I welcome the agreement signed by Dr Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah to form a government of national unity for Afghanistan.  The inauguration of a new president will mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan; an historic milestone for the Afghan people.

The new government will face challenges, but strong leadership from both candidates will provide a foundation for Afghanistan to progress its longstanding governance and economic reform agenda.

I urge the new Afghan government to conclude the necessary legal arrangements for the international community’s post-2014 train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan.

The Australian Government has committed $300 million toward the sustainment of Afghanistan’s security forces.  Australia also maintains significant levels of development assistance to Afghanistan with a focus on economic growth, governance, the rights of women and girls, and humanitarian relief.

Australia remains committed to supporting a more peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, and we stand ready to work with the new government to this end.  

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