Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Statement by H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the High-level Meeting on “Peace-building and Sustaining Peace”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Excellency, Secretary General of the United Nations,

Excellency, President of the General Assembly, 

Excellencies – Distinguished Heads of States and Governments,

Esteemed Colleagues, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is an honor to address this Assembly at this High-level gathering for a comprehensive UN approach to achieve a more peaceful world-order, based on the Sustaining Peace agenda.

This vision has taken shape, in response to the evolving nature of challenges that face international peace and security. 

Addressing these challenges demands a more cohesive approach, better suited to advance peace-building from a more holistic perspective. The new approach correctly focuses on preventing the outbreak, exacerbation, continuation and recurrence of conflict; as well as addressing their fundamental drivers and root causes. 

It also highlights the imperative of a more effective development agenda to advance prosperous societies, grounded in the rule of law. In our view, the success of the “sustaining peace agenda” depends on several factors. As a foundational element, States have the responsibility to respect and adhere to the core-tenets of UN Charter for a rules-based international order.   

At times the causes of conflict are distinct, but instability and violence are most common in situations where international norms are violated.  Non-compliance of international law undermines sustainable peace, while compliance and its enforcement help to maintain and bolster peace. 

For the UN to be more efficient, adequate adjustments within the system are essential for optimal output across the peace, security and development pillars. We fully support the Secretary General’s reform agenda, and welcome ongoing progress in that endeavor.  

Mr. President,

Afghanistan has been a key focus in the agenda of the United Nations. 

Our strong partnership with this organization has helped shore up global support, to help us overcome security, social and economic challenges to “sustain peace.” 

Since 2001, we have witnessed the emergence of a democratic Afghanistan, with viable institutions, and a vibrant civil society led by our talented and committed youth.

Despite security challenges, the National Unity Government is consolidating these gains, with a goal of achieving Self-Reliance.

We can say from experience, that international engagement in conflict or post-conflict settings should endure, until the fundamental factors of instability are resolved, and the situation is fully stabilized. 

This will consolidate peace gains and leave minimal space for a relapse to violence and conflict. 

Mr. President, 

The proliferation of new conflicts and deterioration of old ones has led to a more fragile international landscape. It shows that measures are needed to correct shortcomings in the area of prevention and root causes of conflict.  

While the nature of conflicts sometimes varies, terrorism and violent extremism remain a common security threat in many such situations.

Afghanistan is engaged in the simultaneous task of fostering peace, while also combating a vicious network of terrorist groups, supported in the region, which operate to keep Afghanistan off-balance and disrupt our stability. 

Decisive action is needed to combat all forms and shades of terrorism, without any distinction. 

The establishment of the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism is an important development, in the context of UN reform.

We hope it triggers new levels and modes of cooperation with member-states, especially those most affected by terrorism. 

The overall focus should be ensuring timely and proper action in honoring counter-terrorism obligations – under the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. 

In the area of prevention, more needs to be done to detect and resolve triggers before they lead to an outbreak of conflict. 

Moreover, the UN’s response should adjust to diverse conflict situations – be they internal, regional or international in character.  

Mr. President,

Proper attention must also be given to the imperative of eradicating poverty; generating economic opportunities and embedding a culture of respect for the rule of law. 

The reform proposals for the UN Development System can avoid duplication of efforts and establish clear parameters for division of labor.  

We believe the design and delivery of development assistance must adjust to evolving situations and new ground realities, as countries consolidate institutions and designate development goals.  

We know that adherence to the principle of “national ownership” directly impacts optimal effect of development aid.  

Afghanistan has also been a strong advocate of the ONE-UN approach, which has gained new focus in the context of the UN’s activities in our country.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is well aware of the complexities associated with the task of peace-building. This challenging but noble endeavor is never void of obstacles and setbacks along the way. 

We can attest that with strong political will, national consensus and international support for peace efforts, success is possible.  

Under the Kabul Process for Peace and Security, we have spearheaded new momentum in our Afghan-led peace efforts for a political settlement to the current conflict. The peace offer made by President Ghani in February offers new incentives.

It also incorporates the principles of national ownership and inclusivity, especially the proactive role of women in all stages of the process, including decision-making.  

We are also benefiting from contributions of civil society and religious figures in the process. This embodies the “whole of society approach,” highlighted in the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

We urge all stakeholders, including regional countries to contribute to our Afghan-led peace process to help generate an enabling environment for direct and result-oriented talks.  

Mr. President,

In conclusion, the commitments we make in this Conference will provide the foundation for a more effective international framework for sustaining peace. We must strive to uphold uniform principles and norms governing international law; and strengthen and  expand new partnerships in support of a more effective and coherent UN approach. 

Indeed, doing so will certainly help ensure a just and lasting peace that holds and endures for all of humanity. 

Thank You Mr. President.

IGN Negotiations – Security Council Reform

Remarks by Mr. Nazifullah Salarzai 
Deputy Permanent Representative 
Permanent Mission of I.R. of Afghanistan to the United Nations
at  IGN Negotiations – Security Council Reform 

  • We thank the Co-Chairs for convening the 3 meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform (IGN).  We commend your efforts in leading this important process and welcome, in this regard, your presentation of the “Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration,” which builds on discussions and input provided by member-states during our two previous meetings.
  •  We believe the document marks a step forward for a more productive and results-oriented discussions to advance the crucially important objective of achieving a more effective, transparent and representative Security Council: a strategic imperative for overcoming pressing challenges of our time in relation to international peace and security.  We hope this more constructive and harmonized approach will be sustained in the way forward, which in our view, is essential for achieving the goal at hand.
  • We welcome the fact that the revised document incorporates key proposals and the common position of the African Group and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for the first time.  Paragraph 6(J) is a noteworthy addition, reflecting proposals from member-states and we believe it is rightly placed under issues for further consideration.
  • This, in our perspective, will factor positively in our overall discussions. Having said, we too share the view that the inclusion of attribution in the iteration of paper will benefit greater clarity, “a level playing field” and also reinforce the principles of transparency and openness which remain the foundation for any progress in our collective endeavor.
  • Looking forward, we hope that existing gaps, if any, in relation to specific proposals under any section of Issues be covered and addressed in the next iteration.  This will only be possible if relevant sponsors of any remaining proposals present their views so that the next document is even more comprehensive and incorporates all remaining issues, if any.
  • On that note, we consider recent decisions by the Co-Chairs since our previous meetings to be important developments towards conducting “text-based negotiations,” which remains the surest way to ensure consensus and convergence of positions on all key issues.  This viewpoint is increasingly shared by the absolute majority of member-States  and we hope our discussions today, tomorrow and in the way forward progress further in that trajectory.
  • I will conclude by highlighting what we have asserted in previous discussions: that our efforts in this important process should be guided by a clear recognition of the many daunting challenges that threaten international peace and security, and in that regard, the imperative of achieving a more effective Security Council.
  • Thank you Co-Chairs!


Afghan Delegation Participates in 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

New York, 17 March 2018 – On Monday, 12 March 2018, the United Nations celebrated the opening of the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world came to New York to attend the session. The priority theme for this year is “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

On this important occasion, a delegation headed by H.E. Delbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, was in New York to participate in the session and engage meaningfully with the international community, present Afghanistan’s achievements and challenges, and share best practices and lessons learned.

On Wednesday, 14 March, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan organized a side event on the theme “Women, Peace, and Security: Challenges and Achievements”. This event constituted a precious occasion to present and discuss Afghanistan’s efforts in the implementation of the first ever National Action Plan (NAP) on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (on Women, Peace, and Security) and its linkages with the Government’s efforts in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to ensure the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Panelists included Minister Nazari, Ms Habiba Sarabi, Deputy Chairperson of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, H.E. Anne Meskanen, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women Issues and Gender Equality at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, as well as, Dr. Miwa Kato, Regional Director of UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

During the same day, Minister Nazari delivered Afghanistan’s statement at the general debate segment of the session. In the speech, she highlighted the critical importance of women as powerful agents of change and spoke about the need to empowering rural women to uplift Afghan society. In this regard, Ms. Nazari presented Afghanistan’s National Priority Program on Women Economic Empowerment as a fundamental policy tool to provide women with educational programs to increase, among other aspects, their active participation in the economy.

On Thursday, 15 March, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan organized a second side event on the theme “Afghan Government Initiatives and Measures for the Improvement of Rural Women’s Situation”. The event began with a video message from the First Lady of Afghanistan. The event among other key issues, focused on achievements and challenges of women and girls in Afghanistan with regards to education, political participation, and economic self-sufficiency. The discussion revolved around four main areas of work of the Government: refugees and internally displaced people, women’s contribution to agriculture and economy, women’s access to education, and women’s access to health care services. Panelists included Minister Nazari, H.E. Ine Eriksen Soreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Ms. Sajia Behgam, Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive of Afghanistan on Women and Youth Affairs, Ms. Najiba Nooristani, Head of the Gender Unit at the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, and Dr. Zelaikhwa Anwari, Director of Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan. 
Both side events were moderated by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations and witnessed wide and constructive participation from Member States and civil society representatives.

In addition to her participation to side events and the plenary sessions, Minister Nazari took part in bilateral meetings with the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women of Canada, H.E. Fatma Betül Sayan, Minister of Family and Social Policies of Turkey, and H.E. Dr. Shezra Mansab Ali Khan, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

On Friday, 16 March, the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN co-hosted another CSW side event on how National Human Rights Institutions can advance gender equality and the rights of women and girls in rural areas. Afghanistan’s Chair of Independent Human Rights Commission Dr Sima Samar was a panelist and Deputy Permanent Representative Nazifullah Salarzai participated in the discussion.

The 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women was a moment of great importance for Afghanistan’s engagement on the world stage. The visit of the Afghan delegation, under the leadership of H.E. Nazari, was conducive to exchanging views, sharing lessons learned, and ways to tackle common challenges not only with other Member States, but also with the UN system and representatives of the civil society. Afghanistan’s engagement on an issue of vital importance for the country – women’s rights and their empowerment- was a testimony of the Government’s commitment to achieve full gender equality and ensure a prosperous future for the women and girls of Afghanistan.


Permanent Mission of Afghanistan