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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > December
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 12, 2003


United States Congratulates Afghanistan on Eve of Constitutional Convention

The United States welcomes the convening of Afghanistan’s historic first Constitutional Convention, or Loya Jirga, which will begin on December 14.

We are pleased to see that five hundred delegates representing a cross-section of Afghan society will join this debate to chart the future political course of Afghanistan. While challenges remain, Afghanistan is passing a major milestone in its transition to a constitutional, representative government that respects its traditions and protects the welfare of its citizens.

In keeping with the spirit of democracy, we expect to see a vigorous debate among the Loya Jirga delegates over the Constitution, as they take up questions of faith and human rights, the structure of government, and the balance between central authority and local control.

Afghanistan has made remarkable strides in the two years since the Transitional Government was established. The credit goes to the strong leadership of President Karzai and his team, and the resilience of the Afghan people, as aided by the United States and the international community.

There is much to build on, but there is much that remains to be done. For that reason the United States has approved an additional $1.7 billion in assistance to the Afghan people. As President Bush has made clear the United States will remain steadfast in its support for the new Afghanistan.

2003/1256

Released on December 12, 2003

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