Impromptu Address by SRSG Lakhdar Brahimi On the First Day of the Loya Jirga Selection Process In Mordian, Jowzjan Province

This is a great day for this wuleswali [administrative unit equivalent to a district] and I think it is a great day also for Afghanistan. Thesis the first step for the organization of the Loyal Jirga in June in Kabul inshallah. The massive presence of the people of this wuleswaliis evidence of the great support for the Loya Jirga that exists not only here, but all over Afghanistan. The people in Afghanistan realize that at long last the long night of conflict when Afghan was facing Afghan with a gun is coming to an end.

I think the people of Afghanistan want very much to put that era of conflict behind them, and to start rebuilding their country. The Loyal Jirga is the beginning of this new era for Afghanistan. The Commission has worked very hard, and I think very honestly. They have set down the rules forth preparation of the Loyal Jirga and for the participation of general representatives of all the people of Afghanistan. I think that the people of this wuleswali are going to set the example and the standards for all the meetings that are going to take place in every single wuleswali in the country. So I hope that before the end of this day, you will choose freely, the people whom you feel are able to represent you in the Loyal Jirga. I hope very much, I pray that this will happen in every single wuleswali, that the people will get together peacefully in fraternal spirit, and together will make the choice without interference, without pressure, without any intimidation from any side.

In Kabul, the Interim Administration and all its members, the Governors, the military officers, everyone has told us, very friendly, that they will not interfere, they will allow the people to choose freely. So, we wish you luck, thank you very much for turning up in such large numbers, thank you very much for your welcome to us and we wish you success today and in all this process until the Loyal Jirga meets in June in Kabul inshallah.