On 17 March, 2014 the Security Council extended UNAMA’s mandate for another year and convened a debate on the situation in Afghanistan. H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, delivered a statement on behalf of his government.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mr. Jan Kubiš, opened the debate. In his statement, Mr. Kubiš offered his deepest condolences to the families of those UN staff and others who lost their lives in the January suicide attack in Kabul. Mr. Kubiš went on to stress the historic nature of the upcoming Presidential and Provincial Council elections, noting that a credible political transition has the ability not only to provide stability, but also to unify the people of Afghanistan. “The success of the April 2014 elections will be of critical significance in reinforcing Afghanistan’s institutional and political stability and instilling confidence in the future,” he said.
Mr. Kubiš closed his statement by remarking on the United Nation’s long-term commitment to a “peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan,” noting the value that UNAMA brings in the exercise of good offices, protection and promotion of human rights, and the facilitation of international development coherence to the country.
Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin recalled the establishment of the UNAMA mandate in 2002. At the time, he said Council members aimed to establish a political mission to lead international civilian coordination efforts and to support Afghanistan in building a democratic, stable, and peaceful country (SC/RES/1401). Since then, he said, UNAMA’s “comprehensive focus on security, economy, governance and development challenges has been essential to my government’s work to lay the foundations for sustainable development and peace in the country.”
After 12 years of unprecedented international cooperation and engagement, the Ambassador stated, “Afghan people are less than a few weeks away from the pinnacle of transition: Presidential and Provincial elections.” Noting the historical significance of the event, the Ambassador also explained that preparations by the government, international community, Independent Election Commission (IEC), and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) were well underway to ensure their legitimacy, credibility, and transparency.
Continuing his statement, Ambassador Tanin emphasized that his country was not losing sight of other challenges crucial to building a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan. Continued focus is needed on cooperation with the international community, fiscal stability and sustainable economic growth, and regional cooperation, he said, as well as a continued commitment to ensuring rights for all.
In closing, the Ambassador explained that after decades of war and instability, and 12 years of tremendous progress, “it is crucial that momentum continues towards our goal of achieving a long-lasting, stable, peaceful and democratic Afghanistan.”
After his statement, members of the Security Council voted unanimously for the twelve-month extension of UNAMA’s mandate. Then members of the Security Council, Australia, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Rwanda, Nigeria, France, the United Kingdom, Chile, Lithuania, China, Chad, Jordan, the United States, the Russian Federation, and Luxembourg delivered statements on behalf of their governments. Representatives of India, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, the European Union, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany, Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Romania and China also took the floor. Countries emphasized their support for Afghanistan’s transition, and expressed sentiments of hope for peace and security in the country. Common themes included the importance of women’s participation in the upcoming elections, continuing momentum towards sustainable economic development, and international commitments to assisting Afghanistan during the transition process.