Saturday, November 18, 2017

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

STATEMENT BY H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

September 25, 2017

NEW YORK

(check against delivery)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking Ethiopia for convening today’s debate on the Situation in Afghanistan. I am also delighted that Ambassador Tadamichi Yamamoto is here with us today.  Ambassador Yamamoto:  thank you for your presentation – but more specifically – for your dedicated efforts as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan. 

I am pleased to address the Security Council – my first time as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. This is a fitting opportunity to convey our appreciation for the Security Council’s support and attention to the situation in my country, since the start of our endeavor towards a new Afghanistan in 2001. The people of Afghanistan look to this Council with high expectation, as the guardian of international peace and security. Amidst all challenges, Afghans are hopeful that the international community, the UN, and this noble Council, in particular, will respond appropriately to help them achieve what has long eluded them:  their right to live normal and dignified lives, in peace and security.

Mr. President,

The time has come for the international community to take a fresh look at its engagement in Afghanistan. As President Ghani stated in his address to the UN General Assembly last week, and I quote “for too long the conflict in Afghanistan has been viewed through the prism of civil war. But this war is not within our soil, it is over our soil”. The scourge of terrorism and violent extremism affecting Afghanistan is the product of a long-standing policy by a neighboring State to keep Afghanistan unstable. It has menaced Afghanistan for several decades now, with its roots located in terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens outside of my country.  

A bigger picture of the security situation reveals that our security forces are engaged in a comprehensive fight against elements of more than 20 internationally recognized terrorist groups. Thanks to the dedicated support of our international partners, our security forces are leading this fight more efficiently and with great valor and courage. The Taliban suffer major setbacks in manpower and morale and fail to hold ground over any territory. This is why their “modus-operandi” draws mainly on suicide bombings and other unconventional criminal attacks on our people, infrastructure, public figures, mosques and international humanitarian personnel. Such barbarity constitutes crimes against humanity – the latest being the massacre committed jointly by the Taliban and Daesh in Mirza Ulang village in Sar-e-Pul province and the attacks on mosques in Kabul and Herat.

I wish to also highlight that the exaggerated claims of Taliban control over some percentage of territory is being used as part of psychological warfare. Our security forces have the upper hand against terrorist and extremist groups throughout the country. This trend will continue in a positive trajectory with sustained assistance from international partners to further strengthen the capabilities of our national security forces and improve service delivery for our people.

Mr. President,     

We, in Afghanistan, have long called for an international focus that would address the fundamental sources of insecurity in our country. We are pleased that, as of late, there is a growing recognition of this imperative in the international community. This new dynamic presents an unprecedented opportunity, which must be seized.

In this regard, I can say with confidence that the new Strategy of the United States for South Asia has generated new hope among our people across the country. Afghans from all walks of life are looking to the future with renewed optimism that finally the threats of terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan and the wider region will be tackled appropriately. In this connection, we welcome the fact that the new Strategy recognizes the critical need to address the lingering problem of terrorist safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region; and for more determined efforts to end political, logistical and financial support enjoyed by terrorist groups. Furthermore, the Strategy’s conditions-based approach has addressed some uncertainties by reinforcing the right message that the international community’s engagement will endure until Afghanistan becomes stable and secure.

We urge all partners in the region and beyond to recognize what is at stake. We now have a chance to fundamentally change the status-quo for our common benefit. The support of the region, in this regard, will be of paramount importance. Collectively, we should seize this opportunity to strengthen consensus and partnership, in a spirit of cooperation to buttress Afghanistan’s rightful status as an asset and platform of cordiality for all.

Mr. President,

Despite being on the receiving-end of provocative actions, including continuous violations across the Durand Line, Afghanistan has maintained a principled position in seeking to resolve differences through dialogue, diplomacy, and peaceful means. This is particularly true in the case of our relations with Pakistan, which – unfortunately – has so far failed to respond positively at its own cost, particularly in relation to its global reputation and standing.

Recently, we presented Pakistan with yet another opportunity to engage in comprehensive State-to-State discourse on peace, security and prosperity. We hope – this time around – we will see a constructive engagement instead of plausible deniability and attempts to change narrative. An opportunity, even if embraced late, is nevertheless better than one lost. There are various existing initiatives in which productive talks could take place.

By the same token, we will spare no effort – whatsoever – in the defense of our country, our people; territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

Mr. President,

Ending violence means ensuring the security and well-being of our citizens. The Government of Afghanistan has gone to great lengths to secure a sustained and durable peace for our people. The prospect of peace with the Taliban is dependent on genuine and constructive regional engagement in support of an Afghan-led process. In this regard, we believe a paradigm shift could profoundly impact peace efforts with the Taliban in a positive way. A successful outcome, modeled on the agreement being implemented with another armed opposition group can be possible.  We believe the international community should take necessary measures to achieve this aim.

Mr. President,

Democratic institutions, values, and principles provide the foundation for all progress made over the past 17 years in Afghanistan. We believe a democratic society where people are able to express their ideas, grievances and aspirations is not just a privilege, but also an imperative for social stability. The consolidation of democracy and institution-building will remain a priority in the Government of National Unity. Our people are already anticipating the up-coming parliamentary and district council elections next year. The transparency, inclusivity, and credibility of the polls will be crucial for our overall political stability.

In the area of reform, we are standing by our commitment to ensure more accountable and effective institutions. A number of senior-level officials have been prosecuted and held to account for violating the rule of law. These cases have reaffirmed our promise to root out corruption, in all its forms, and enhance public confidence in our reform commitments. This effort will continue with priority, and we look forward to highlighting recent achievements in this area at the up-coming Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul to review reform commitments made in Brussels.

Mr. President,

We consider the Strategic Review of UNAMA’s activities to be an essential initiative for ensuring an adjusted UN role that is more responsive to the current day needs of the Afghan people, and better aligned with our national priority programs. We are pleased that the imperative of a One-UN model, concerning the delivery of development assistance has been recognized. We hope to have, by the end of this year, an outcome that will enable the UN to deliver on its task more efficiently. 

Mr. President,

Our stabilization endeavor is based on a simultaneous effort for progress in the security, social and development spheres. Despite our challenges, we are making steady progress to protect and uphold the rights of all of our citizens, especially women, girls and children.

Our resolve in this important area is reflected in our candidacy to the Human Rights Council.

For us, a commitment to human rights means enabling people to live in peace and security and to achieve success and meet their aspirations. Above all, it means enabling people to live in honor and dignity.

These are ideals to which we are firmly committed. Our membership in the Human Rights Council will have many benefits: it will enable us to consolidate human rights gains at home. It will also enable us to be a voice for victims of terrorism and the dozens of countries that are in conflict and post-conflict situations. We kindly urge all UN member States to support our candidacy.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, let me convey the deep appreciation of Afghanistan to the Security Council and the international community for all that you have done, and continue to do in support of Afghanistan’s security and stability.

We stand at the crossroad of our shared endeavor. At this juncture, as we approach the New Year 2018, it is imperative that all of us seize the opportunity in front of us, brought about by the new spirit of the international community’s engagement in our country.

Thank You Mr. President.

Statement by H.E. Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani At the High-Level Meeting on Migration and Refugees

 

19 September 2016.

At the outset, I wish to convey our gratitude to the President of the General Assembly for convening today’s High-Level Meeting on Addressing the Large Movement of Refugees and Migrants. We have gathered here today against the backdrop of the unprecedented flow of migrants and refugees, across the world.  The time has, therefore, come to put into motion, a concerted international response to address this growing phenomenon holistically, and in all its aspects.

 

Mr. President,

Based on our own experience, Afghanistan is well aware of the complex challenge associated with the issue of global refugees.  The legacy of more than two-decades of armed conflict and violence brought about a situation, whereby millions of Afghan women and children were forced to leave their homes and seek refugee abroad. More than 95% of our refugees live in neighboring countries, Iran and Pakistan, and we are grateful for their generosity in hosting our people.

 

Since beginning a new chapter in Afghanistan in 2001, millions of Afghans returned to their homeland, marking the largest repatriation movement in modern history.  For several years now, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and other humanitarian organizations have had the central role in international efforts to support and assist Afghan refugees during some of the most difficult moments of our nation’s life. We are grateful for their support and commitment to address the plight of our refugees and IDP’s.

 

Needless to say, millions of our citizens remain refugees, and continue to face difficult social, economic and humanitarian conditions.  In this regard, I would like to underscore the importance of ensuring that all refugees, whether Afghan or of any other nationality – are granted respect and equal treatment by host countries, in accordance with international humanitarian law, and human rights law.

 

As for the case of Afghan refugees they are known to be high achievers in whichever society they have become part of.  They have integrated with host communities and strived to achieve success, thereby rendering an important contribution in various spheres of society.  We call on all host countries to accommodate their protection and well being.

 

Mr. President,

Since its formation two years ago, the National Unity Government has pursued a national and regional effort together with our relevant international partners for a viable and long-term solution to the plight of Afghan refugees, with special emphasis on voluntary return, and sustainable reintegration.
To that end, the Quadripartite Commission, comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees, adopted in Geneva in 2012, remain the overarching framework, within which the National Unity Government is striving to achieve the voluntary, gradual and dignified return of our refugees, and their sustainable reintegration.

 

As a matter of equal importance, we are also adamantly focused on addressing the problems faced by our internally displaced persons (IDP’s), which over the past two years, has increased in number, mainly resulting from insecurity in some parts of the country, caused by violence and terror, committed by the Taliban and affiliate groups.  Here, I would like to reiterate our appeal to the international community to render a long-term supporting role to effectively address the plight of our refugees and IDP’s.
We in the National Unity Government are cognizant that Afghanistan’s social and economic development provides the ultimate guarantee for resolving the challenges facing refugees and IDP’s, in a holistic manner. We are working to improve conditions for our peoples in town, villages and districts across Afghanistan.  To this end, we look to the up-coming Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in two weeks time, where we hope the international community will make new pledges of assistance to help us implement our National Peace and Development Framework, which aims at enabling us to achieve self-reliance during the Transformation Decade.

 

Mr. President,

We are pleased that today’s high-level meeting offers due focus and attention to addressing the root causes of migration, at the global level.  In most cases, those who resettle do so not as a matter of choice but of circumstances. Poverty, conflict and a lack of economic opportunities are some of the main factors, leading to resettlement.  In this regard, the central role of the UN will remain of strategic importance in providing support across a wide-spectrum, including development assistance; conflict-prevention; systems development, as well as in peace-building and national reconciliation.

 

The adoption of the SDG’s, last September here in New York was a milestone, charting a new development framework over the next fifteen years. The implementation of the SDG’s will go a long way in helping to ensure peace, security and a stable economic environment in countries of origin, offering an incentive to people and families to avoid resettlement.
Mr. President,

After settling in their country of destination, migrants and refugees are presented with both opportunities and challenges.  Many are able to broaden their horizon, and benefit from a new experience and environment where they could live free from violence, conflict and often times, persecution and improve their plight, and that of their families.  Having said that, far too often, their new experience is not void of difficulties.

 

In this context, Afghanistan conveys its concern over the continuing trend where migrants and refugees are subject to acts of xenophobia, discrimination and other stereotypes, based on religious and cultural differences in some parts of the world.  A renewed effort is necessary to push back against this dangerous narrative, which constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law, including human rights law. We welcome the Secretary General’s proposal to launch a “global campaign to counter various forms of discrimination against migrants and refugees. “

 

We must bear in mind, that among those who resettle, there are those who bring with them unique skills and creative ideas that serve as positive factors, for the development of stable and healthy societies.  We must perceive diversity as a source of strength and optimism, rather than seeing it from a negative perspective.  After all, humanity is one; irrespective of our cultural, religious and geographical differences.  We all aspire towards the same goals:  the chance to live in peace, to prosper, and above all, to ensure a better and brighter life for our children and future generations.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s Summit is a fitting opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our shared commitment to protect, and promote the rights of all Refugees and Migrants, and to do so in adherence to the UN Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Afghanistan welcomes the adoption of the Conference Declaration and its two annexes: the “Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, and “Towards a Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration.” Let us leverage the full range of resources at our disposal, and expand our collaboration to address all aspects related to the increased flow of migrants and refugees, across the globe.

 

Before concluding, I want to convey our gratitude to their Excellencies David Donoghue, and Ms. Dina Kawar, Permanent Representatives of the Republic of Ireland and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for so ably leading the inter-governmental negotiations on our Conference Declaration!

 

 

Thank You!

 

Statement by H.E. Zarar Ahmad Osmani Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Sixty-Ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Saturday, 27 September 2014

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to express my sincere congratulations on your well-deserved election as president of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

We are confident that your wisdom and experience well ensure a constructive and fruitful deliberation on the very important and vital issues before this august Assembly. I would like to assure you of the full cooperation of my delegation towards this end.

I may also express my deep appreciation to your predecessor and my gratitude to the secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, for his competent and excellent leadership of the organization.

Mr. President,

I am delighted to report to this assembly that Afghanistan has achieved a significant milestone with the successful conclusion of the presidential election including the important task of recounting the votes. The new president, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzi, will be sworn in on 29 September. Afghanistan is witnessing transfer of power from one elected administration to the next. While Afghanistan faces marked challenges, we are confident that the new government, which enjoys the full backing of a vast majority of Afghans, will strive to bring about political, security and socioeconomic prosperity to Afghanistan and by extension to the region and beyond.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was over a decade ago when many countries of the world joined the Afghan people in their struggle for peace and fought against the forces of extremism and terrorism. In this regard, we have collectively achieved tangible results, but unfortunately the menace of terrorism and extremism continue to threaten the security, socio-economic development and peace not only in Afghanistan but also in the region. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive response to the threats from terrorism and extremism at regional and international levels.

Today, Afghanistan has credible political institutions, and elected parliament, a constitution and elected provincial council, supported by the brave Afghan National Security Forces. The people of Afghanistan have witnessed many positive achievements in past decade including in the fields of socioeconomic development, education – especially education for our girls – health, communications and information technology, promotion and protection of humans rights including particularly women’s rights. Afghanistan has one of the most dynamic media scenes in the region, which is propelled by the freedom of expression that the Afghan people enjoyed for over a decade. We should underscore the pioneering spirit of our youth who are behind much of the innovativeness and diversity of thought in academia and private sector.

The Afghan people appreciate and are thankful to the international community for their vital support they have given to built security, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan, we are looking forward to a continued mutual cooperation with the international community to protect our achievements and ensure the sustainability of a strong partnership.

Mr. President,

The transfer of security responsibilities from International forces to the Afghan National Security Forces for the whole of Afghanistan that was launched in the summer of 2011 will be achieved by the end of 2014.

As we speak, Afghan forces are providing security independently across the country despite increasing acts of terrorism inside Afghanistan with support from terrorists from beyond our borders. The growing levels of violent extremism and alarming developments in the Middle East and other parts of the world make international support to NATO mission in Afghanistan even more imperative.

Parallel to our ongoing efforts to enhance the capacity and capabilities of our National Security forces, the Afghan Government is also pursuing a dialogue for achieving peace through political means and reconciliation. We have put in place clear conditions to this process to be accepted by the Afghan people:  for instance we demand renunciations of violence and respect for Afghanistan’s Constitution as it guarantees full and equal rights to Afghan men and women, and is the only tool for preservation of our collective achievements of the past decade.

Afghanistan strongly believes in comprehensive, long term, friendly and good-neighborly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and strengthening of peace and stability between two nations and in the region.

At the same time, we would like to express our serious concern over the rocket attacks by Pakistani forces into Afghanistan’s soil. Continuation of such attacks is unacceptable for Afghanistan. We hope that the government of Pakistan, considering our common interests in ensuring peace and stability, put an end to any kind of acts that can endanger the outlook of good neighborly relations and to protect cooperation and trust between our two nations.

Mr. President,

The Afghan government is keen to reduce the negative economic impact of the security transition and to move towards sustainable economic development in at least three ways:

First, by focusing on the development of agriculture and agribusiness sectors where over 70 percent of our population is directly or indirectly engaged with enormous potential for growth and employment generation

Second, Afghanistan is estimated to hold trillions of dollars of natural resources including minerals and hydrocarbons, representing a guaranteed source of wealth and income for generations to come. We already have several state-owned and private companies from China, India, the UK, Canada, Turkey, the UAE, Azerbaijan and other countries in addition to Afghan companies expressing a keen interest in investing billions of dollars.

Third, Afghanistan is now on the eve of transformation decade (2015-2024), which is a multi-dimensional process in security, political and economic fronts. Therefore, the 2012 Tokyo and Chicago Conferences’ pledges will maintain the Afghan government overall socioeconomic efforts. Afghanistan critically needs continuation of this generous support from its international partners over the next few years.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Based on Afghanistan’s Millennium Development Goals report published in late 2013, progress in achieving most of the MDG’s targets in particular related to the health and universal primary education is commendable.

Despite of starting in 2005, Afghanistan is committed to achieve most of the MDGs by 2020. Meanwhile, national consultation is underway to synchronize efforts towards achieving MDGs off track targets considering the outcome of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

As we embark on the important task of crafting the new development agenda for post-2015 at this session, I am happy to inform you that it also coincides with Afghanistan’s transformation decade 2015-2025.  Both are top priorities for Afghanistan’s national development agenda.

We appreciate the work of the United Nations in recognizing the need to reduce the number of the Sustainable Development Goals to an affordable, achievable and realistic number in the post-2015 development agenda. We are of the view that this agenda should leave no one behind, it should be adaptable to both global and local settings and it should have sustainable development and poverty eradication at its center.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our region is blessed with vast resources and opportunities for economic cooperation. An expanded level of regional cooperation can serve both economic and security purposes. The Afghan Government’s regional economic cooperation strategic goal is to establish Regional Economic growth and resource corridors that connect – the Silk Roads through Afghanistan – the people of South and Central Asia, the Middle East and their key economic activities, including agriculture, light manufacturing, and mineral extraction, with essential trade, transit, and energy enablers.

Regional cooperation is one of our priorities. The Heart of Asia- Istanbul process is a significant step towards enhancing stability and regional cooperation between Afghanistan and 12 participating countries, with the support of 12 other country partners and 9 international organizations.

Mr. President,

This year’s General Assembly takes place at a time when the UN has seen a number of conflicts continue, while new ones have taken shape.

My government fully supports the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. We strongly condemn illegal actions and violations by the occupying power against the Palestinians as a whole, especially the ongoing disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on the innocent Palestinian civilians.

We express our grief for the killing of innocent civilians in Syria and support a political resolution, reached through a broad based national dialogue that meets the aspiration of all the Syrians.

With the worsening security situation in IRAQ and Libya, we strongly condemn the actions of the ISIS and its brutality and call for joint efforts to defeat this evil. In this context, I call upon the United Nations to take appropriated actions within its mandate to uphold international peace and security.

My delegation believes that there is urgent need for the international community to pay attention to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, while taking into account the situation of civilians.

Mr. President,

In the end, let me assure you that Afghanistan remains committed to its national and international responsibilities and obligations. We reaffirm our strong will for further strengthening of democracy, good governance including, further strengthening rule of law, accountability and transparency, promotion and protection of human rights, particularly woman rights; justice reforms, and the fight against terrorism, narcotic drugs, corruption and eradication of poverty.

Thank you.

H.E. Zarar Ahmad Osmani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.

H.E. Zarar Ahmad Osmani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan