The Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Attends Opening of New Afghan Permanent Mission
On September 29th, His Excellency Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, presided over the opening ceremony for Afghanistan’s new offices in New York, which will house both the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the General Consulate.
This will a historic step for Afghanistan, as it is the first time that Afghanistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations will be housed in a building owned by Afghanistan. Speaking to the assembled guests, which included delegations from the Permanent Missions in New York, academics and researchers, members of New York society, prominent Afghans, and the media, the two diplomats described the new Mission as a momentous step for Afghan diplomacy and an important legacy for the country’s future.
Ambassador Tanin then welcomed Foreign Minister Spanta, thanked him for making the event possible, and invited him to say a few words. The Foreign Minister described the evolution of Afghan foreign policy and his desire, as Foreign Minister, to ensure that Afghanistan receives the most professional, efficient and supportive representation possible from the diplomatic corps. “Since the collapse of the Taliban regime”, he said, “Afghanistan has started a transforming journey”. He described the Foreign Ministry as a bridge between Afghanistan and the outside world, and emphasized the importance of supporting these Afghans with the necessary facilities and resources to allow them to do their job as capably as possible. Minister Spanta thanked the generous support from the People’s Republic of China for giving Afghanistan the resources to acquire these properties. He also mentioned the Permanent Mission to the UN, and Ambassador Tanin in particular, for their work in making the purchase of the new Mission possible, and invited the guests in both English and Dari to be welcome at the Mission and to see it as an important step forward for Afghanistan.
Ambassador Tanin also welcomed the guests to the event, saying, “this is one of the proudest moments of my professional life and an important moment for Afghanistan.” Ambassador Tanin described his efforts in New York to provide “the necessary support and facilities to allow the Mission to achieve a necessary renaissance as a devoted member of the United Nations.” Afghanistan was among the 53 founding members of the United Nations, but decades of war and conflict in the country have made it difficult for the country to participate actively in the international community. However, as Ambassador Tanin concluded, “time changes things: the United Nations has now grown to encompass 192 member-states. And now, we can add our name to the list of nations that have a home away from home in New York City, the City that houses the whole world.”
In addition, Ambassador Tanin offered guests a book entitled “Afghanistan on the World Stage,” a compilation of statements delivered by the representatives of the Permanent Mission from December 2006 to the present, which offers a snapshot of the evolution of Afghan diplomacy during that time.
The new offices of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Consulate General are located at 633 Third Avenue, on the 27th floor. In addition to this office, Afghanistan purchased an Ambassadorial Residence in Trump Tower.
Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
To the United Nations
On the occasion of the Official Opening Ceremony
Of the new Consulate General and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
29 September 2009
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all here to the official opening of Afghanistan’s first truly “Permanent” Mission to the United Nations, as well as its new Consulate General. Without the dedication and support of His Excellency the Foreign Minister and of President Karzai, this event would, put simply, not have been possible. So I would first like to thank them profoundly, and I would also like to extend that thanks wholeheartedly to you all for coming out today and sharing this momentous occasion with us.
This is one of the proudest moments of my professional life, and a important moment for Afghanistan. From the first day of my tenure as Ambassador, I have committed myself to providing my country with the best representation possible. Crucially, this has included providing the necessary support and facilities to allow the Mission to achieve a necessary renaissance as a devoted member of the United Nations. This purchase is a landmark step in that process. All of the delegates and staff at the Permanent Mission have been an immense help, and five of our colleagues in particular were primarily responsible for the success of this endeavor. Please accept my sincere thanks and the gratitude of Afghanistan.
Afghan people, like peoples all around the world, desire dignity and honor, so that our unique culture and distinct voice can be celebrated all around the world. Unfortunately, Afghanistan’s international representation has often suffered from minimized or at times nonexistent support and facilities. I have spent much of my time over the last three years working towards lifting my country’s representation from these depths, further deepened by internal turmoil and strife, and reestablishing it amidst our family of nations.
Afghanistan is amongst the founding members of the United Nations; when we joined this eminent organization, we were one of 53 member-states. Before that, Afghanistan was represented at the first presentation of President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, as well as to the subsequent and short-lived League of Nations. Our dedication to global peace, security, and cooperation has been a deeply-entrenched characteristic of Afghan diplomacy for much of our history. However, time has also seen my nation repeatedly ravaged by wars, tragedies, and oppression. Afghanistan has rarely had the same privileges enjoyed by some of our neighbours and other member-states at the United Nations.
But time changes things: the United Nations has now grown to encompass 192 member-states. And now, we can add our name to the list of nations that have a home away from home in New York City, the City that houses the whole world. Afghanistan can at last raise its colours with the other flags over the rooftops of New York, and so symbolically raise a sign of hope for Afghanistan’s legacy and its children. The purchase of this Mission represents a great move away from Afghanistan’s difficult past, and towards redeeming the hope of its future.
On this note, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Afghanistan’s distinguished Foreign Minister, His Excellency Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta. From the first day of our work together, we have shared the vision of a Foreign Ministry that could proudly represent Afghanistan’s interests across the globe, and he has had the dedication to ensure that this dream became a reality. I would now like to welcome him, and ask him to say a few words.