Ban calls on all Afghans to cast their votes in tomorrows elections

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that by participating in the elections, “the Afghan people will help Afghanistan strengthen its democratic institutions, bring fresh vigour to the country’s political life, and ultimately reaffirm their commitment to contribute to the peace and prosperity of their nation.”He also called on all election candidates, their supporters, political party agents and both domestic and international observers “to continue to cooperate with the Independent Election Commission, other relevant Afghan institutions and international stakeholders supporting electoral preparations, to ensure a smooth and successful electoral process.”Afghanistan has been beset by violence during the election campaign, including two suicide bomb attacks since the weekend in the capital, Kabul. In the latest attack, which occurred yesterday, two United Nations staff members were among those killed.Earlier this month a report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) found that the prevailing insecurity was affecting preparations for the elections, especially for women.Tomorrow’s elections will feature an estimated 40 presidential candidates and another 3,195 candidates for the provincial council. 19 August 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all eligible Afghan men and women to cast their ballots in tomorrow’s presidential and provincial elections, saying their votes will play a crucial role in helping the country on the path towards greater stability and democracy. read more

China insists no hidden agenda in relationship with Sri Lanka

“Some other country’s allegation on China-Sri Lanka cooperation in Port area (Hambantota port) is baseless and incorrect. China welcomes any interested third party to participate the cooperation and make joint efforts to build Sri Lanka into the regional hub,” he said.President Maithripala Sirisena and the Chinese Ambassador recently participated in the groundbreaking ceremony to construct an agricultural economic center in Kaduruwela, Polonnaruwa funded by the Chinese. “China always attaches great importance to the efforts of Sri Lankan Government to improve people’s living standards,” he said. President Sirisena said the Agricultural Economic Centre would be built at a cost of Rs. 50.2 million under the assistance of the Chinese Government.The new center will comprise of a main commercial complex and an agricultural complex including stalls, children’s play area, cafeterias, banking facilities and sanitary facilities.China is also funding a well-drilling project in Welikanda, Polonnaruwa.  (Colombo Gazette) Ambassador Yi also emphasized that China’s cooperation with Sri Lanka has no hidden agenda and aims to seek a win-win situation. China has insisted there is no hidden agenda in its relationship with Sri Lanka.A statement by the Chinese Embassy in Colombo quoted the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang as saying as a true friend of Sri Lanka, China offered assistance to Sri Lanka without any conditions. read more