Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday stressed the unity of the international community in supporting Afghanistan for the long term, as he met with President Hamid Karzai in Bonn, Germany, ahead of the conference set to convene there on Monday.
During their meeting, Mr. Ban also expressed concern about the security situation in Afghanistan, according to information provided by his spokesperson.
The Secretary-General noted that the United Nations, through its mission in the country (UNAMA), will continue to work with the Afghan Government towards a sustainable peace.
He also insisted on Afghan ownership of the peace process, which should be inclusive, and called on the country to continue on the road to full inclusion of all, especially women, in all aspects of life. Respect for human rights must be a cornerstone of government policy, he added.
The conference, which will be chaired by Mr. Karzai, will focus on helping the country on the path towards greater democracy, stability, security and economic development.
Also in attendance will be Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of UNAMA, and Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Mr. Ban also met on Sunday with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, with whom he held wide-ranging discussions on the situation in Afghanistan, as well as the situation in Syria, Iran, the Middle East and North Africa.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Mr. Westerwelle, the Secretary-General emphasized that more needs to be done to promote the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, a point he also highlighted in his meeting with Afghan civil society leaders today.
In a separate press encounter with Afghan media, Mr. Ban was asked about the absence of Pakistan at the conference. “The Pakistani delegation has decided not to come but that doesn’t mean that Pakistan is not committed,” he said. “I believe that Pakistan is committed to work together with the Afghan people and also to promote peace and security in the region.”