The European Union welcomes the inauguration of the Afghan National Assembly on 19 December. This is an historic occasion which marks the culmination of the political transition process set out in the Bonn Agreement.

The EU is committed to helping Afghanistan build strong and accountable institutions, which promote the rule of law and ensure democratic oversight. In this regard the EU looks forward to establishing contact with the National Assembly and welcomes its contribution to developing and strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in Afghanistan.

The EU welcomes the excellent contribution made by the programme of training for parliamentary staffers promoted by French/UNDP with the participation of other European countries and encourages the international community to provide support for the National Assembly.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Ref: 15904/05