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September 27, 2018
The Kabul Times
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JCMB reviews progress on reform, preparation for Geneva summit

KABUL: The 21st Joint Coordination Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting was held at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday and reviewed progress on reforms and preparation for the upcoming Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.
Attended by National Unity Government Leaders, cabinet ministers, foreign officials and advisors to President and Chief Executive, the meeting also discussed concrete work to be addressed in the run up to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, including holding inclusive and credible elections, moving forward on National Priority Programs, and implementing reforms. The meeting was co-chaired by Acting Minister of Finance and Senior Advisor to the President, Mohammad HumayonQayoumi, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto Opening the conference, Minister Qayoumi focused on the achievements on the reforms agenda that the National Unity Government committed to at the London (2014) and Brussels (2016) Conferences:
“There is a thread of connectivity throughout the reforms agenda, as articulated in the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework and National Priority Programs,” the minister said.
He said what was more important than sectoral achievements were the collective impact of progress made in the reforms agenda across government.
Meanwhile, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani delivered the key note address while Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah made closing remarks.
Addressing the meeting, President Ghani focused on the peace process and next steps for building on the national, regional and international consensus for peace.
He said the Afghans’ hope for peace underwent a change as compared to the past when the Afghans looked for others to bring them peace.’”But now we have our own plan and policy for peace.”
“We all felt the joy of peace during the ceasefire, we also saw the war price before and after the ceasefire, if there were no political or religious reasons against ceasefire, then why we should continue the bloodshed?” the president asked.
The President recognized the immense sacrifices of the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDFS) and Afghan people and thanked the international community and the United States in particular for their support in the journey for peace.
To achieve peace, the President said: “We are all united on a common vision, committed to a productive dialogue where direct discussion, clear analysis and agreement on action provides the basis on building mutual trust.”
He said the upcoming elections were a great opportunity for all Afghans including the Taliban to take part.President Ghani also reinforced the government’s commitment to holding the parliamentary elections on time and in a transparent manner.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and co-chair of the JCMB, spoke on behalf of the international community.
 ”As we gathered today for the JCMB, Afghanistan faces special security, political, economic and social circumstances, including new opportunities for peace; elections; economic growth; invigorated efforts to combat corruption; and yet, increased poverty and continued insecurity.”
He said the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on 28 November was taking place at a critical juncture as it comes five weeks after the scheduled parliamentary elections and five months before the expected presidential elections, providing them a unique opportunity to review and assess progress, accept challenges, and plan for the rest of the ‘Transformation Decade.’Meanwhile National Security Advisor (NSA) Hanif Atmar addressing the meeting, saying terrorists pose a serious threat to the entire world, not only to Afghans.
“We would work closely with our international partners, including Resolute Support (RS) mission while pursuing a peace strategy with Afghan networks,” he further said.
Addressing the closing remarks, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah reinforced the importance of national unity and timely elections, thanking the international community and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
Dr. Abdullah said specification of the date for the presidential election would not only clear doubts about the government’s will but would also bind the government to fulfill its responsibilities.
He stressed transparency in elections and added: “The importance of the electoral process is high when people’s right to vote is respected, so that we can go one step further.”
“There have been gaps and inconsistencies in our efforts, but it has not been a waste. Lives have been changed,” said Dr. Abdullah. “We see impacts in the areas of access to education, health and the democratic process.”
About anti-corruption efforts, Dr. Abdullah said fighting corruption, ensuring good governance, law enforcement, empowering women, improving the economy and stabilizing the finance system as well as promoting the private sector were the national unity government’s priorities.
Calling corruption, the main reason of ongoing insecurity and instability in the country, he said administrative corruption not only damaged the government’s credibility, but also limited the regime’s ability to reach self-sustainability and development.
Minister Qayoumi and SRSG Yamamoto ended the meeting by charting a path toward the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.
The JCMB focused on seven priority reform areas:  security sector reforms, aid effectiveness, macro-economic reforms, private sector development, regional partners’ engagement, anti-corruption and justice, and implementation of National Priority Programs.
Seven moderated panels featured government officials, international partners, and members of civil society and private sector and discussed progress and challenges in each sector in highly interactive manner.
The JCMB — a series of high-level annual meetings is a platform for the Afghan government and international partners to discuss issues of mutual importance.
The Kabul Times

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