UN: Afghan Groups Name Interim Government, Power-Sharing Deal Complete

Published December 5th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Rival Afghan groups meeting in Germany agreed Wednesday on who will serve in an interim government, finalising the terms of a historic UN-sponsored power-sharing accord, the United Nations announced. 

UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said the 29-member executive cabinet, which will rule Afghanistan for the next six months, is to be headed by the royalist ethnic Pashtun tribal leader Hamid Karzai. 

The 44-year-old former deputy foreign minister, currently battling the Taliban around the southern city of Kandahar, is an ally of the exiled Afghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah. 

Fawzi, the spokesman for UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, said that while all 29 names had been agreed to, "a few ministerial posts had yet to be filled, only because we have yet to contact the individuals concerned." 

A list of the names was not immediately available, but according to the United Nations the powerful Northern Alliance had achieved its aim of taking the key defence, interior and foreign ministry portfolios. 

There was also no immediate indication whether Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani would play any role in the new administration, but the United Nations has appealed to him to cooperate and allow the successful implementation of the accord. 

After days of digging in his heels over a deal, Rabbani, the Northern Alliance's old-guard president, finally agreed to rubber-stamp his camp's nominations and effectively sign away his status as titular head of state. 

The groups had decided to attribute the posts on a weighted quota system, and Fawzi has clearly indicated that ethnic considerations as well as professional competence and moral integrity were the criteria for assigning jobs. 

In his brief statement given by telephone from the Petersberg hill-top government residence where exhausted delegates have been locked in discussions for the past eight days, Fawzi said the historic accord will be signed at 9:20 am (0820 GMT) Wednesday. 

He said the interim government will take over the running of Afghanistan on December 22. 

The interim authority will govern Afghanistan for a six-month period, before an emergency Loya Jirga -- or grand traditional assembly of elders -- in turn appoints an 18-month transitional government. 

Under the terms of their accord, former king Mohammed Zahir Shah gets a symbolic role, presiding over the Loya Jirga. 

The accord provides for the deployment of an international security force in Kabul and its surrounding area. 

The seven-page UN blueprint for a post-Taliban Afghanistan is designed to put the country on a road to general elections and "a broad-based, gender-sensitive, multi-ethnic and fully representative government." 

The four Afghan groups, including the Northern Alliance and the camp of ex-king Zahir Shah, have been locked in intensive negotiations at the secluded and heavily-guarded residence outside the former West German capital since November 27 – Bonn (AFP)

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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