Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Remarks of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Occasion of the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Membership of the United Nations

New York, 21 November 2016

Your Excellency Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations ,

Excellencies, 

Friends of Afghanistan, 

Friends of the United Nations, 

I am delighted to join you in celebrating the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan’s membership of the United Nations. 

 Afghanistan is one of the oldest members of the United Nations – the first country to gain membership after the original 51 members.  

 Today we are celebrating a strong and lasting partnership.  

Over seventy years, Afghanistan has made important contributions to the United Nations.  It has been a strong advocate of collective action to address common challenges. I welcome Afghanistan’s commitment to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Afghans continue to serve the Organization with dedication and distinction at all levels, from headquarters to the field.  

In Afghanistan itself, our partnership is marked by close cooperation that dates back to 1949, when the first UN agencies began working in the country. 

Since 2002, UNAMA – the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan – has been promoting coherent international support and working with the Afghan Government towards a secure, prosperous and democratic future for all Afghans. 

This has been a challenging year for Afghanistan. The ongoing conflict and governance challenges remain a threat to the hopes and human rights of the country’s men, women and children. I applaud the Afghan people for their resolve. I am encouraged by the continued commitment of the international community, as clearly demonstrated at the recent Warsaw Summit and Brussels Conference. Let us redouble our efforts to translate this support into real progress.

Once again, I congratulate Afghanistan on the 70th anniversary of its membership in the United Nations. 

 

Thank you. 

Presentation Points at the High-Level Segment on the United Nations and the SCO: “Jointly Countering Challenges and Threats.”

Thank you madam moderator,

Secretary-General of SCO H.E. Rashid Alimov,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen

SCO_saikal

H.E. Mahmoud Saikal’s Presentation Points at the High-Level Segment on the  United Nations and the SCO: “Jointly Countering Challenges and Threats.”

We thank the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan and the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for organizing today’s High-level Segment. It is a timely initiative, signifying the United Nations’ increased cooperation with the SCO. Let me extend my congratulations on the 15th anniversary of SCO establishment.
Over recent years, the role of the SCO has gained prominence in fighting terrorism and extremism; the production and trafficking of narcotic drugs and other forms of criminality and organized crime.  We value its contribution to the international community’s ongoing effort to combat some of the dominant challenges of our time.
Afghanistan became an observer member of the SCO in 2012, and we subsequently presented our request for full member status in 2015.  We look forward to attaining full-member status in the SCO in the very near future, as a means to deepen Afghanistan-SCO cooperation in various fields.
Afghanistan is a country that has been a primary victim of the very threats and challenges that led to the formation of the SCO fifteen years ago.  Our people have stood in the forefront of the fight against terror and extremism long before the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan. Over the past several years, a number of international and regional initiatives have taken shape in support of our stabilization efforts.
Thanks to support of various regional and international partners, we have witnessed substantial progress in the security, political and economic domains.  The National Unity Government of Afghanistan is making every effort to consolidate these gains and to enable our people to secure a peaceful, stable and Self-Reliant future. In that effort, we are keen on expanding and broadening cooperation with the SCO and other regional forums in various spheres, including in the area of security cooperation. We already have a MOU on counter-terrorism with SCO and we are active with SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.
We know that peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region will not be realized in the absence of an effective regional strategy to address joint threats and challenges.  Such an approach must entail and “serious and result-oriented effort” conducted in “good-faith” by relevant countries to address common threats in a holistic manner, with due focus and attention to the root sources of the problems. 
Terrorism and narcotic drugs are dangerous threats that are inextricably linked to one another. Extremists groups such as the Taliban; Haqqani network, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and other similar groups, exported to Afghanistan from outside in an orchestrated manner, are using the proceeds of the drug industry to finance their deadly attacks against our people. That said, the provinces with highest levels of violence and insecurity are those in which drug production also remains high. 
We believe that a viable solution to the drug problem can only be reached, on the basis of principle of “common and shared responsibility,” with equal focus on production, trafficking and consumption. We will continue to work closely with the SCO, UNODC and other stakeholders to come up with more effective strategies to overcome the problem of narcotic drugs.
We also believe that achieving Goal 16 of the SDGs and a successful fight against the perils of terrorism, militancy and violent extremism requires a refined approach that will take into account the main sources of these problems.  They cannot simply be wished away.  Ensuring their defeat in our region and beyond warrants necessary focus on ending the financial, moral and material support enjoyed by terrorists. Moreover, safe-havens and sanctuaries in the region where terrorists are sheltered, aided and abetted must also be addressed. It is time to ask what motivates elements within certain state structures in our region to use violence and proxies in pursuit of political objectives.
Outside the security domain, Afghanistan is also keen on seeing a significant increase in trade, investment and economic opportunities among SCO members and observer countries. Over the past two years, we have made notable progress in regaining our historic role as a hub for integration, economic activity and connectivity in our wider region, linking South and Central Asia and the Far East and the Middle East.
 Looking ahead, we believe there can only be merit in expanding the scope of cooperation among SCO member and observer countries. Afghanistan will remain focused on advancing regional cooperation, bilaterally and within framework of various regional forums, such as the SCO, knowing that economic cooperation constitutes a main driver of security and stability in our part of the world.
To conclude, I would like to convey our appreciation for the SCO’s continued commitment and support for Afghanistan’s security and stability. Looking ahead, we will continue to work towards deepening our collaboration in related fields for the benefit of a more secure and stable region.  In the same light, we also welcome the SCO’s increased interaction and engagement with various international organizations, such as the United Nations!
 

Thank You!

 

 

Ambassador Dalil speech at the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan membership to the UN, New York, Nov. 21, 2016

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening,

I am delighted to be part of this event marking the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan membership to the United Nations. On November 19, 1946, Afghanistan joined the United Nations becoming the 52th founding member of the United Nations. Since then Afghanistan mostly demonstrated its commitment to the UN Charter in “maintaining international peace and security” for the mankind, thus “reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”.

H.E. Suraya DalilIn the last seven decades into the UN, Afghanistan has gone through a journey of peace, stability and some degree of development in the 1950s to the 1970s; followed by an era of political instability and conflict, including times of discrimination and oppression of the people, in particular girls and women during the Taliban rule in the late 90s. Since end of 2001, the country and the nation, has experienced remarkable achievements guided by the Constitution that envisions a democratic governance in a society in which women and men have equal rights and duties. Progressive realization of human rights principles, sustained commitment on human rights, freedom of media, a growing civil society, as well as improvement in social services such as access to health care and education, and women’s participation in political, social and economic domain are among the major achievements that Afghanistan has made. We are building our national security forces while combating terror and violent extremism. We thank the international community, United Nations, NATO, European Union and all our partner countries for their continued support and engagement.

Honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen,

As it was mentioned by Ambassador Saikal Afghanistan, for the first time, is a candidate for the membership of the Human Rights Council for the year 2018 to 2020. We believe that we are a strong candidate because we are relevant and committed, and able to represent the multidimensional realities from the heart of Asia. Afghanistan has been a party to seven human rights instruments and ratified three optional protocols. Our government considers constructive dialogue as a valuables tool to exchange views and build consensus. As a member of the Human Right Council, Afghanistan will have the opportunity to share with other Member States its experiences, challenges, and approaches in finding solutions to issues of humanitarian nature especially in conflict affected places. We acknowledge that peace, security, development and human rights are interconnected in nature and mutually reinforcing; Afghanistan stands ready to assume its first mandate in the Human Rights Council, committed on promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedom for all through an effective international cooperation.

Your vote to Afghanistan’s candidacy to the Human Rights Council is a vote of support to sacrifices the nation is making every day in its combat against terror, it is a vote to a country that is committed and determined for a better future, and is a vote for universality of human rights principles.

My colleagues and I look forward contactıng you ın the next weeks and months here in New York, ın Geneva as well as ın your capıtals to ensure your full support and answer any questıon that you mıght have.

Thank you.