UN Chief To Appeal For Afghan Unity At Major International Conference

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is headed to Kabul for a major international gathering on Tuesday at which he will call on Afghans to unite in the interest of peace and development in their country. The International Conference on Afghanistan, also known as the Kabul Conference, will be co-chaired by Mr. Ban and President Hamid Karzai. It is the first international conference on Afghanistan to be held in the country and organized by the Afghan Government. Mr. Ban “will appeal to the Afghan people to come together to achieve peace through reconciliation and build a future based on economic development and mutual cooperation, with full respect for their nation’s sovereignty,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, told reporters today. While in Kabul, the Secretary-General will also meet with Mr. Karzai and some of the senior officials from the over 70 countries expected to attend the conference, during which the Government will present an Afghan-led plan for improving development, governance and security, including priority programmes to enhance service delivery. Tomorrow’s meeting follows the London Conference held in January, during which the Government and its international partners jointly endorsed a strategy of transition to greater Afghan responsibility for the affairs of the country.