Announcement

Afghanistan-UK Joint Commission statement

Joint statement following the first meeting of the Afghanistan-UK Joint Commission.

  1. The Governments of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Kingdom held the first meeting of the Afghanistan-UK Joint Commission on 16 October 2012. The meeting was chaired jointly by Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin and the Senior Minister of State at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

  2. The Joint Commission has been established to review implementation of the Enduring Strategic Partnership Document signed by President Karzai and Prime Minister Cameron on 28 January 2012, and will meet at least once a year.

  3. Both sides recalled the historic achievements of the Afghan people since 2001, including in the areas of education, health, infrastructure and economic development, which have been achieved with support from Afghanistan’s regional and international partners, including the UK.

  4. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of the Afghanistan-UK Partnership, and undertook to strengthen it in the years to come. They recalled that the Partnership is based on shared interests and objectives, as well as mutual respect between two sovereign states. They also emphasised that a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is in the interests of both countries and the region.

  5. Both sides recalled the long-term commitments made by the international community at the Chicago and Tokyo Summits, which will help safeguard Afghanistan’s future security and development. They also underlined the need to implement fully the Mutual Accountability Framework agreed in Tokyo. Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin described Presidential Decree 45 of July 2012 as an important step in this direction. Baroness Warsi reaffirmed the UK’s undertaking to contribute £70m a year towards the funding of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and to maintain its development funding at £178m a year until 2017.

  6. Both sides reviewed the contribution being made by UK forces in Afghanistan, including the UK’s investment in training and mentoring the ANSF, and the UK’s support for the Afghan police. They especially welcomed last week’s ground-breaking ceremony for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, which the UK is supporting. Baroness Warsi also reiterated the UK’s commitment to support Afghan efforts to further strengthen the rule of law, for example through the Criminal Justice Task Force, which has convicted over 2,500 drug traffickers in the last four years.

  7. Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin outlined the Afghan government’s efforts to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin welcomed the UK’s strong support for the Afghan peace and reconciliation efforts, including the trilateral discussion involving the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In this context, both sides also noted the meetings on 19 July in Kabul and 26 September in New York between President Karzai, Prime Minister Cameron, and respectively Prime Minister Ashraf and President Zardari of Pakistan. Baroness Warsi congratulated the High Peace Council and Joint Secretariat on the organisation of last month’s Peace & National Unity Week, and recalled that the UK has contributed over £10m to the Afghan Peace & Reconciliation Programme.

  8. Both sides noted the important role that regional co-operation must play in underpinning peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and stability in the region, and welcomed the valuable steps being taken as part of the Istanbul Process.

  9. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the development of strong, transparent and accountable political institutions and to the protection of human rights, especially the rights of women. Deputy Foreign Minister Ludin reiterated Afghanistan’s determination to ensure inclusive, open and transparent Presidential elections in 2014.

  10. Baroness Warsi announced that the UK had made contributions of £500,000 this year to both the Afghan Parliamentary Assistance Programme and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. She confirmed that the UK will contribute £12m for elections planning via the UN’s ELECT II programme. She also recalled that the UK has provided $2.3m in grants to 27 civil society bodies, 15 of them women’s organisations, in order to improve access to justice, and take forward peace building and conflict resolution activities across Afghanistan.

  11. Both sides agreed to work together to support Afghanistan’s economic development and progress towards fiscal self-reliance. They noted the importance of attracting foreign investment and developing a vibrant private sector especially in sectors such as mining. They also emphasised the important role of anti-corruption efforts.

  12. Both sides also reviewed the extensive co-operation between the UK and Afghanistan in the areas of culture, education, media and the arts.

  13. The next meeting of the Joint Commission will take place in London in 2013.

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