Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ambassador Tanin on Official Visit to China

Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations and Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, 4 May for a five-day official visit at the invitation of the People’s Republic of China. Ambassador Tanin was welcomed in Beijing, where he spent some time visiting historical and cultural sites, including the Great Wall of China, before traveling on to Shanghai where he visited the 2010 Shanghai Expo which opened last week.

Ambassador Tanin was received by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi for a one-and-a-half-hour breakfast meeting at the Regent Hotel in Beijing on Friday, 7 May. The discussion touched on the bilateral relations between Afghanistan and China, the situation in the region, and also the negotiations on Security Council reform which Ambassador Tanin has chaired for the past two years.

In addition to his meeting with the Foreign Minister, Ambassador Tanin met on Thursday, 6 May with the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Liu Zhenmin, as well as deputy director general Mr. Li Junhua. The meeting was followed by a dinner in Ambassador Tanin’s honor.

While in Beijing, Ambassador Tanin also gave a presentation to the Chinese Institute of International Studies on global governance and Security Council reform.

Afghanistan Establishes Diplomatic Relations with Bhutan

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Bhutan

Today, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan celebrated an important occasion in its history, as it formally established diplomatic and consular relations with the Royal Government of Bhutan for the first time. This event marks a new era of cooperation and understanding between these two friendly countries. It takes place on the eve of the 16th meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) in Thimphu, Bhutan, highlighting the importance of building stronger regional relations for Afghanistan and its neighbors.

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic Afghanistan to the United Nations, and H.E. Mr. Lhatu Wangchuk, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Royal Government of Bhutan to the United Nations.

The signing of the Joint Communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic and consular relations between the two countries was carried out by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic Afghanistan to the United Nations, and by H.E. Mr. Lhatu Wangchuk, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Royal Government of Bhutan to the United Nations.

On the occasion, Ambassador Tanin expressed his delight that these two countries could work more closely together, and emphasized that he was looking forward to closer ties between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Royal Government of Bhutan in the future. Ambassador Wangchuk welcomed and returned Ambassador Tanin’s sentiments, adding that the people of the Kingdom of Bhutan wished peace and prosperity upon the people of Afghanistan, particularly in light of their suffering over the past three decades.

Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Visits New York

Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Visits New York

His Excellency Mr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, delivered a statement to the Security Council on Friday at a high-level open debate on “Post-Conflict Peacebuilding.” The debate was convened by Japan, which holds the Presidency of the Council for the month of April, and was chaired by Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Katsuya Okada. Also speaking at the meeting was Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, Ministers from Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was attended by Managing Director of the World Bank Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the Security Council at its open debate on post-conflict peacebuilding.

Minister Rassoul’s statement focused on the peacebuilding project in Afghanistan, which “began immediately after the fall of the Taliban in 2001” and still continues today. He highlighted the magnitude of destruction of the country as a result of decades of conflict, including destruction of the social fabric and the empowerment of networks of criminals, terrorists and drug dealers as well as “opportunistic regional elements” which fed on the instability. Given these challenges, he said, “we have achieved remarkable success,” including in security sector reform and disarmament, in the political structure, in infrastructure building, in governance and services, particularly health and education, and economically.

However, he went on to outline continuing challenges, particularly the security situation and the need for regional cooperation, but also in governance and in coordination. He pointed to several essential elements of the new London strategy, proposed by President Karzai, which are aimed at building peace and stability in Afghanistan and preventing a recurrence of conflict. In particular, he focused on the importance of Afghanization, of national leadership, and of a strong partnership between the international community and Afghanistan. In this regard, he stressed the need for intensified training and responsibility for the Afghan National Security Forces; for increased attention to engaging the Afghan people through institution-building and further efforts to spread good governance and address corruption; for a comprehensive reconciliation and reintegration to engage former combatants and isolate the hard-core terrorists and extremists; and most importantly for a long-term commitment to socioeconomic development to guarantee the stability and sustainability of progress.

H.E. Mr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan with United Nations The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

During his two-day visit to New York, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also met separately Friday afternoon with H.E. Mr. Ban ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. He had lunch with H.E. Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, followed by a bilateral meeting between the two countries. He also met briefly after his arrival on Thursday evening with Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations. In addition, the Minister gave brief interviews to Voice of America TV, to Ariana TV, and to CNN International.

Minister Rassoul arrived in New York on Thursday evening and will return to Europe on Saturday morning, where he will attend an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Tallin, Estonia, on 22-23 April.