Friday, December 9, 2016

Presentation Points at the High-Level Segment on the United Nations and the SCO: “Jointly Countering Challenges and Threats.”

Thank you madam moderator,

Secretary-General of SCO H.E. Rashid Alimov,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen

SCO_saikal

H.E. Mahmoud Saikal’s Presentation Points at the High-Level Segment on the  United Nations and the SCO: “Jointly Countering Challenges and Threats.”

We thank the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan and the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for organizing today’s High-level Segment. It is a timely initiative, signifying the United Nations’ increased cooperation with the SCO. Let me extend my congratulations on the 15th anniversary of SCO establishment.
Over recent years, the role of the SCO has gained prominence in fighting terrorism and extremism; the production and trafficking of narcotic drugs and other forms of criminality and organized crime.  We value its contribution to the international community’s ongoing effort to combat some of the dominant challenges of our time.
Afghanistan became an observer member of the SCO in 2012, and we subsequently presented our request for full member status in 2015.  We look forward to attaining full-member status in the SCO in the very near future, as a means to deepen Afghanistan-SCO cooperation in various fields.
Afghanistan is a country that has been a primary victim of the very threats and challenges that led to the formation of the SCO fifteen years ago.  Our people have stood in the forefront of the fight against terror and extremism long before the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan. Over the past several years, a number of international and regional initiatives have taken shape in support of our stabilization efforts.
Thanks to support of various regional and international partners, we have witnessed substantial progress in the security, political and economic domains.  The National Unity Government of Afghanistan is making every effort to consolidate these gains and to enable our people to secure a peaceful, stable and Self-Reliant future. In that effort, we are keen on expanding and broadening cooperation with the SCO and other regional forums in various spheres, including in the area of security cooperation. We already have a MOU on counter-terrorism with SCO and we are active with SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.
We know that peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region will not be realized in the absence of an effective regional strategy to address joint threats and challenges.  Such an approach must entail and “serious and result-oriented effort” conducted in “good-faith” by relevant countries to address common threats in a holistic manner, with due focus and attention to the root sources of the problems. 
Terrorism and narcotic drugs are dangerous threats that are inextricably linked to one another. Extremists groups such as the Taliban; Haqqani network, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and other similar groups, exported to Afghanistan from outside in an orchestrated manner, are using the proceeds of the drug industry to finance their deadly attacks against our people. That said, the provinces with highest levels of violence and insecurity are those in which drug production also remains high. 
We believe that a viable solution to the drug problem can only be reached, on the basis of principle of “common and shared responsibility,” with equal focus on production, trafficking and consumption. We will continue to work closely with the SCO, UNODC and other stakeholders to come up with more effective strategies to overcome the problem of narcotic drugs.
We also believe that achieving Goal 16 of the SDGs and a successful fight against the perils of terrorism, militancy and violent extremism requires a refined approach that will take into account the main sources of these problems.  They cannot simply be wished away.  Ensuring their defeat in our region and beyond warrants necessary focus on ending the financial, moral and material support enjoyed by terrorists. Moreover, safe-havens and sanctuaries in the region where terrorists are sheltered, aided and abetted must also be addressed. It is time to ask what motivates elements within certain state structures in our region to use violence and proxies in pursuit of political objectives.
Outside the security domain, Afghanistan is also keen on seeing a significant increase in trade, investment and economic opportunities among SCO members and observer countries. Over the past two years, we have made notable progress in regaining our historic role as a hub for integration, economic activity and connectivity in our wider region, linking South and Central Asia and the Far East and the Middle East.
 Looking ahead, we believe there can only be merit in expanding the scope of cooperation among SCO member and observer countries. Afghanistan will remain focused on advancing regional cooperation, bilaterally and within framework of various regional forums, such as the SCO, knowing that economic cooperation constitutes a main driver of security and stability in our part of the world.
To conclude, I would like to convey our appreciation for the SCO’s continued commitment and support for Afghanistan’s security and stability. Looking ahead, we will continue to work towards deepening our collaboration in related fields for the benefit of a more secure and stable region.  In the same light, we also welcome the SCO’s increased interaction and engagement with various international organizations, such as the United Nations!
 

Thank You!

 

 

Remarks of H.E. Mahmoud Saikal on the Occasion of the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Membership to the United Nations

Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,

Distinguished Ambassadors,

Members of the Diplomatic Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be here this evening on this truly special occasion.  I am particularly pleased to welcome you all here tonight.  Looking around, I see many friends of Afghanistan, including senior UN officials, and representatives of many partner countries, organizations and agencies that have provided a vital contribution to Afghanistan’s stability and security over the years.

We have gathered here to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Afghanistan’s membership at the United Nations. The fact that we were among the initial members of the UN is a great source of pride for us, embedded in our nation’s proud history. Since joining the organization, we have stood firmly committed to advancing the core values and principles of the UN Charter: respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States; solidarity; co-existence; and the advancement of an international system, based on peace, justice, multilateralism and cooperation between States.

Remarks of H.E. Mahmoud Saikal on the Occasion of the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Membership to the United Nations

Remarks of H.E. Mahmoud Saikal on the Occasion of the 70th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Membership to the United Nations

Tonight’s event is also a celebration of Afghanistan’s partnership with the UN.  From a historical context, the UN has stood in solidarity and support beside the people of Afghanistan, even in the most difficult stages of our modern history.

With the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the UN has played a crucial role in helping us open a new chapter in our country’s history, starting with the convening of the international Bonn Conference, which set the stage for the re-engagement of the international community in Afghanistan. Over these past fifteen years, the partnership between Afghanistan and the UN has evolved and peaked to new heights. Moreover, the organization has been a rallying point, bringing together countries from near and far in support of Afghanistan. As the National Unity Government seeks to build on the gains of the past and improve security, economic and social conditions for our people, we are grateful for the UN’s assistance and look forward to its continued support in our ongoing quest for stability and prosperity. 

On this occasion, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and his dedicated team for their commitment and support for our stabilization efforts during the past ten years.  We are honored by his presence here moments ago and thank him for taking the time to attend, despite his busy schedule. We also thank Secretary General-elect Mr. Antonio Guterres, who sent us his congratulatory message on this occasion as he was unable to attend due to travel outside New York. We look forward to working closely with the new Secretary General over the coming years. 

In the context of Afghanistan’s role here at the UN, we have made a concerted effort to elevate our constructive and proactive engagement on the many issues on the agenda of the United Nations.  We have done so knowing that achieving a more peaceful world order in which security, justice and human rights prevails for all of humanity demands responsibility from all Member States.

It is on that very basis that Afghanistan presented its candidacy to the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the period 2018-2020. In that respect, I take this opportunity to solicit the support of all our friends and partners, and the broader international community for our candidacy.

Our Ambassador to Geneva, Mrs. Soraya Dalil, who previously served as a successful Minister of Public Health, is here with us tonight and she will highlight some of Afghanistan’s key achievements and policy objectives in the area of human rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For all of Afghanistan’s achievements over the past fifteen years, terrorism currently remains the dominant challenge facing our people and future stability. Early this morning, terrorists attacked a mosque in Kabul, killing over thirty civilians, including women and children, while leaving many more wounded. It was a latest attempt by the enemies of peace in Afghanistan to stoke sectarian division. That said, I can state with full confidence that such barbaric acts will never undermine our people’s unity.

Afghanistan has been in the forefront of the global fight against international terrorism. We stand as committed as ever to play our role in defeating this menace, in a holistic and effective manner. We applaud the UN’s central role in facilitating global counter-terrorism efforts, as manifested by the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. 

That said, we believe there is ample room for increased measures on the part of member-states to implement the Strategy. To that end, we are of the conviction that renewed efforts at the “debate, operational and implementation levels” will have much merit.  In that effort, we should seek to address situations whereby terrorism and violence are used by elements within state structures to advance political objectives. Moreover, the existing counter-terrorism architecture could be strengthened by refining or adopting new resolutions focused on the drivers of such policies.  And finally, we believe it is imperative that renewed focus is given to enforce relevant Security Council sanctions-regime resolutions. I take this opportunity to reaffirm Afghanistan’s long-standing commitment to advancing the global fight against terrorism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will conclude my remarks by reaffirming our solemn commitment to the goals and principles of the UN Charter. The UN has come a long way during the past 70 years in working to promote global peace, security and prosperity. I can assure you all that achieving the vision set out in the UN Charter will remain a corner stone of Afghanistan’s foreign policy. 

 Thank You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell Remarks of H.E. Mahmoud Saikal for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Your Excellency Mr Secretary General,

It is an honor to have you with us here tonight, and your presence among us signifies your personal commitment to Afghanistan, which has been clearly demonstrated in your ten years at the helm of the United Nations. 

During your tenure, you have led the UN in the most able manner, helping strengthen the organization’s role to better address the many challenges confronting humanity as a whole. History will judge you as someone who demonstrated fortitude, resolve, solidarity and determination to achieve a better and more prosperous world for the current and future generations.

In the context of the UN’s support for Afghanistan, you always spoke up and acted in support of our people during difficult moments. In that conext, you always made yourself accessible to us. And above all, you served as a symbol of the international community’s support for the people of Afghanistan. 

We are grateful for all that you have done, for Afghanistan and the world at large, and we wish you every success in your future endeavors.

Thank you again Mr. Secretary General.

On behalf of myself, the government and the people of Afghanistan, it gives me great pleasure to present you and Mrs Ban these small gifts as a token of our appreciation.