Source: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Report:
President Ashraf Ghani in an open discussion with the Kabul-based EU ambassadors talked over the government’s precautionary and preventive measures on fighting the spread of covid-19, the government newly-formed negotiating delegation and post-elections political developments, yesterday evening at the Presidential Palace.
The meeting was also attended by the First Lady, First Vice-president Amrullah Saleh, Second Vice-president Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, and Yosuf Ghazanfar, President’s Special Representative on Economic, Trade and Poverty Reduction Affairs.
Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation in Afghanistan praised the government’s measures to fight the covid-19 spread and stressed the EU support to the government of Afghanistan on fighting the contagion. He expressed concerns over multiple crises faced by the country including the increase in violence and the imminent threat of the coronavirus spread.
The EU ambassador believed the Afghanistan needs unity and consolidation more than ever at this critical moment, while welcoming the formation of the government’s peace negotiating delegation to represent the Afghan government in the peace talks with the Taliban to bring a lasting peace to the country.
President Ashraf Ghani said he has stressed on formation of an inclusive cabinet during my inauguration speech and in all other meetings after it, adding that survival of the Republic has been the central goal behind all these efforts.
President Ghani also talked over the government’s stern measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus and to be able to deal with the consequences and rising the price of essential items such as food.
The president also extended discussion on the type of decision-making of the government in the peace process specially in formation of the peace negotiating delegation and said the delegation has been formed in full consensus with different strata of people, influential figures and political parties.
President Ghani underlined that peace cannot be ensured by a certain layer of the society, but can be achieved through national consensus, adding that peace requires courage, compassion and plan.
State Minister for Peace Abdul Salam Rahimy and the Head of Peace Negotiating Delegation Masoum Stanikzai said they have reached out political parties, elders, civil society, youth and women to build consensus around the formation of an inclusive negotiating delegation to make sure every segment of the society is included.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh discussed the position of the government on peace and measures adopted to deal with possible risks in the process.
Second Vice-President Sarwar Danesh talked over the government’s measures to fight coronavirus and said, the emergency task force was established when the minister of Public Health announced the first positive cases of the virus.
He added the emergency committees were established in the capital and provinces to curb the spread of the pandemic, underlining that the president held videoconferences every other day with the officials of those provinces that were exposed to the threat of coronavirus spread.
The second vice-president outlined the government’s measures to contain the spread of the contagion including communication and awareness campaign, reduction of working hours, special support for healthcare staff, and imposing restrictions in Herat and Kabul provinces with the cities going into lockdown to ensure social distancing and prevent density of people.
Mohammad Yosuf Ghazanfar, the President’s Special Representative on Economic Development, Trade and Poverty briefed on his meetings with the private sector to bring the price of essential items under control.
He said the transportation sector of the country has pledged to carry and transfer food items to the rural areas and districts in time of emergency, adding that based on the President’s instruction, the customs of the country will be active 24 hours to ensure importing of materials carry on smoothly.
EU ambassadors emphasizing on a political consensus in the country termed formation of the peace negotiating delegation an effective step to achieve lasting peace in the country.
They expressed their countries’ support to contribute to improving the well-being of the people of Afghanistan including through development assistance and their role in the peace process.