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Monday, 21 January, 2002, 12:47 GMT
Karzai's plea for aid
Interim Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai has called for funds to rebuild his country at the start of an international aid conference in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
The following are excerpts from his speech, which he delivered in English, as carried by the Japanese news agency Kyodo:
...No leader of a country, even an interim representative, would ever want to be in the position of asking for financial assistance from the international community.
Although the interim administration has been in place for only one month, we have already agreed on a vision for the road ahead. Our vision is of a prosperous, secure Afghanistan. We are marching ahead with the objective of building a credible state with an efficient and transparent government.
Our government shall be accountable to its citizens as well as to the international community. We will build an effective and competitive private sector, a well-developed civil society with democratic institutions...
The peaceful transfer of power is to become the norm rather than the exception...
While our destination is Afghan self-sufficiency, we must start with international financial assistance.
For the past 23 years, we have suffered the misery of war, repression and gross abuses of human rights and an interpretation of Islam that deviates from its true meaning of tolerance and justice.
On the other hand, the Afghan nation valiantly resisted imposed solutions from the outside.
Due to many years of war and foreign interferences, Afghanistan was turned into a launching pad for terrorism against the Afghan people and the international community.
Our freedom today is as a result of our struggle and the collaboration of our partners in the coalition to remove the presence of the al-Qaeda terror organisation and to bring to an end the rule of the Taleban regime and foreign interference.
This task would not have been achieved without that partnership...
In an environment of inadequate security, fragmented governance, the non-integration of Afghan returnees, Afghanistan could remain a source of instability to the world and the region...
We need the international community to support our efforts for reconstruction and development. On our part, we are fully committed to accountability, transparency and efficiency in the use of international aid...
We need an effective central government that re-establishes the national unity of the country on the basis of strong institutions and the rule of law...
Education for both sexes
Our people are eager to embrace a modern educational system that will provide them with skills and opportunities to rebuild our country and to participate in an increasingly global world economy.
We are fully committed to the education of our girls, as all the international experience has demonstrated the return of investing in girls' education.
We will ensure active participation of Afghan women in all spheres of reconstruction...
An immense challenge is the rebuilding of the infrastructure of our country. Our country today is compared to a wasteland.
The establishment and rebuilding of the energy sector, transportation, communications and irrigation systems will be a huge task.
We need immediate investment in these sectors to jump-start the economy, restore basic services in partnership with the international private sectors to restart our small and medium industries...
Security for all
The challenges of bringing security to all Afghans for the purpose of establishing peace and eradicating the threat of global terrorism and narcotics, is still ahead of us.
Similarly, security and development are two sides of the same coin because over a million Afghan combatants cannot be absorbed into the mainstream of society and economy without imaginative developmental efforts.
We are engaged in laying the foundation for a national army, a national police force and a national security bureau...
The interim administration recently declared poppy cultivation and drug trafficking in Afghanistan as illegal. This will generate adverse economic consequences for indebted farmers.
The early launch of rehabilitation programs in poppy-growing provinces, and support of the national security forces will help fight the illicit drug trade...
The central instrument from our side must be the budget. International experience is clear that the budget has to be the key instrument of policy-making, programming and accountability.
We want to avoid projects undertaken by well-meaning sponsors that are not part of a clear programme and institution building strategy.
Only this can restore the credibility of the government, establish its hold over the entire country and bring coherence to all programmes.
We are committed to producing a budget from March 2002 to March 2003, and need urgent technical assistance to create the procedures and systems to allow for full transparency, accountability and predictability between central government and each of the recipients.
We estimate our expenses to be between $1.8 and $2bn for our next fiscal year, and ask for a fund to provide resources directly to our budget process.
We hope to establish with you a mechanism over the next few weeks to provide real commitment of money rather than pledges...
We seek the commitment of our friends within the international community for rapid mobilisation and to stay the course with us...
BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
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