Afghanistan: UN Deeply Concerned at Delay in Parliament’s Inauguration

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–21 January 2011 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today voiced “deep concern and surprise” at the recent call to delay the inauguration of the National Assembly that was elected in September.

According to media reports, President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday that Sunday’s scheduled opening would be pushed back to 22 February to allow a special tribunal of the Supreme Court to decide whether some disputed winners should be thrown out.

“Afghanistan’s peaceful future lies in the building up of robust democratic institutions based on the rule of law and clear respect for the separation of powers,” UNAMA said in a statement, recalling the position taken by members of the Security Council at a meeting last month, including on the Assembly’s timely inauguration.

“UNAMA, the European Union, the United States, Canada and other concerned members of the international community continue to support a reasonable, enduring and peaceful resolution to this issue by the relevant Afghan stakeholders, with full respect for the Afghan Constitution and democratic principles, so that Parliament can convene as soon as possible.”

The Mission said it was ready to assist all parties in their efforts to ensure the effective functioning of executive, judicial and legislative bodies and prevent an institutional conflict.

In a press statement after its meeting last month, the Security Council said the parliamentary elections, carried out under full Afghan ownership and under difficult security conditions, “constitute an important milestone in the vital political process.”