Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Kabul Process for Peace & Security Cooperation in Afghanistan Declaration

February 28, 2018

We, the high-level representatives from the region, members of the international community, and international organizations—participating in the second Meeting of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation—express our support to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for organizing this Meeting. We thank H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and H.E. Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah for presenting their vision for peace and security cooperation.

We stress the necessity to conduct international cooperation, in accordance with the principles of international law, including that of sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. We reaffirm the central role of the United Nations in international cooperation to counter terrorist threats and the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as the necessity to fully implement relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council with concern to terrorist threats to international peace and security

We condemn in the strongest terms the horrendous and unacceptable levels of terrorist violence inflicted upon the Afghan people—taking their innocent lives and deepening their pain each day—and reiterate our strong and unequivocal commitment and support to ending this suffering through an inclusive political process, as well as military actions, in their respective territories, against terrorists, terrorist sanctuaries, and terrorist support infrastructure wherever they are and without any distinction.

We reaffirm that the Kabul Process must lead to the renunciation of violence and breaking of all ties to international terrorism, as well as respect for the equal rights of all Afghans, including women, under the Afghan Constitution. Hence, we appreciate the Kabul Process as a main forum and vehicle under the leadership of the Afghan Government to lead peace efforts to end violence in Afghanistan. As Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors, regional countries, members of the broader international community and international organizations—participating in this Meeting—we support the early and full realization of this Process’ vital objectives.

Peace & Reconciliation

We reiterate our continued support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process and collectively agree that direct talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban—without any preconditions and without the threats of violence—constitute the most viable way to end the ongoing agony of the Afghan people. After many years of continued war and violence in Afghanistan, which have killed and maimed countless of Afghan citizens, Afghans deserve to live in sustainable peace and prosperity. Therefore, we also reiterate the call we made on 6 June 2017 in the first Meeting of the Kabul Process on all armed groups to start peace talks with the Afghan Government and cease violence immediately. We strongly support the Afghan Government’s commitment to forging a practical plan for reconciliation, which includes negotiation of various issues and any contested aspect of the international community’s future role in Afghanistan.

In this Meeting, the Afghan Government has reiterated its will and determination for peace through dialogue. The countries in the region and the international participants call on the Taliban to pursue their goals through direct talks with the Afghan Government with the aim of an ultimate political settlement that leads to their dignified return to a peaceful life. A peace agreement will be a victory for all its parties and a defeat for none. We, the representatives of the international community, recognize that for the success of their dialogue, both the Afghan Government and the Taliban will need firm international support and assistance. Consequently, we assure both parties of our strong will and commitment to stand behind an intra-Afghan dialogue for sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan. We are equally united and determined to pursue those who continue down the path of violence, taking the lives of innocent people, and commit to disrupt their supporters and financiers.

As noted in the Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, women’s full and meaningful participation in reconciliation should be a cornerstone of any lasting peace. We welcome the Afghan Government’s continued commitment in this regard—as evidenced by the increased number of female members in the reformed High Peace Council—and pledge our continued support for the implementation of the National Action Plan.

We also acknowledge the significance of trust-building and strong bilateral relations between Afghanistan and its neighbors as an important element for ending violence and reaching durable peace in Afghanistan and ultimately improving the stability and prosperity of the whole region.

Security Cooperation & Counter-Terrorism

We acknowledge that while terrorism is a serious and growing common threat to all of us, there is urgent need for common understanding and cooperation through necessary mechanisms, including those of the SCO and others, in the region against this menace particularly by us—the participants of this Meeting—in support of Afghanistan as the front-line state against over twenty domestic, regional, and transnational terrorist groups.

While fully appreciating the scope and gravity of threats posed to Afghanistan, its neigbours, the region, and the entire international community by these domestic, regional and transnational terrorist groups, we commit to undertake coordinated measures against these terrorist groups regardless of their location and with no distinction.

We fully support resolution A/RES/60/288 (2006) that adopted the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action for its implementation, through which member-states condemn terrorism as being unacceptable, criminal and unjustifiable in all its forms and manifestations, and without any distinction of any sort. Further, as stated in the Strategy, as a measure to prevent and combat terrorism, we emphasize that states must “refrain from organizing, instigating, facilitating, participating in financing, encouraging or tolerating terrorist activities and to take appropriate practical measures to ensure that our respective territories are not used for terrorist installations, or training camps, or for the preparation or organization of terrorist acts intended to be committed by other states or their citizens.”

We resolve to take practical steps towards an accelerated regional security and counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan, which is essential for ending terrorist violece, advancing regional stability, connectivity, and economic cooperation. We also resolve to jointly address the threats posed by Transnational Terrorist Networks (TTNs), as well as Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), which continue to terrorize our people, destabilize our states, and spread fear and terror. These groups move freely across our borders, join with local insurgents, enjoy safe havens, and seek to target our citizens and our governments.

In addition to bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation, there is an increasing need for a strong, consistent, collective and multilateral campaign against terrorism and the spread of its ideology, backed by a set of practical measures by each regional and international stakeholder. In this regard, we underscore the primary role of the states and their competent agencies—as well as the significance of state-to-state relations and cooperation amongst these agencies—in preventing and countering terrorism at the national, regional, and global levels. Therefore, we commit to actively engaging with the region and the international community through this and other multilateral counter-terrorism mechanisms to rid this region of this menace.

In conclusion, we once again reiterate our support to the Kabul Process for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, as well as reaffirming our commitment to the necessary fight against terrorism to bring lasting peace, security, stability, and prosperity to Afghanistan. The next meeting of Kabul Process will assess the progress achieved on the above-mentioned areas. This Declaration is adopted on 28 February 2018 in Kabul, Afghanistan by Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden (Nordic Plus), Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, United States, EU, NATO and UN.

UN Security Council Members visit Afghanistan

The UN Security Council undertook a visit to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from the 13th to 15th of January 2018 for the first time since 2010. The visit was an opportunity to reiterate the Security Council’s support for the Government and people of Afghanistan and their efforts to restore peace, stability and progress to the country.

The visit was organized by Kazakhstan which holds the Presidency of the Security Council in January 2018, in coordination with UNAMA in Kabul and the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN. Ambassador Kairat Umarov, the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN, was accompanied on this trip by representatives of the United States, Russian Federation, China, France, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Peru, Plurinational State of Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia. Also, accompanying the delegation was Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

During the visit to Kabul, the delegation held meetings with President  Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Director General of the National Directorate of Security, Masoom Stanekzai, and other senior officials, including the Ministers of  Defense, Interior, Finance, Justice, Agriculture, Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Economy, Trade and Commerce, Transportation and Aviation, Public Works and the Chairman of the High Peace Council. 

They Security Council delegation also met both speakers of parliament, women’s NGOs, civil society organizations, representatives of political parties and the electoral management bodies, as well as the leadership of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

Discussions focused on the political, security, socio-economic and human rights situation in the country. Council members reiterated their support for the Government’s reform initiatives, in particular to counter corruption and accelerate regional cooperation. They expressed concerns about the security environment in Afghanistan, including the presence of Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Da’esh-affiliated fighters, as well as about the nexus of terrorism and organized crime. All parties reiterated the need for greater international and regional security cooperation.
Both Security Council members and Afghan officials called for improved cooperation and coordination in the region, underscoring the need for the international community, particularly neighboring countries, to support and cooperate with Afghanistan, especially in countering terrorism.

They also called for further streamlining of efforts between UN agencies on the ground and better cooperation between UN agencies and regional organizations operating in the region.

UN Security Council Debate on Building Regional Partnerships in Afghanistan and Central Asia

STATEMENT BY H.E. Hekmat Khalil Karzai

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations at the

UN Security Council Debate on Building Regional Partnerships in Afghanistan and Central Asia

January 19, 2018

NEW YORK

(Please check against delivery)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. President,

It is a great pleasure to address the Security Council. I would like to begin by first thanking you and the Government of Kazakhstan for bringing us together for this important meeting on Afghanistan and Central Asia.  We consider today’s meeting to be an important initiative on an issue of strategic relevance for peace and stability in Afghanistan and our wider region.  We thank Secretary General Guterres for his insightful presentation.

I am pleased to recognize the presence of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of our Central Asian neighboring States and other partner countries. The high-level representation in this meeting signifies a personal commitment to the imperative of securing lasting peace and stability in my country, for which we are deeply grateful.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting comes just days after the Security Council’s visit to Afghanistan. The visit was an opportunity to discuss, broadly, a number of important issues, ranging from security, development and regional cooperation; to governance, human rights, and democratization. We are confident the outcome of the visit will factor positively in strengthening the international community’s engagement, cooperation and consensus on Afghanistan.

One issue that was highlighted in the visit concerns the topic on which we are meeting today: that Afghanistan’s stability and development should not be seen in isolation from the security and stability of the countries in our periphery and beyond. In this regard, the imperative of deepened cooperation between Afghanistan and Central Asian States on common challenges and promoting our shared prosperity has gained new impetus.

Afghanistan has always recognized the importance of our relations with all regional countries, especially those of Central Asia. These bonds have endured on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity, shared interests and common affinities of culture and history. 

Despite these positive attributes, we had – during the past years – missed opportunities to elevate the scope of our cooperation for our common security, development and prosperity. Having said that, the past year has seen new dynamism take shape in our cooperation with Central Asian countries.

This is based on the firm commitment of the Government of Afghanistan to increase collaboration across multiple fields and sectors, such as regional connectivity; energy; trade and transit; security cooperation; agriculture, as well as the cultural and educational spheres.

This new dynamic is manifested in a series of high-level visits to the Central Asian region in 2017 by the leadership of the Afghan Government. Last July, President Ghani visited Ashgabat and met with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. In August, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah visited Astana and met with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev. And just last month, President Ghani paid a visit to Tashkent where he held wide-ranging discussions with his Uzbek counterpart, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and signed over 20 MOUs.

These visits have helped set in motion a new era of engagement, interaction and cooperation on a common agenda for our security, economic development and integration; as well as strengthening people to people ties.

Mr. President,

We all know that prosperity is not possible in the absence of security, a fundamental requirement in any society. Terrorism and violent extremism lie at the forefront of the inter-linked challenges threatening Afghanistan’s security and stability and that of the region. 

Our fight against terrorism is being conducted on behalf of the region and the world at large. In this struggle, we are making enormous sacrifices, in terms of human lives – ordinary civilians and our security forces alike. Despite all challenges, our forces have made progress in pressing violent militants and terrorists, including the Taliban; the Haqqani network; Al-Qaeda and Daesh, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, among others. 

In the past 10 months alone, our Special Forces have carried out more than 2,000 security operations nationwide, which have resulted in major losses among violent militants, including foreign terrorist fighters who come from the region and beyond.

We are pleased to note that the imperative of addressing the problem of regional terrorist sanctuaries and safe-havens is now recognized more than ever before. This issue was loudly communicated by a broad spectrum of Afghan society during the Council’s visit to Afghanistan last week.

Experience has shown that terrorism impacts all of us, and the task of its elimination lies beyond the capacity of any single country alone. It requires a comprehensive effort. In the context of our joint endeavors, we must prevent the radicalization of our youth, and identify and prevent the problem of cross-border terrorism, criminal activities and other illegalities.

We must also work together to overcome the problem of illicit drugs. Progress in addressing this threat is only possible by joint and collaborative efforts, focused on all aspects of the challenge, including production, demand, trafficking of chemical precursors and consumption.

Mr. President,

We have engaged in comprehensive efforts to improve security and defeat terrorism. Outside the scope of military efforts, we are working to ensure success in our peace efforts with elements of the armed opposition.

On February 28, we will convene the second meeting of the Kabul Process, where we will present our WAY Forward for peace and combating terrorism to the international community. We count on the full support and endorsement of all partners to the process, including the Central Asian States.

The Kabul Process gathering will precede the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan in late March, which we will jointly co-host with the Government of Uzbekistan. In this respect, we wish to highlight that all such initiatives should serve to reinforce Afghan-led and owned peace efforts, under the Kabul Process, which remains the over-arching framework.

On the margins of the Tashkent Conference, we also plan to hold the first meeting of the C5+Afghanistan. The (C5+1) cooperation framework for Afghanistan and Central Asia is an important new regional initiative that will maintain sustained dialogue across a broad spectrum of areas. The UN will, undoubtedly, have a role to play in the process.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting also affirms that the dangerous nexus facing Afghanistan and the region must be and can only be addressed if existing efforts are integrated and woven together across the peace, security and development pillars. This imperative lies at the core of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, an Afghan led initiative, which most Central Asian countries are part of. This will remain a key focus as we work to increase our cooperation with countries of Central Asia through different platforms, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in which we hope to gain full member status soon.

We also see additional space for cooperation with the UN Center on Preventive Diplomacy in multiple areas. In this context, we welcome the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting on Security and Development, which was convened in November by the Government of Uzbekistan; the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UNRCCA. 

 

Efforts under these formats will help us overcome issue of common concern. In this connection, we are of the view that any regional approach, should harmonize and help consolidate existing international efforts for security and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Another central theme in our discussion today concerns the crucial way in which the development agenda helps propel security. This is a key principle guiding international efforts to stabilize conflict situations worldwide. Afghanistan is no exception.

Over the past three years, the Afghan Government has worked tirelessly to advance economic cooperation to a new horizon. We have done so through the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference (RECCA), which has seen unprecedented progress since its inception in 2005. 

The past year has seen many notable achievements, but none as striking as the gains made in the area of regional economic cooperation. What we envisioned a few years back is now surely taking shape and becoming a reality.

Projects such as the Lapus Lazuli Corridor and 5 Nation Railway, connecting China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran will have a profound impact on increasing connectivity and boosting movement of goods, ideas and peoples. 

2017 also saw headway in the implementation of other mega projects, such as the CASA 1000 and TAPI electricity and natural gas initiatives. Moreover, the Chabahar Port is now operational, increasing the flow and trade of goods.  Over the course of the year, we will work to further progress on these initiatives, the benefits of which are far-reaching and not only help boost trade and transit, but also facilitate the exchange of new and innovative ideas for our common prosperity.

Mr. President,

Our gathering here today symbolizes the unique opportunity that lies before us – an opportunity to shift the dynamic and transform the nexus of regional threats such as terrorism, instability and other criminal activities to a nexus of peace, security and economic growth and development for our prosperity. In this connection, we believe a new start towards regional engagement and convergence has begun. It is up to us to do our share and transform this new vision into reality. Afghanistan stands confident in the success of our endeavor.   

I thank you Mr. President.

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan