12 July 2004
Secretary-General Expresses Full Support for Afghanistan Election Dates, Underscores Need for Safe, Secure Environment for Electoral Process
NEW YORK, 9 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
NEW YORK, 9 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General has been informed of the decisions of the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) -- the independent authority mandated to conduct and supervise the electoral process -- concerning the holding of elections in Afghanistan. He fully supports the JEMBs decision to convene the presidential election on 9 October. It is in line with the timetable adopted in the Bonn agreement. It also responds to the very strong wish of Afghans to participate in the electoral process, as demonstrated by the 6 million voters who have already registered.
The Secretary-General also welcomes the decision of the JEMB to hold parliamentary elections in April 2005. This additional time will enable voters and candidates to participate more meaningfully in the election of their representatives in the National Assembly and in local councils. It is also a very valuable opportunity to create better conditions for the holding of a free and fair parliamentary election, which the Government and the international community should not miss.
Indeed, the Secretary-General believes that, ahead of the presidential election and, with even more emphasis, the parliamentary elections, the process of disarmament must gain further momentum and reach the targets agreed at the Berlin Conference. This has been and will continue, in the eyes of the Afghans, to be one of the most important benchmarks for the holding of a genuine, democratic election. The Secretary-General underscores the necessity of creating a safe and secure environment for all electoral staff and the elections process as a whole, and takes this opportunity to once again condemn in the strongest terms any and all acts of violence against the process.
The Secretary-General is convinced that the ongoing electoral process, supported as it is by the keen aspiration of Afghans to political participation, can be brought to a successful conclusion and make an essential contribution to the restoration of a lasting peace and the building of a legitimate democratic state in Afghanistan.
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