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21 Oct 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. “Next year’s Presidential and Provincial Council elections will be one more step in the process of strengthening democracy in Afghanistan.” (Written Answer (WA), 21 Oct 13.)
Senior Officers described the progress made in Southern Afghanistan this Summer during a media briefing in London on 21 Oct 13. (MoD, 22 Oct 13.)
Over 270 new recruits started training at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul. „Mentoring. is being undertaken by Instructors from Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and the UK which is the lead nation. (MoD, 23 Oct 13.)
The road building programme associated with Bost Airfield and Bost Agricultural Park was funded by the US and the UK. (WA, 24 Oct 13.)
The FCO, together with the MoD and the Department for International Development, published the 31st progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. (FCO, 25 Oct 13.)
Comment: NATO representatives and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) partners discussed with Afghan representatives plans for the future on 23 Oct 13. Planning for the post 2014 mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan Security Forces took place at NATO Headquarters. The Afghan Defence Minister attended the meeting as well as representatives from the United Nations and the European Union. In a Written Answer of 22 Oct 13 the International Development Secretary confirmed that, following her visit to Afghanistan in December 2012, a decision was taken to discontinue further investment in the Bost Agricultural Business Park. This confirmation followed earlier Parliamentary Answers (4 Feb and 8 Oct 13) regarding the project.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/42, 28 Oct 13)

21 Oct 13. Syria: Core Group Meeting. The UK has allocated or is in the final stages of allocating £165m to support Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries……The UK is leading international efforts to alleviate human suffering in Syria and the region. (WA, 21 Oct 13.)
Iran is supporting the Syrian regime and affiliated militias through weapons supplies, equipment, financial assistance and personnel provided by its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This is in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1747. (WA, 21 Oct 13.)
The Friends of Syria Core Group (the „London 11.) issued a Final Communiqué, introduced by the Foreign Secretary at a Press Conference. (FCO, 22 Oct 13.)
The UN predicts there will be over one million refugees in Lebanon alone by the end of the year: roughly a two-fold increase since July. (WA, 23 Oct 13.)
The Joint Mission dealing with chemical weapons has now visited 18 of the sites disclosed by Syria. The US and the EU have each donated 10 armoured vehicles and the UK is providing two. Sweden has put a transport aircraft at the disposal of the Mission for two months. (UN Briefing, 23 Oct 13.)
Since the start of the crisis in Syria in 2011 the UK has committed £500m in aid, the largest total sum the UK has ever committed to a single crisis. (WA, 25 Oct 13.)
Comment: On 21 Oct 13 a representative of the newly-elected Norwegian Government indicated that a UN request to handle the destruction of some of Syria’s chemical weapons was being considered. On 25 Oct 13 the Norwegian authorities turned down the request, “citing regulatory constraints and time pressures.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/42, 28 Oct 13)

17 Oct 13. UN Security Council: New Members. The UN General Assembly elected (17 Oct 13) Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to serve on the Council for two years from 1 Jan 14 (replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan & Togo). The Council’s other five non-permanent members,

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