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Hamid Karzai, Kofi Annan Hold Press Conference in Kabul

Aired January 25, 2002 - 05:34   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Now we wannt to break in for breaking news.

As we told you earlier, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is about to speak in Kabul. You see him standing beside Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan.

Kofi Annan is in -- he has a good sense of humor, doesn't he? He is there to provide support and to assess the situation. He'll also later visit a girls' school there, where girls are again getting an education. As you know, under Taliban rule, girls could not get an education.

This is the first time a top U.N. official has visited the country in 42 years, so as you might imagine, it's very exciting for the people of Afghanistan. Let's listen in now.


HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN INTERIM GOVT. CHAIRMAN: ... the distinguished man, human being. We respect him all, and we are glad and honored that he took the time to be here with us today, and to bless us with his visit here. We are glad for that.

We also have another remarkable visit, that of the deputy prime minister of Canada. We were informed in Japan of his excellency's visit. And we said, "Wow! What a good Afghanistan! Two very significant trips in one day to Afghanistan!" We have not seen that for years. We hope this trend will continue for the years to come. We hope Afghanistan will have such good days more and more, and we hope the world attention will be there for all of Afghanistan so that the country gets reconstructed, further stability.

So that Afghans begin to live a very normal life, so that our country can stand back in its own feet. And I am sure both of these distinguished gentlemen here will help us do that.

May I now give the floor to his excellency, Kofi Annan. Thank you very much.

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Thank you very much, Chairman Karzai. I am very happy to be here in Afghanistan on my first visit ever. And I think it is significant that I am able to come here today and not only to call on the chairman and the interim authority, but also to hear from my own people, to meet Mr. Brahimi, the outgoing Deputy Vendrell and the U.N. team here.

I have also had the opportunity of talking to civil society, visiting a girls' school and having serious discussions with the interim administration. I've been very encouraged by what I saw, particularly in the school, where the young girls, to see their enthusiasm, their happiness and their joy -- the sheer joy of being in school and learning and taking their work very seriously.

I would hope that following what happened in Tokyo, and the support the international community demonstrated, which I hope will be sustained over the long haul, that the Afghan people will support the interim administration to work with the international community in partnership to rebuild Afghanistan.

We have made a good start, but there's a lot to be done. And I can assure you that we, the U.N. and the team that is here, is determined to work hand-in-hand with you to try and implement the programs that we have elaborated together. And I think I should also want to say that, now that we are moving into the reconstruction stage, I have decided to appoint Nigel Fisher as a deputy to Mr. Brahimi on humanitarian and reconstruction affairs. Some of you may know Nigel, who has been the UNICEF regional director in the region, and he will be assuming his tasks very, very shortly.

And I think I will pause here, and we'll take your questions later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Please, um...

KARZAI: We are not taking questions. I am reading this, and then we'll take questions.


HNBL. JOHN MANLEY, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: That's what -- all that I will say, because there is an important announcement that is to be made is that Canada has been very closely associated with the campaign that has occurred that led to the change in regime. We have conceded to be very supportive of the interim administration. This afternoon, as I visited NGO projects, I was delighted to see projects that Canada has continued to fund over the last six or seven years, and which we will be in a position to enhance as we go forward, based on the additional commitments that were made by us, among others, in Tokyo.

So, Mr. Chairman, we have -- we offer you our continuing support for the enormous task that you have before you. You can count on Canada to be with you every step of the way, to provide the assistance that is within our means to do.

KARZAI: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, very briefly, I talked -- my first plan was to speak to the Afghan radio and television today or tomorrow in the morning to tell them what I have brought from my trip to Saudi Arabia and Tokyo and Beijing and Dushanbe. But you've, you know, captured us here, so let me say that the Afghan delegation came very happy from all these visits. We had help in all the countries that we visited.

From Tokyo, in particular, we came very happy. The meeting for the support of the Afghan reconstruction organized there by the United Nations, with the hospitality and the tremendous work done by the government of Japan was very, very nice for us. We came somehow with pledges that are -- with full hands of pledges from there. We hope those pledges will be made true very soon -- very, very soon, rather, so to begin our reconstruction.

On that, I will talk to you later again sometime, but right now, I have another matter that I'm reading to you, in which I have no control at all, so don't be misled. Just listen to me and don't think it's us making these decisions.

Just in accordance with the vote agreement, it was decided to have a commission for Loya Jirga, so that you would have at the completion of six months of the interim government, a Loya Jirga held in Afghanistan to determine the future for the reconstruction of Afghanistan to have a transitional government and a transitional head of state and all that. And it was decided that this commission will be closely linked to the United Nations and work there.

When we came to Kabul, we thought that that was the best way. In order to make sure that the commission is trusted by all and functions impartially without any influence, including the influence of the interim administration, whether it has any or not, but still, we must make sure that there is none of that at all, we decided that this commission, in accordance with the Bonn agreement, be determined and handled under the auspices of the secretary general's special representative's office for Afghanistan, and Mr. Brahimi's office. And we provided a list of people, and they were kind to present us with this list, which I am simply announcing, and let them take all the trouble for it.

I am pleased to announce members of the Special Independent Commission for the convening of the emergency Loya Jirga. The names are, ladies and gentlemen, in the following manner. The first name is that of the chairman of the commission, who is Mr. Ishmael Kosimyar (ph), a very known Afghan jurist, an expert in law, a man who knows Afghan constitution and all that very, very well. He is, I believe, in Kabul. I know this gentleman personally.

Then we have Mrs. Mahabubar Hukumul, who is the vice chair or the vice chairwoman, and then we have Alahad Jabdul Aziz (ph) as the other vice chair. We have Abdul Salam Brahimi. We have Amir Machmud Hesau (ph). We have Asadola Walwagi (ph). We have Inatulah Kamal (ph), Hadji Zarhilhan Jalbakel (ph), Humaron Yamate (ph), Machmud Farid Hamidy (ph), Machmud Karzim Ahand (ph), Machmud Mafooz Nedari (ph), Machmud Tarhed Wargi, (ph), Numachmud Tarkin (ph) -- I know this man too.


KARZAI: Rashid Sij Duclee (ph) -- I know him too. Saldet Mudabear (ph), Saed Amin Mujahed (ph), Saed Massood (ph), Saed Muzartawanon (ph) -- I know this man too -- Savatular Sanjar (ph), Sordaya Publica (ph). All others I don't know.

This shows that this is a really nice commission, a real important commission, and I hope that they, together with the United Nations, will be successful in their work and give Afghanistan a good representative, fair Loya Jirga. Thank you very much for your attention.

ANNAN: Can I say a word, please? Now, I just wanted to add that it wasn't easy to put that list together. Lakhdar Brahimi went through 300 names to select the 21. We set out to get a group that would be independent, a group of men and women that will have integrity, who are highly respected within the society, to be able -- and request them to help organize the Loya Jirga.

They are not going to run it. They are going to help organize it, and they need your help. You all have to work with them. Afghan men and women will have to work with these 21 men and women, who are going to organize the Loya Jirga.

We have asked them, as individuals and as a collective group, to work in the interest of Afghanistan and the people and not be pulled in any direction by one group or the other. And we expect them to operate that way. They need your help. They need your understanding. I know not everybody will be entirely happy with the list, but it is a good list, and let's support them and work with them. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, please raise your hands and after you are recognized, there is a microphone on the floor so we can -- yeah, okay, you have one. Go ahead (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

QUESTION: Just a very short question for the secretary general. The Afghan delegation came home with $4.9 billion (OFF-MIKE), which doesn't match with the rhetoric of the international community (OFF- MIKE). Don't you think this is going to put more burden on the (OFF- MIKE)?


QUESTION: How do you see the prospect of this commissions, since for the Afghani people, the Loya Jirga is but a romantic reminder of the past, and cannot be trusted with providing a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) future for Afghanistan? Thank you very much.

ANNAN: No, I think the international committee demonstrated in Tokyo that they do support the reconstruction here, and they all promised to remain engaged. What we need to do is to begin to the reconstruction projects and that the monies will be dispensed, and dispensed as quickly as possible.

I know there is concern that there will be fatigue (ph) once the comrades are gone. The donors will forget their commitments. I hope this will not happen. I will be reminding them. We will all be reminding them. And you, ladies and gentlemen, of the press, also have a role to play by putting the Afghan issue in front of your newspapers and reporting it on your television. But, what -- that is one of the reasons why I mentioned the fact that we have appointed Fisher as deputy to Mr. Brahimi to focus on humanitarian and reconstruction. And we intend to move ahead very, very quickly, as fast as we can, and as fast as the funds are released. And I think in Bonn, from the discussions we had with the governments, I think some of them, on this, are going to be moving fairly quickly.

KARZAI: With regard to Loya Jirga, it's not a romantic thing. As you saw, it had attention of the Afghan people. That's why it's there as the most important item in the tasks in the interim administration, and in the tasks of the United Nations. It's a political institution that Afghans have had for centuries, and it's a political institution that did deliver Afghanistan out of difficulties many, many times, and it's a powerful institution that the Afghans I'm sure will listen to and abide by the decisions of, and we all should do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, we have a short time. Next question should be one question. Raise your hand.


KARZAI: We can hear you. It's a small room.

QUESTION: My question is that (OFF-MIKE) as Chairman Karzai returned to Afghanistan, there have been reports of fighting between forces loyal to Dostum and Fahim, also reports of fighting between Gul Agha, the governor of Kandahar, and the -- Ismael Khan's forces that were not (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So would that kind threat of different parties to not be cohesive, would you ask them for more (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

KARZAI: The reports of fighting that was reported a few days ago in the press while we were in Tokyo, that was a very minor incident. Somebody that had done something was simply arrested, and that man is still under arrest. It wasn't a fighting. Now you don't call every incident a fighting, please. The press should make a difference between fighting and incidents, skirmishes.

Afghanistan will have skirmishes for a long time to come. It's like a sick man getting out of the operation (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We are still in the ICU. Allow us to go to the recovery room and then walk like normal, healthy people. So we will have these incidents taking place in Afghanistan in the coming days. That does not have any political significance at all.

There was never, not at all, any incident between the governor of Kandahar and the governor of Herat. Somebody made a statement. Now it's a free country. We have announced freedom of speech. People can make statements. Don't take that as armies moving around. It was just somebody's statement. No incident at all.

ANNAN: If I may add, I saw -- I went to ASOP -- ISOP headquarters, and I was very impressed with the work they are doing. They are at half strength, but by middle to end of next month they will be fully deployed, and you will see a greater presence on the streets working closely with the Afghan security and also patrolling on their own. And I think as they deploy fully and begin to work around the city, you're going to see and feel their presence.

The Bonn agreement requires them to remain in Kabul and the surrounding areas and that is a mandate given to them by the Security Council and that's what they are working under.

QUESTION: Will that ever be altered? Will there be more...

KARZAI: No more questions. One question. That lady there.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Kabul (OFF-MIKE) feeling that (OFF-MIKE) effort to sustain a peace force for the country, not just in Kabul?

ANNAN: Security obviously is an important issue. And we've had the chance to discuss it here, and we also discussed it in Tokyo, including the formation -- urgent formation of an Afghan police force and an Afghan army, and measures that should be taken to ensure that a secure environment is created, not just in Kabul, but throughout the country.

Obviously that will require resources, organization and is going to take some time, but it is very much on top of our agenda, and I know it is also on the top of the agenda of the chairman.

KARZAI: It is. It is also on the agenda, because a lot of Afghans that came to see us in the past month, asked us for the presence of the international security force in other provinces of Afghanistan. And our feeling is, that if there is a need for that, they're welcome, and we will have them in those provinces.

Yes, the presence of the security force does, in a way, gives the Afghans a sense of guarantee of the international community's commitment to stay and help Afghanistan.

QUESTION (through translator): After the changes in Afghanistan, how do you evaluate the status of Afghanistan in the region and in the international community? And do you think that this will decrease the interventions from the outside countries or not?

ANNAN: I think it is important that the outside countries, the neighboring countries, and countries beyond your borders work with us, the international community, on the same objectives. And I believe that most of them are beginning to accept that a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, that is focusing on the interests of its people and its own development and has normal relations with its neighbors, is in their interest.

And we have been stressing with the governments that they should not interfere in Afghanistan. They should not repeat the errors of the past and that we should all work in the same direction. And I hope that is what will happen. Most of them have given us the assurance that they are going to work with us to ensure a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and that is what we need.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: You were listening to a good old- fashioned press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. As you could see, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the interim leader of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai both speaking to a crowd of reporters asking questions.

Basically, Hamid Karzai announced a 21-member commission that includes a woman that will come up with something called a Loya Jirga, which will be a body of government leaders that will help run the country. Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary-General, is encouraged by what he sees, and he has pledged continued support and of course, money.

We will have so much more on "Daybreak."




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