US TROOP WITHDRAWAL MARKS 'TRANSITION' FOR AFGHANS, BAN SAYS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed United States President Barack Obama's decision to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as the "beginning of a transition" for the Afghan Government.
"The United Nations views this decision as the beginning of a transition to greater responsibilities of the Afghan Government and ultimately to full Afghan leadership and ownership," Mr. Ban said, according to a <"http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=5371">statement issued by his spokesperson.
"It is important that the United States as well as the international community remain committed to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan for both security and development," he said, following Mr. Obama's announcement last night.
"Turning the page on decades of war will be long and extremely challenging. A peaceful and stable Afghanistan must be based on an Afghan-led and internationally supported political settlement between all Afghans who break from terrorism, abandon violence and abide by the Afghan Constitution.
"Only an all-inclusive political process can restore peace and open again the opportunities to normal life and prosperity for Afghan men, women and children."
The Secretary-General underlined the UN will continue to provide assistance to the Afghan people and their Afghan Government.