Sunday, April 22, 2018

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin At the Security Council debate on The Situation in Afghanistan

STATEMENT BY H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Security Council debate

on The Situation in Afghanistan

Mr. President,

At the outset allow me to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of July. I would like to extend my warmest welcome to my good friend, SRSG Staffan De Mistura, back to the Council. I thank him for his kind remarks, for his comprehensive briefing, and for his introduction of the Secretary General’s report.

As the world has entered into a post-Bin Laden era, Afghanistan, the greatest victim of terrorism, is today at a critical juncture in its quest for peace and stability. Consistent with the outcome of the Lisbon Conference, we have begun the Transition process. In the coming days we will implement the first stage of this process in seven Afghan provinces: Kabul, Panjshir, Bamyian, and the municipalities of Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province, Mehtar Lamn in Laghman province, and Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

Security Council Meeting: The situation in Afghanistan Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2011/381)

Transition is a rousing call for Afghans to take the lead, for national ownership and leadership and for the government of Afghanistan to assume its sovereign responsibilities. From our point of view, transition is a carefully-formulated, comprehensive strategy which presupposes not only a gradual transfer of security responsibilities until the end of 2014 to Afghan authorities, but also a conscientious drawdown of international forces, the accelerated training of the Afghan army and police, the strengthening of governance, a new regional agenda for a multifaceted cooperation, and the prospect of securing a renewed strategic partnership with the US and NATO.

The Afghan Government continues its crucial efforts to ensure that the process is smooth and viable.  However, there should be no doubt, for the transition process to sustain and succeed, certain pre-conditions must be met. First and foremost, we look to our international partners to expedite the training and equipping of our security forces, and to provide them with necessary enablers.

Mr. President,

Last month, President Obama announced the gradual drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan. We welcome the decision, and consider it to be in accordance with the recent emerging consensus between Afghanistan and the international community to move from a primarily military engagement to a more solid and enduring partnership beyond 2014. President Obama’s announcement is testament to, firstly, the steady ability of Afghan security forces, and secondly, the changed momentum of the war, despite the recent vicious attacks by the Taliban.

Contrary to some interpretations, we do not see the drawdown of international forces as an “endgame,” or as some put it, the beginning of international disengagement in Afghanistan. In the last ten years, much blood and sweat have been shed and many sacrifices made, in order to realize our common objective – lasting peace and security in the country and region.

Mr. President,

The recent display of a “promo-psychodrama” of so-called sophisticated attacks, such as the one carried out last week in Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel or the slaughter of a dozen civilians in a hospital in Logar province, is a conspicuously well-orchestrated attempt by the enemies of Afghanistan, designed to incite fear among people, to hinder the international support for Afghanistan, and to convince a war-weary audience in some countries that the war is unwinnable. Moreover, the recent campaign seeks to sabotage the future of peace talks, and undermine the prospect of reconciliation. Those who provide terrorists and extremists with money, arms and strategic guidance are equally responsible for the continued killing and brutal butchery of innocent civilians in Afghanistan. Therefore, it is imperative to underline the necessity of ending the sanctuaries that continue to produce and prepare the ruthless killers and agents of unending destruction of Afghanistan.

However, Mr. President, acts of terror will not shake our determination for securing peace and stability in Afghanistan. We are pleased to see that an environment conducive for constructive outreach and dialogue with members of the armed opposition is now in place.  The reconciliation process will be pursued as a matter of priority, consistent with the understanding that there is no purely military solution, and that transition requires an inclusive settlement.  Reconciliation is aimed at bringing peace, prosperity, and unity to the country. It is not about ceding any territorial control or accommodating any representation outside of the authority of the Afghan Government. The High Peace Council (HPC) is engaged in discussions with the Taliban, and the key actors in the region to end the violence and achieve a lasting peace.  It is an effort in which all segments of society, including women, are involved.

In addition, we are beginning to equally focus on regional dimensions of the reconciliation process.  We underscore again the significant role of Pakistan for a reconciliation and peace, and emphasize, in this context, the importance of constructive collaboration. Yet, for such collaboration, we need to utilize necessary confidence building measures. The recent armed violations of Afghanistan’s eastern border, through hundreds of shelling and artillery fire in Kunar and Nangahar provinces, killing dozens of people, including women and children, have caused serious alarm and concern for the people and Government of Afghanistan and run the risk of undermining the spirit of cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We urge immediate cessation of such attacks.

Mr. President,

The Security Council’s recent decision to separate the Taliban sanctions regime from that of Al-Qaeda was an astute move in support of our peace and reconciliation initiative. It provides new impetus to our Afghan-led reconciliation process. We also appreciate the Council’s decision to meet our de-listing requests, and we urge further focus for acceding to our additional requests which remain unmet.

Mr. President,

The recently held 11th Meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Afghanistan in Kabul, with broad participation from more than 50 countries, and international and regional organizations; focused on reconciliation, regional cooperation, transition to Afghan leadership and ownership, and international support beyond 2014. This meeting was held in the lead up to the upcoming conference in Istanbul, aimed at creating a “stability compact,” and the International Conference in Bonn later this year, which will review progress against the goals of transition, looking into the long-term support of the international community, and advancing the political process, including reconciliation and regional partnerships.

Mr. President,

A decade of international and regional interactions in Afghanistan is leading to the emergence of a “new silk road,” defining the shared benefits of the regional cooperation. This year we have engaged in an increasingly palpable collaboration with our neighbors and region, expanding the horizon of understanding and the scope of joint efforts.

With Pakistan, during last month’s visit of President Karzai to Islamabad, a promising outlook for close cooperation and realization of common vision not only for development but also peace was envisaged. The visit was followed by an extensive discussion within the trilateral framework of the “Core Group” between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US which recently held its third meeting in Kabul.

During the latest visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India extended its support for Afghan-led reconciliation efforts and announced a significant increase of assistance to Afghanistan.

We also continue to have numerous exchanges with Iran, Russia, China, Central and South Asian countries, and the Arab world.  The opportunities that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan can offer for the prosperity and security in the region, are ever-more evident.  We will continue our constructive engagement with regional partners to realize our common goals.

Mr. President,

Securing Afghanistan and its future is about empowering the country, and enabling it to stand on its own feet, and to take charge of its own destiny.  In this regard, we look forward to the up-coming review of UNAMA’s mandate as essential for aligning the UN’s role with the evolving needs of transition. We are convinced that a more harmonized, streamlined and coordinated UN, based on One UN approach, is vital for furthering the efficiency, and effectiveness of the UN in Afghanistan. We look forward to lasting partnership with the UN during transition and beyond.

Mr. President,

The government of Afghanistan will continue to improve governance, enhance its fight against corruption, and strengthen transparency and accountability in our national institutions.  To this end, we will build on existing measures, to make sure that anyone involved in illegal activities will be held accountable. The Afghan government’s recent apprehension of two senior executives of Kabul Bank implicated for financial mismanagement is testimony to our firm commitment to accountability and rule of law. We have presented the Attorney General’s office with a list of all accused individuals. A comprehensive investigation of the Kabul Bank fiasco is underway, which should lead to restoration of debts and bringing all culprits involved in the case to justice. We are convinced that the final outcome of the investigations will meet both the concerns of the Afghan people, and our international partners.

Mr. President,

Ongoing consultations are underway to resolve the dispute which arose from irregularities during our parliamentary elections. The Government of Afghanistan is fully committed to resolving the issue within the framework of a legal and political solution.

Mr. President,

Far too many innocent Afghans have lost their lives as a result of prolonged violence, insecurity and fighting. Civilian casualties are not just about figures or numbers; it is about the loss of innocent life of men, women, children, village elders, health workers, teachers, and aid workers. The Taliban have primarily been responsible for such killings and display a total lack of conscience when pulling the trigger against innocent civilians or those who protect local people. However, the number of casualties caused by NATO forces, despite their own repeated calls for commitment to protect civilians, remains significant. We reiterate our call for an immediate end to civilian casualties.

Mr. President,

As we move forward, we must think beyond ending the war, towards ensuring sustainable progress across all sectors, security, governance and development. Our goal remains the vision of a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. For this to be achieved, we must build on the gains of the past, and forge a feasible frame work of cooperation with the region and a long-term partnership between Afghanistan and the international community.   The coming years will be crucial for our joint success. Together will we be able to accomplish the task we began ten years ago.

Thank You Mr. President.

Statement by Ambassador Tanin at the Global Governance and Security Council Reform

Statement by

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiation on the Security Council Reform

At the meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform


Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to begin by extending my appreciation to the Honorable Minister Frattini and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hosting this important meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform. I would also like to thank the President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Joseph Deiss, for his remarks. I also wish to express my gratitude to H.E. Mr. Cesar Ragaglini and his able staff for arranging our participation in this meeting.

I am pleased to be here among the distinguished participants of today’s meeting in my capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform. This is the second time the Italian Government has initiated an event such as this, and it is testament to the high level of importance Italy places on the issue of Security Council reform.

Mr. Chair,

Since the launch of the intergovernmental negotiations in February 2009, we have come a long way. The walls and roadblocks separating different positions have begun to be dilapidated, bringing member states into an open environment of dialogue in which negotiations can take place.

In the last three years, we have undergone six rounds of negotiations. For the first time, we have developed a negotiation text, a well-assorted ensemble of positions, which became the basis for our negotiations. This is in itself a historic achievement.

Just this year, in the General Assembly, we have together been able to come with a streamlined version of the negotiation text, which sets the stage for a new phase of negotiations that can facilitate the movement towards garnering a solution.

The text can be the jumping off point for bigger things. It can be a framework for further progress, as it gives us a clear picture of Member States’ positions and where they stand. But at this point, we need to ensure that we are all able to actively engage with the next steps.

Mr. Chair,

What we currently witness is a high level of interest by all Member States and stakeholders of the process of reform. We have seen some flexibility across the membership, and a real political will for reform, and that is how we have reached this point. But it is not enough, and that is why we do not have a solution yet.

At this juncture, all Member States must make more effort to understand each other. Everyone dedicated to the reform has a legitimate perspective. I ask Member States to put themselves in the shoes of their counterparts. Make every attempt to understand their concerns, the origins of their positions, and the reasoning behind their words and actions.  Without a deeper, mutual understanding, the process cannot continue to progress.

Now, as we are just months away from the end of the 65th session of the General Assembly, I hope we will be able to make sufficient progress as called for by Member States. I repeat as I have always said, I am impartial to any position, but partial to progress.

Mr. Chair,

There are four guiding principles that are essential to moving the Security Council reform process forward and for maintaining the integrity of the process:  flexibility, compromise, courage and transparency:

  1. Flexibility requires an exceptional level of openness in understanding of others’ positions. And a willingness to accept the “possibles” of today. Flexibility is in fact a byword for realism in our work.
  2. Compromise is, in effect, a real give and take process in negotiations, which is inherent in any negotiation and at the end of the day should ultimately take us to an agreed solution.
  3. Courage is essential, as, in fact, progress depends on brave, bold steps to be taken by Member States, both from Missions and Capitals.  It is important to employ all diplomatic multilateral and bilateral means in order to unearth an agreed model of reform.
  4. Transparency is the key; the process is only successful if it continues to be transparent, inclusive and open. The entire process of negotiations is built upon the trust of all, and this will continue to be our guiding lodestar.

Mr. Chair,

We all committed to an early reform of the Security Council and the negotiation process is urged on by that noble objective. While we cannot rush in, the process cannot wait forever. It is difficult to anticipate the exact timeframe of an outcome, but it is also important that no stone should remain unturned to bridge the gaps. In the end, undoubtedly, it is the political will of Member States that will take us to an agreement with the widest possible support. The reform is up to you. It is up to you to reach across the aisle and forge a solution.

Our process has not hit the wall, however, we have need all hands on deck to move us forward. I am sure we are not short of imagination, but it is the will of Member States that is essential.

Mr. Chair,

We are operating on the heart of the organization. One slip of the hand, and we will attenuate the patient. I am still optimistic, and for as long as I can remain helpful to the process, I will shoulder my part of the responsibility – by creating and maintaining an environment, which facilitates open negotiations on Security Council Reform.

I thank you.

The Call for Reform: The UN and the Security Council in a Changing World

The Doha Forum

Doha, State of Qatar

12-13 May 2011

The Call for Reform: The UN and the Security Council in a Changing World

H.E. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan

To the United Nations

The only consistency in the global political climate is that it is always changing. It is as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who was obsessed by change, said: “You cannot step into the same river twice.” “International Stability,” the topic we explore here this morning, must be addressed in the context of the shifting political landscape over time.  International bodies, such as the United Nations, must adapt to such changes in order to remain effective, efficient, and relevant in our dynamic world. Although adjusting to change is a constant challenge, it is also a chance to progress.

1

In 1945, the United Nations was founded upon the need to work together globally toward international stability. Recognizing the increasing interdependence of the world, and mutual responsibilities of nations to their people and to each other, the United Nations was developed to inspire mutual respect and trust between people and nations. In the aftermath of the Second World War when the UN was founded, the global political map dramatically transformed due to anti-colonial liberation wars and movements, and the fight for self-determination. In 1965, the membership of the UN increased to 117 from 51 in 1945. In fact, the number of independent countries in Asia quintupled. In Africa, where in 1939 there had been one independent state, dozens of independent countries (now 53) emerged. In Latin America, though there were twenty or so republics, decolonization added another dozen.

Instead of being an exclusive club of former colonizers and World War II victors, the UN suddenly consisted of Member States from all over the globe, encompassing the colossal mass of the remaining two thirds of the world, representing two billion people.  In order to reflect this change, in 1965, the number of UN Security Council non-permanent members increased from six to ten.

After 1945, the Cold War, which lasted for over 4 decades, shaped UN activities, in particular the Security Council, within the limits of cooperation mainly between two super powers.  However, while the US and USSR continued to sufficiently agree to take global decisions and avoid direct confrontation, the UN was able to deal with conflicts, which essentially were confined to outside Europe.  In fact, the two super-powers used the UN as a venue of cooperation, or rather the possible entente between themselves. Therefore, the world was stable enough to avoid another war that was constantly feared: a Third, possibly Nuclear, World War.

2

The end of the Cold War marked a significant shift in the nature of conflicts and the balance of power. Gone was the traditional East-West dynamic. As such, the UN in particular the Security Council, entered a different period characterized by the need for collaboration in an increasingly diverse and multi-polar world.

Just before the end of the Cold War, in 1987, the Five Permanent members of the Security Council known as the P5, worked together through sponsoring a Chapter VII resolution to end the Iraq-Iran war. The resolution asked for an immediate ceasefire, threatening the use of sanctions if the parties did not comply with the demand. The turning point was the Security Council mandate for ejection of the Iraqi invasion from Kuwait in 1990.  It was a time in which former President George Bush Sr. talked about a new role for the UN as an agent of a “new world order”.  The Security Council’s efforts in 1990 therefore marked the beginning of a new era for the UN.

The collaboration of P5 and the other members of the Security Council extended to other conflicts in the 1990s and 2000s, from Haiti to Bosnia and Sierra Leone, or from Central African Republic to Mozambique and East Timor, and very recently from Iraq, to Ivory Coast and Libya.  Everywhere, the UN could offer its full potential of not only peacekeeping, but peacemaking and peace building.

3

In the 1990s and in the beginning of this century, we witnessed significant changes on the international stage:

1. The disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw camp;

2. The unique role of the United States, which remains today;

3. Emergence and strengthening of new power centers;

4. Rapid change of interstate relations;

5. Erosion of state sovereignty by the new wave of globalization as well as the Council’s decisions.

In the post-Cold War and the post-9/11 period, with its ever-shifting dynamics, the UN and the Security Council became immersed in a completely new trajectory of the world’s history. The fact that about 30 newly independent countries following the fall of the Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia joined the UN was a consequential change in both the structure and operation of the UN.

At the same time, by the end of the Cold War in the 1990s there was a shift toward a unipolar world, which posed a significant challenge in the ways the Security Council and the UN operated. Gradually, however, at the end of first decade of the 21st century, the changes reshaped the world en route for an increased multilateralism and interconnectedness.  It became clear that partnership was all-important and indispensible. The first decade after the end of the Cold War was one of renewed optimism and trust in global institutions.

4

The new era brought new expectations about the UN and the way it functions and adapts itself with the call of time. However, where the question of the change comes into play; on one hand, people wanted a more pro-active UN, and on the other, people wanted to see the UN supporting and giving voice to weaker states. Reform for the UN is about the organization adapting itself not only to post-Cold War and post 9-11 times but the on-going shifts and at times conflicting demands for its involvement.

The 1990s witnessed dramatic reforms of the peacekeeping system, of how the UN functions internally, of how the General Assembly works and of how the Security Council conducts its business. At the UN, discussions emerged about how the organization could change to reflect new and unfolding realities. As an organization, the UN was on the right path, however, the ultimate reform –a change in the composition of the membership of the Security Council – continued to elude the organization.

The first decade of the new millennium, the post 9-11 world, featured what was known as a “Global War on Terror,” a continued and accelerated pace of globalization, a heightened threat of climate change, global financial crises, and an increase in conflicts involving non-state actors. It became ever more urgent to define new global governance for the 21st Century.  The 2005 UN World Summit was an attempt by the international community to do just that and to secure the UN’s place at the centre of the international system. While that Summit was not without its accomplishments, much was left undone, among other things, Security Council reform.

5

After that disappointment, the Member States of the UN picked up the pieces and established a new reform process, namely the intergovernmental negotiations that I have been presiding over for three years now.

It has so far been a long and bumpy road towards a reform of the Security Council. While all Member States agree on the need for change, opinions differ wildly on how it should be done. Our current efforts, which were mandated by a September 2008 decision, attempt a radically different approach than previous ones: Intergovernmental Negotiations that as I mentioned are in their third year. The first year marked the launch of the negotiations, which was a break from the long-winded discussions of past working groups, and an opportunity to move towards real reform.  The main initiative of the second year involved developing a text-based process.  The completion of this text marked a watershed moment in the history of Council reform. For the first time, there was one negotiation text on which all Member States could agree. And for the first time, we had the basis for streamlining negotiations.  This was a major achievement towards progress in the reform process. This year, we completed the third revision of the text, which was the first step toward streamlining the positions, a process that is still underway.

6

While the negotiation process is essential, the reform ultimately requires the political will of Member States. Such a will can be generated in two ways:

1. If there is a consensus for a pro-active role among P5 and other big players, or

2. If there is a sufficient majority or rather a wider concurrence around an agreed model of reform.

Of course there are others who argue about the difficulties of changing the Security Council, as it was once put, “short of geo-political shocks, change has not seen nigh…” (David M. Malone, 2004).  But shall we wait for a shock, possibly a Third World War or a Nuclear Tsunami, to reform the organization and the Council that is in dire need of reform?

It has been long argued that if the UN has no role in shaping the collective conscious or implementing a pro-people agenda, it then would become irrelevant (V. Parshad 2007). However, as former Indian Prime Minister J.L. Nehru famously said, millions of people around the world in all countries see the UN as the principle institution for planetary justice. With this charge comes the responsibility of reform.

The UN can be strengthened, it can be reformed, and it can work efficiently; if the collective will is there. In 1965, the reform became possible only because there was a real majority of more than 90% of member states that wanted the reform to happen.  If there is a will there is a way.

On the way forward, it is up to member states to continue to build upon the progress made thus far toward the reform of the Security Council. In other words, political will is the sole driving factor of the reform process.  Because we have all agreed upon the shared objective of reforming the Security Council, it can be expected that all delegations will be committed to efforts to this end. National interests however, have so far taken precedence above the good of all.  Agreements then remain at the mercy of national interests, which all too often fail to make the connection between national needs and international stability.

We have come a long way since 2008, but much still needs to be done. There is no doubt that the Security Council will have to adapt in order to continue to command the same level of respect and authority as it currently does.  The United Nations, as the only body claiming to represent all nations on earth, and its Security Council, has a responsibility to reform in order to remain relevant in the current international context.

7

Already in our young but quickly unfolding current decade, let’s call it the “post Bin-Laden” time, we are witnessing new countries being born, and we are seeing a blossoming movement towards democracy – in the Arab world and elsewhere. What I think we are all witness to is a general reshaping of global alliances and new international constellations. The need for international problem-solving and burden-sharing continues to accelerate as a result of the increasing interconnectedness of the world, the collective nature of our most pressing challenges, and an increasing global desire to share the fruits of human progress. As a result, for example, we are seeing the emergence of the European Union as a relevant body, exemplified by the recent General Assembly vote to strengthen its participation in the UN.  We are seeing the expansion of the scope of activities for groups such as the G8 and G20; and the injecting of new impetuses in the work of G77 and Non-Aligned Movement and similar organizations in order to respond to current global conditions. We are seeing new and old countries considering and reconsidering the core fabric of the international system and the roles of international organizations within it.

Eyes are increasingly turning to the UN and to its Security Council – to reaffirm itself as the central player on the international stage, to coordinate all these diverse efforts, while responding to the changes in the global landscape. In order to maintain this multi-faceted role and to reflect the realities of this dynamic international environment there is a clear and urgent need for reform to the UN system and Security Council. With no reform we risk losing the legitimacy of the Security Council.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan