As Afghans usher in Interim Administration, Brahimi says stability must succeed

22 December 2001

As Afghanistan ushered in a new Interim Administration in Kabul today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, said this historic chance for stability in the war-shattered country must succeed.

"With the Interim Administration that is being established today, the people of Afghanistan have a unique opportunity to put behind them the divisions, hatred and bloodshed of the past two decades and rebuild a peaceful and stable nation," Mr. Brahimi told the hand-over ceremony, which saw the transfer of power from the outgoing President, Berhanuddin Rabbani, to Hamid Karzai, the Chairman of the Interim Administration. "Failure is not an option, because neither the people of Afghanistan nor the nations of the world will take kindly to any individual or group, wherever they may be located, and whatever their motives, that stand in the way of this singular opportunity."

"After years of bitter war and conflict, power is being transferred from one administration to another -- not under the fire of guns, but peacefully, and pursuant to a political agreement," he said, referring to arrangements worked out earlier this month during UN-sponsored talks among Afghan factions in Bonn. "This agreement, though far from perfect, has been warmly welcomed by the people of Afghanistan, and strongly supported by all the countries of the world."

The UN, for its part, "will do everything it can to assist in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and the success of the Interim Administration," he pledged.

Mr. Brahimi pointed out that the challenges ahead were momentous, but expressed confidence that the Chairman and members of the Interim Administration would exercise their authority "with wisdom, fairness and foresight."

“As Mr. Hamid Karzai has stated on more than one occasion, he and the members of the Interim Administration intend to reach out to the entire population and to act in a transparent and accountable manner,” said Mr. Brahimi. “They recall the bitter mistakes of the past and will not allow anyone to take the nation down the path it has travelled during the past decade, with the tragic consequences that the people of Afghanistan remember all too well.”

Mr. Brahimi noted that an entire Afghan generation had grown up knowing nothing but war. Women and girls were oppressed, while countless innocent civilians had fallen victim to warfare, hunger and disease. Some 5 million Afghans were living as refugees, mostly in Pakistan and Iran, "whose generous hospitality must be gratefully recognized on this day."

The envoy also drew attention to the international community's responsibility to help the Interim Administration during the rebuilding process. "We all share the same goals: to restore peace, promote reconciliation and national unity, ensure security and stability, guarantee justice and equality for all citizens and to work hand in hand to reconstruct Afghanistan." He called on both sides of the partnership to "deliver what is expected of them."

"Every one of us feels honoured and proud to be associated with today's ceremony and we all pray that this day will mark the end of a long, dark night of conflict and strife, and the dawn of peace, reconciliation and justice," Mr. Brahimi said.


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