Thursday, July 19, 2018

Security Council: The situation in Afghanistan (8199th meeting)

STATEMENT BY H.E. Mahmoud Saikal
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

March 8, 2018

NEW YORK

(Please check against delivery)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Madame President,

Let me begin by congratulating the Netherlands on assuming the Presidency of the Council, and thanking you for convening today’s debate on Afghanistan, which coincides with International Women’s Day. Today, we pay tribute to important contributions of women in promoting stable and prosperous societies. This day is an occasion to focus on what more needs to be done to empower women against many challenges that they face, particularly in conflict and post-conflict societies.

I am pleased that Her Excellency Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister of Australia, will be joining our meeting later, and my good colleague Dr. Habiba Sarabi, Deputy Chairperson of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan is among us today. I thank SRSG Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto for his briefing.

Madame President,

Today’s meeting provides another occasion to assess the overall situation in Afghanistan.

I am pleased to report that in the course of the past three months, the imperatives of Afghanistan’s security, stability and development received added international attention, with particular focus on addressing the root causes of the conflict and strengthening our defensive and security capabilities in parallel with efforts to devise a more practical peace plan. Our security forces, with better support from international partners, have increased pressure on terrorist groups across the country. Nevertheless, regional sponsors of terrorism, having faced international pressure and setbacks in the countryside, remain belligerent, as reflected by their efforts to engineer violent attacks in urban centers with high numbers of civilian casualties. Despite this, governance reform and economic development have continued unabated. A national dialogue among various political forces has been underway on issues that are crucial to our unity and political stability, the success of our peace efforts, and preparations for holding timely and transparent parliamentary elections this year.

Madame President,

Afghanistan has always emphasized that our partnership with the international community has been a strategic asset for advancing shared goals of defeating terrorism and achieving stability.  In this light, the UN Security Council’s January 13-15 visit to Kabul and its high-level meeting on January 19 on the security and development of Afghanistan and Central Asia, were clear signs of international support at the highest level. We are grateful to all members of the Council for their collective commitment and improved consensus on a more focused engagement on key issues related to Afghanistan’s security, stability and development. We wish to offer a special debt of gratitude to my esteemed friend and colleague Ambassador Kairat Umarov for his personal efforts in this regard as President of the Council in January.

During the Kabul visit, this Council discussed a range of security, political, economic and social issues with Afghanistan’s leadership in government, parliament, judiciary, High Peace Council, political parties and civil society. One common request pertained to effective Council action to address the sponsorship of terrorist outfits and the problem of their regional safe-havens, as a priority need for security and stability in Afghanistan, which was also reflected in the recent report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Afghanistan.

Of late, we have seen new measures at the international level to shift the calculus and promote genuine and productive counter-terrorism cooperation. In this regard, recent decisions including the reduction of financial aid to the concerned State, and inclusion in the watch list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) represent a renewed attempt to encourage genuine action on the crucially important goal of defeating terrorism effectively. We hope that this trend continues and the response to these measures is positive, in the interest of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region. 

Madame President,

Days after the Security Council’s visit and almost immediately after the January 19 high-level meeting of the Council, regional sponsors of terrorism, through their trained violent proxies unleashed a new wave of terrorist attacks. The sheer level of savagery in these despicable and heinous attacks was startling. Armed gunmen from the Taliban’s Haqqani network attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing 18, including 14 foreign nationals, and wounding many more. The subsequent week witnessed two more barbaric attacks; one in Jalalabad’s compound of the international NGO “Save the Children,” where 27 people died; second, an explosive-laden ambulance detonated next to a major civilian hospital in the heart of Kabul. The blast destroyed vehicles, shops, and buildings nearby, killing at least 105 civilians, and injuring 235. The use of an ambulance for such a ghastly attack is a war crime under international law, including international humanitarian law. This Council condemned the attacks and cited the need to hold the perpetrators, organizers and financiers of the attacks to account. Yet, despite all the evidence linking these attacks to regional sponsors, once again, the question is when will that happen?

Madame President,

Last week, Afghanistan convened the 2nd meeting of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation. This marked a major development in the context of peace efforts aimed at ending the conflict and achieving a credible and just peace that conforms to the aspirations of all Afghans. In recognition of our people’s demand for ending violence, President Ghani reached out to the Taliban in an unprecedented manner, calling for direct talks without preconditions.  Should our call receive a positive response, they will be granted the chance to become normal citizens, allowed to compete peacefully in politics through democratic procedures, be relieved from UNSC sanctions measures, besides enjoying the benefits of other positive measures. In turn, they have to give up on their long-standing path of violence. Moreover, our peace process aims to “protect and expand” not diminish, the rights of our people, especially women. The time is now for the Taliban to respond affirmatively and seize the historic opportunity before them.

We are inspired by the international community’s level of support to our new peace plan. The conference renewed the call for tangible measures in combating terrorism, in accordance with obligations stipulated in the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, and various Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions. We hope that States who failed in this endeavor will adopt a new approach, based on expressed commitments, for the benefit of regional security.  

Madame President,

For too long the debate on state-sponsored terrorism has been kept away from international forums, including the United Nations. Beyond the intelligence networks, the rest of the world knows little about the behavior of this aspect of terrorism at national, regional and international levels. 

The regional state sponsors of terror outfits exported to our country have recently pursued new methods of denial and belligerence by playing reverse psychology and attempting to distort narratives.

Irrefutable evidence of complicity in facilitating safe havens and logistical support to terrorists has been responded to by failed methods of counter-narration – accusing Afghanistan of “providing safe havens to terrorists.” Exploiting the democratic political dynamics of Afghanistan, they attempt to sow discord among our people, victimize refugees by unfairly linking them to terrorism, and portray their orchestrated terror attacks as “civil war.” Meanwhile, according to the latest UN report, we have suffered more than 10,000 civilian casualties yearly, over the past four years, mainly caused by terrorist attacks plotted beyond our frontiers.

In desperation they don’t even hold back from such heavily risk-prone attempts as to abuse and manipulate ironclad and all-weather friendships in international relations in favor of concealing the evidence of their sponsorship of terrorism, obfuscating facts and distorting narratives at regional and global forums.

In light of increased terrorist activities around the world, the time has come that we openly debate the regional state sponsorship of terror outfits exported to our country and let the world know more of its behavior.

The Kabul Process is not just about outreach to the Taliban. It is about ending the conflict, achieving peace and preserving the democratic order for which numerous Afghans and allies have sacrificed their lives. Moreover, the Taliban should not be permitted to misuse the opportunity presented as they have done so in the past.

Madame President,

As we grapple with security challenges, we are working to achieve important objectives, stipulated in the agreement that founded the National Unity Government, witnessed and welcomed by the international community. This is essential for our national unity and political stability as along with the success of our new peace plan. The effort is carried out within the parameters of a broad-based dialogue, with a view to advance the national interest of Afghanistan, in conformity with the spirit of our constitution. Our overall objective is to advance national unity, strengthen social cohesion, and inclusivity to achieve a just and peaceful society, fully grounded in the rule of law where our youth can fulfill their national aspirations. We are confident that our efforts will soon yield positive outcomes. 

Madame President,

On today’s special occasion, I reaffirm the National Unity Government’s commitment to empower women’s role in all facets of our society and polity. Dr. Sarabi’s presentation offered a clear perspective on progress made against the benchmarks of our national strategy and resolution 1325 and the challenges ahead of us. We now have female ministers, deputy ministers, MPs, peace makers, civil society activists, and ambassadors serving as proactive public agents for the development of Afghanistan. Two weeks ago, in a historic occasion, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, represented Afghanistan at the inaugural session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. This symbolized Afghanistan’s overall commitment to universal human rights principles. Despite the progress, we know that our achievements for promotion and protection of human rights need consolidation, as manifested in the UNAMA report on civilian casualties that I mentioned earlier.

Madame President,

Against all odds, Afghanistan has progressed steadily on the path of economic cooperation, increased regional connectivity, and shared prosperity. We have expanded on multidimensional relations with our Central Asian neighbors, resulting in numerous agreements in the areas of trade, connectivity and economic cooperation. The inauguration of Afghanistan’s segment of the TAPI project in Herat by President Ghani and leaders and senior officials of Pakistan, Turkmenistan and India, after over a decade of preparatory work has generated new incentives for cooperation and opportunities for mutual trust and confidence.  Additionally, other regional projects aim to boost productivity and economic cooperation for common gains. We are looking forward to the forthcoming Tashkent conference on Afghanistan.

We wish to expand relations with all partners, including the UN. We are grateful for the crucial assistance role of UNAMA, which have been a catalyst in bringing change to the lives of our people. We welcome the adoption of the UNAMA mandate renewal, and underscore once again, the imperative of ONE-UN approach for optimum efficiency and coherence. Let me re-convey our appreciation for the dedicated efforts and leadership of SRSG Ambassador Yamamoto, a dear friend.

Combating the illicit network of narcotics, money laundering, and terrorism finance remain a key priority for us. Based on our National Drug Action Plan, we have continued eradication operations, and opiate seizures have reached highest levels since 2012. We will continue to expand cooperation with our allies to strengthen relevant law-enforcement agencies, greater intelligence sharing, and drawing effective mechanisms to curtail drug trafficking.

Additionally, refugee repatriation from neighboring countries remains operational. We are working in close collaboration with the UNHCR to provide assistance and much needed services to this vulnerable group. We call for continued international support for the joint  Humanitarian Response Plan 2018 – 2021, which requires  $437 million for 2018 to assist 2.8 million people in need. However, security and durable peace are fundamental solutions to tackle this humanitarian challenge, which require comprehensive national, regional, and global commitment and action.

Madame President,

Two weeks from now, 21st of March will mark the onset of Nowruz, the Afghan New Year. We are starting this new spring season with hope, determination and confidence. As international pressure on addressing the root causes of violence in our country intensifies, our defense and security forces stand capable as before to protect and defend Afghanistan against international terrorism. That said we have taken a historic step for the restoration of a durable peace in our country. In this light, we look to international partners, this Council included, to remain beside us in this endeavor.

 

 

 

 

Operational Activities for Development Segment of the Economic and Social Council

STATEMENT BY Mr. Nazifullah Salarzai

Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

 to the United Nations

at the General Debate of the Operational Activities for Development Segment of the Economic and Social Council

(Check against delivery)

1 March 2018

NEW YORK

Mr. Vice President,

At the outset, I would like to commend your efforts in organizing this important segment of the Economic and Social Council. My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Paraguay on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. I would now like to deliver few remarks in my national capacity.

I would like to highlight 3 key points:

  1. We should focus our efforts on bringing the humanitarian, development, and peace dimensions of our work closer together through this reform of the UN development system. This is the only way we can achieve a whole-of-system approach, critically needed in countries implementing the 2030 Agenda while faced by humanitarian crises and/or conflict. In this regard, we support the proposal outlined in paragraph 111 of the Secretary General’s report, to use the Operational Activities Segment to enhance guidance on the development system’s coordination with humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding efforts. We also support the proposals for Resident Coordinators being better prepared to work across the development-humanitarian-peacebuilding nexus, as well as the idea of incentivizing interagency mobility across UN pillars in order to strengthen the pipeline for Resident Coordinators of the future. Furthermore, we believe it is important to consolidate ECOSOC’s role as an intergovernmental space to reinforce the UN’s transition towards a culture of prevention and focus on results. On a similar note, we support the Secretary General’s decision to establish a Joint Steering Committee to advance Humanitarian and Development Collaboration.

 

  1. In creating a new generation of UN Country Teams and reinvigorating the Resident Coordinator system, we should keep in mind that our main goal is increasing quality, efficiency, and coordination of UN operations in host countries. Eliminating duplications of efforts and fragmentation of work, shaping UN country presence according to host Governments needs and priorities, reducing transaction costs at all levels and respecting national sovereignty and ownership of the development process are key elements in this regard. As a country hosting a significant volume of UN operations and a Special Political Mission, Afghanistan looks forward to a strengthened UN development system, able to step up its support for Government’s efforts through increased efficiency, transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we are hopeful that dual reporting lines, taken together with strengthened accountability, will result in greater impact on the ground and the achievement of collective results under the UNDAF.

 

  1. We believe that a revamped regional approach should be one of the main outcomes of the reform of the UN development system. Receiving tailored support in the field of regional connectivity and regional economic cooperation is vital for countries in special situations, in particular LDCs and LLDCs. It is important that the UN system steps up its capabilities in aligning its activities at the regional level with countries’ priorities and needs, as well as that Regional Economic Commissions achieve more coordination with other regional platforms, with a view to build synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and reduce duplications and overlaps.

 

Mr. Vice President,

In conclusion, let me reassure you of my delegation’s commitment and continued constructive engagement in moving forward with the consideration of the Secretary General’s proposals for the reform of the UN development system.

I thank you.

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