In a key step, Afghan factions at UN talks agree on interim authority
The United Nations-sponsored talks on Afghanistan in Bonn made a significant move forward today as delegates from four Afghan factions agreed to a final draft document early this morning, according to a UN spokesman.
The document outlines the functions and responsibilities of the Interim Authority, which would run the country for six months, as well as those of the Independent Commission to be established by the Interim Authority. The Commission would convene the Grand Council, Loya Jirga. The document also foresees the establishment of a legal and constitutional framework for Afghanistan in the coming stages.
The document was described as "a road map to a free and independent Afghanistan over a period of two and a half years" by Ahmad Fawzi, the spokesman for Lakhdar Brahimi, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Afghanistan. "If all goes well, we hope to have a signing ceremony tomorrow," Mr. Fawzi told reporters in Bonn today.
The focus of the UN-sponsored talks - which bring together the Rome group, the Peshwar group, the Cyprus group and the Northern Alliance - then moved to finalizing the list of members who will serve on the 29-member cabinet-style Interim Authority.
According to Mr. Fawzi, the UN team, in consultation with the Afghan parties, is distilling existing lists to create a short list that will then be submitted to the group as a whole.
In addition, the Afghan factions will have to decide when the Interim Authority will take effect. "We're going to find an appropriate date for all concerned, taking into consideration rapidly changing events in Kabul and in Afghanistan, taking into consideration the month of Ramadan, and taking into consideration the urgent need of the people for a transfer of power," Mr. Fawzi said.