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Australia supports the 20 August Afghan elections.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

STEPHEN SMITH

AA 42-09 1 July 2009

Australia Supports the 20 August Afghan Elections Australia is committed to supporting the conduct of credible and secure elections in Afghanistan that reflect the will of the Afghan people. These elections will be the first administered by the Afghan authorities and they have the strong backing of the United Nations and the international community.

Australia has already committed $8 million to support the elections, comprising $3 million to support the United Nations backed independent Electoral Complaints Commission and $5 million for voter registration and education activities.

Today I announce that Australia will provide an additional $1 million for a regional election observer mission, which will allow observers from Asian countries to monitor the Afghan elections. These countries include Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan.

The conduct of credible Presidential and Provincial Council elections on 20 August will be a vital step towards the international community’s goal of a stable Afghanistan.

In addition to $9 million in civilian support for the election, Australia is also deploying an infantry company, about 120 troops, to provide security for the poll. This deployment forms part of the increase in Australia’s troop contingent to Afghanistan announced by the Prime Minister in April.

Media Contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: Libby Petrovic 02 6277 7500 or 0439603678 AusAID Media: 02 62064733 or 0417 680 590