Afghanistan, starting with a major international forum held in Tashkent in March 2018. 

Since then, Uzbekistan has invested heavily in rail and transport infrastructure in Afghanistan, as well as in the energy sector and in education.

In his address to the UN, Mirziyoyev said his government has held extensive talks with all political parties and movements within Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

Mirziyoyev said: “We consider Afghanistan as unalienable part of Central Asia. The high-level Tashkent conference on Afghanistan in March 2018 became a new stage to consolidate international efforts to solve the Afghan problem.

“We fully support the intra-Afghan peace talks which started this September in Doha. We hope these negotiations will help in establishing peace and stability in the much suffering land of Afghanistan.

“In order to facilitate the involvement of Afghanistan in regional economic integration we have started the implementation of large infrastructure projects such as building the ‘Surkhan-Puli-Khumri’ power transmission line, and the railway network from Mazar-e-Sharif to the ports of the Indian Ocean.

“We believe that ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan will always remain at the center of the UN’s attention.

“The hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people can only be realized if we work together and in close cooperation. We need to work based on the principle, from instability and destruction to peace and creation,” he said.

“Therefore, we need to establish at the UN a Permanent Committee that will listen to the hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people. The main aim of the committee should be to assist in the economic and social development of Afghanistan.”

He noted that there is still no clear international strategy for dealing with the aftermath of four decades of strife within the country and that he was proposing a “new format” through which a consensus in support of the peace process could be achieved.

He said diplomats in the region fear that once NATO troops leave, international interest in Afghanistan will fade. “An authoritative international structure is needed to ensure Afghanistan is not now overlooked.”

 

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Abdullah meets Rouhani to discuss Afghan Peace Process

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(Last Updated On: October 20, 2020)

Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah on Monday met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in his ongoing efforts to garner support from regional countries for the Afghan peace process. 

After his meeting with Rouhani, Abdullah said: “We exchanged views on  Afghan Peace Process, talks in Doha and bilateral relations.

“I thanked His Excellency and Islamic Republic of Iran for their principled and continued support to Afghanistan and the peace process.”

He also said Iran, as a neighbor, can play an important role to help advance the peace process in Afghanistan.

Speaking to Iran’s IRNA news, Abdullah said the people of Afghanistan want a lasting and acceptable peace for all Afghans, as well as the preservation of the achievements made over the past 19 years.

He also said cooperation between regional states can help advance the peace process and negotiations and achieve a successful outcome.

“The voice of the neighboring country is very important to us in consultation at the regional and international level,” he said.

 

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Global coronavirus caseload crosses the 40 million mark

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2020)

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passed the 40 million mark on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. 

Reuters reported that this comes as the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere appears to have fuelled a resurgence in the spread of the disease. 

Experts however believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.

The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to increase as it took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the 44 days between 10 and 20 million, and the three months it took to reach 10 million cases from when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in early January.

Reuters also reported that record one-day increases in new infections were seen at the end of last week, with global coronavirus cases rising above 400,000 for the first time.

The United States, India, and Brazil remain the worst affected countries in the world. 

 

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UN secretary general condemns Ghor attack 

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(Last Updated On: October 19, 2020)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday strongly condemned the attack in Ghor province on Sunday that killed and wounded dozens of civilians. 

In a statement issued by the organization, Guterres said he “strongly condemns the indiscriminate attack today on a provincial police headquarters in Afghanistan’s province of Ghor, in an area where many civilians are present.”  

The UN stated that according to preliminary reports, the car bomb claimed the lives of at least 13 people and injured dozens of civilians, including women and children. 

“Those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable,” the statement read. 

“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” Guterres said.

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