Press conference with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

2 Nov 2009

Press conference with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

KABUL - The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, has held a press conference in Kabul.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen

I have come to Kabul to express my solidarity with the UN staff and Afghan people at this difficult time.

The advent of last week’s attack – I wanted to see the security situation at first hand, and I wanted to talk directly with my own dear colleagues with whom I had three meetings.

I had good meetings with, first, President Karzai and Dr Abdullah Abdullah this afternoon.

Afghanistan’s elections have been among the most difficult the United Nations has ever supported.

Voters have had to contend with insecurity, poor infrastructure, fraud, and weak or partial institutions. The process has also been a battle for the future of Afghanistan’s political system.

I was already on my way when I heard the news that Dr Abdullah Abdullah had opted to discontinue his participation in the second round. I’m sure that due process and observance of the law will prevail and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will apply constitutionally correct procedures.

Afghanistan is among the oldest members of the United Nations, with our various projects and missions for more than half a century we have been part of the community, and we are proud that some 80 per cent of our staff are Afghans and I express my deep admiration for all those national staff of Afghanistan.

I express my admiration for all the dedication of the women and men of the United Nations, voluntary humanitarian workers, NGOs and other members of the international community, including ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) for their dedication and commitment.

My main goal this time was to insist on the security of all staff, Afghan and internationals. We have suffered a grievous attack but our work continues.

Many Afghans are still worried about whether international support will hold firm, there has been media speculation that the United Nations is evacuating Afghanistan, or pulling out of Pakistan.

We will not be deterred, we cannot be deterred, and we must not be deterred and the work of the United Nations will continue.

I repeat again the United Nations will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan in their quest for stability and peace.

We will not allow our actions to be determined by anger or fear. We will uphold our principles and we will champion peace and in doing so, we will honour the memories of our staff who died last week.

In my meeting with President Karzai, I have asked him to provide all necessary support and assistance under his power to strengthen the security for United Nations staff in Afghanistan and he assured me again and again that he will do all to strengthen the security support for the UNAMA mission in Kabul.

Thank you very much.