Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan
to the United Nations
at the Security Council
I should like to begin by commending you for the able manner in which you led the work of the Council during the month of January. Allow me to also express my delegation’s appreciation for convening today’s open debate on the important topic of “post-conflict peace-building.”
The establishment of the Peace-building Commission on the 20th of December 2005 marked a major step forward towards achieving a more efficient and effective organization. It also marked a turning point in the efforts of the United Nations to promote peace, stability and development in post-conflict countries and countries emerging from conflict.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan notes with great satisfaction the launch of the Peace-building Fund on the 11th of November 2006, and the subsequent convening of four country specific meetings on Burundi and Sierra Leone as a clear indication of the international community’s determination to achieve long-term peace and stability in countries emerging from conflict.
As a country emerging from more than two-decades of armed conflict, Afghanistan is well aware of the challenges associated with post-conflict peace building. In a relatively short period of time, we have made significant gains towards a stable and democratic Afghanistan. The convening of the Emergency Loya Jirgah; adoption of a new Constitution; and holding of Presidential and Parliamentary elections are but some of our major accomplishments. We managed to attain these achievements against the backdrop of numerous challenges posed to our peace-building efforts.
We attribute that success to two primary factors: 1) the determination of the Afghan people to live in peace and tranquility, and 2) the sustained support of the international community, in particular the United Nations.
On the basis of our experience, we have come to realize that effective peace-building requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted strategy, encompassing the essential components of social and economic development, good governance, human rights and the rule of law; national reconciliation, as well as the proactive and sustained engagement of the international community. In this context, we also underscore the importance of the leadership role of the country concerned in the process.
As it was stated by His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General, at the launch of the Peace-building Fund, [and I quote] “Although peace-building is a collective effort, involving the international community, it is the Government of the country concerned that carries the main responsibility for setting priorities and ensuring that the peace process can be sustained. National ownership is the core principle of peace-building, and the restoration of national capacity to build peace must therefore be at the heart of our international efforts” [end of quote].
We are also of the view that creation of mechanisms with a mandate to coordinate and monitor peace-building efforts will be crucial to the overall process.
The initial stage of post-conflict peace-building necessitates altering the conditions that give rise to a particular conflict. Adopting a passive stance in dealing with dominant threats will not only complicate the situation, but also jeopardize the process in its entirety. As in the case of Afghanistan, continuing terrorist attacks resulting from cross-border infiltration of terrorists along the south and south-eastern parts of the country constitutes the main threat to Afghanistan’s peace building process. These attacks have drastically affected the daily lives of the people and hampered the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.
It is therefore essential to address both internal and external factors that contribute to insecurity in a particular country. In that regard, we also stress the need to enhance the capacity of national security institutions to effectively address prevailing security challenges.
Equally important is the need to accelerate the pace of social and economic development, as security and development are not only interconnected but also mutually reinforcing. We have come to realize that improving security in post-conflict countries will not be achieved by military means alone. It will also require sustained economic development. Successful re-integration of ex-combatants in post-conflict countries will depend largely on the launching of quick impact reconstruction projects and creation of employment opportunities. This will encourage former combatants to re-integrate fully into civilian life and refrain from joining illegal armed groups.
National reconciliation can be vital to a successful peace-building process. Enhanced dialogue among all segments of society in the peace-process is necessary to realize national peace-building goals. An inclusive political process; one which ensures equal representation and participation among all national actors and stakeholders will lead to greater confidence-building.
In that regard, allow me to mention that the full participation of all of Afghanistan’s ethnic groups and main political parties in the political process was one of the key factors that contributed to the successful implementation of the Bonn Agreement of 2001.
Finally, Afghanistan emphasizes the need for the international community to maintain an adequate level of aid, including the provision of financial assistance, to countries emerging from conflict, with a view to facilitating a smooth transition from conflict to lasting peace and stability. The political presence of the United Nations through its country team, together with the active vital role of development agencies – under the umbrella of the resident UNDP coordinator – will contribute significantly in that regard.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Afghanistan’s full support to the work of the Peace-building Commission. We remain confident that this newly established Commission will spare no effort to carry out its important and noble task of securing peace and tranquility in post-conflict-countries.
Thank you Mr. President.