Saturday, December 20, 2014

Amanpour Afghan, Pakistani and Indian ambassadors unite against terrorism

(CNN) — Three U.N. ambassadors on the front lines of the fight against radical Islamist terrorism presented a united front Thursday against extremism in an unprecedented joint public appearance on a major television news program.

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The ambassadors of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that all three countries have the same goal — to defeat terrorism.

“We all come from the same crucible, the same history, the same background,” said Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations. “There may be minor differences; of course there is amongst people. But I think all three of us are well-intentioned.”

In comments echoed by the other ambassadors, he added, “We all believe that these countries should get together and try and sort out this situation.” The efforts of all, he said, are required “to help each other get through this difficult phase.”

Amanpour interviewed the ambassadors amid worsening violence in Afghanistan, an intense debate in the United States about troop levels there, a Pakistani military offensive against the Taliban after a string of terrorist attacks, and India still reeling from the assault on Mumbai almost one year ago.

The Indian ambassador to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, pointed out that India was very restrained after the Mumbai attack — an attack that India says was launched from Pakistan.

He indicated — referencing Pakistan’s historic reluctance to move troops away from its border with India — that this restraint is likely to continue. “There is no suggestion ever that a diversion of Pakistani military assets from one border to the other to fight the people who really need to be fought would result in any Indian adventurism. I don’t think that’s the kind of ambiance that we are presently in.”

Pakistan’s recently launched an offensive against Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan. As many as 30,000 Pakistani troops are involved in the operation, the second major push after the military expelled the Taliban from most of the Swat Valley.

Haroon said his country’s armed forces are very stretched by the offensives against the Taliban. He said they are short of resources, in part because Western countries have failed to deliver on all their promises of aid.

“I think that the Pakistanis feel there are too many caveats, too many conditionalities, and it does make it sound rather strange that aid is nowhere near the sort of $5 billion to $10 billion we need a year to be able to come back on our own,” he said. “This is merely adding a crutch. Is that what we need at this time, a crutch? Or do we need something more promising?”

Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan tried to persuade those Americans who are skeptical that they should continue supporting the war in his country. A Washington Post-ABC News poll this week showed voters are deeply and evenly split over whether to send an additional 40,000 troops there, as the U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says is needed.

“Nowadays, after these elections, I think both the leadership in Afghanistan and our friends and partners focused on how the new elections will bring more legitimacy to Afghanistan. So we are not against that debate,” he said, referencing the runoff that will take place on November 7 between President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
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All three ambassadors said it is vital that the United States send more troops to Afghanistan to help win the fight against terrorism. Puri, the Indian ambassador, said, “You cannot have a fight against international terrorism which is compartmentalized. The snakes that bite us wherever come from the same pit.”

He added, “You cannot do Faustian deals with terrorist groups, so I think you need a comprehensive international movement against the terrorists, and I hope that all of us who are involved in this will carry this fight through until the end so that all of us are victors in this.”

Source: CNN

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” Report of the SG on the countries in special situations (LDCS and LLDCs)

Statement delivered by, Mr. M. Wali Naeemi, Minister Counsellor,

before the Second Committee

On Agenda Item 56 :Group of Countries in special situation(a) Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed  Countries ; and (b) ; Specific actions related to the special needs and problems of Land Locked  Developing Countries and Transit developing Countries and Donner Countries and International Financial and Development Institution and Transit transport cooperation

on behalf of H.E. Zahir Tanin

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Delegates,

It’s a great honor to deliver the statement on behalf of the Afghanistan delegation to the United Nations on this very important agenda item 56Aand B, of the UGA64 , 2nd committee.

I would like to align my statement with the statements put forth by the distinguished representatives of Sudan on behalf of the G77 and China and Nepal on behalf of the Least Developed Countries.

Mr. Chairman,

The Afghanistan delegation thanks the Secretary General for his informative report presented under the agenda item 56(a) and 56(b). The report provides a good basis for our discussions under this important agenda item. The consideration of this agenda item provides an opportunity to review the circumstances of countries in special situations with particular focus on the LDCs, LLDCs and countries emerging from conflicts.

We also commend the Under Secretary General, Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, for his tired work in regards to least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island states.

The SG report on item 56A and B, clearly point to the gaps in the implementation of commandments made to address the development challenges face by the LDC and LLDCS. Unfortunate the new emerging crisis (financial crisis food crisis, emery crisis and other crisis) multiply the challenges of countries in special situations and undermine the implementation of the agendas.

Mr. Chairman,

The Brussels Programme of Action provides specific goals and targets in seven critically important areas: Fostering a people centered policy framework; good governance at the national and international levels; building human and institutional capacities; building productive capacities to make globalization work for LDCs; enhancing the role of trade in development; reducing vulnerabilities and protecting the environment; and, finally, mobilizing financial resources. Afghanistan believes that these are necessary components required to help LDCs navigate the path of sustained growth and stability.

Since 2001, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with partnership of the international community, has taken very important steps towards achieving the goals of the Programme.

Despite lack of security, shameless terrorist attacks on schools, teachers, government and public institutions, significant progress have been taking place in different areas in Afghanistan:

– Nearly 7 million children are back to school, of which roughly one-third are girls.

– Roughly 85% of Afghans have access to basic health services, and the rate of infant and maternal mortality has been reduced by 85,000 and 40,000 annually.

– In 2008, 343 community water points were constructed in the drought hit and conflict-affected parts of southern Afghanistan.

-More than seven million people have access to communication facilities at the national level.

-The Government of Afghanistan has taken numerous initiatives to prevent environmental degradation.

However, Afghanistan as a least developed, Land Locked and post conflict country, faces multiple challenges:

-          Lack of security is the major challenge, particularly in the southern part of the country.

-          Only 23% of the entire population has access to safe drinking water

-          Close to 900 children under the age of 5 die daily and more than 60 women die every day from pregnancy-related complications.

-          600 schools are still being closed in the south and southwest provinces.

Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 22 million Afghans – representing 70% of the population – living in poverty.

Poverty and unemployment, both of which have contributed to the increase of the insecurity in the country, can jeopardize the gains made in the last 7 years.

Mr. Chairman,

Though we believe in the path that the Brussels Programme of Action has paved, we fear that it is being undermined by such phenomena as the global economic crisis and climate change, as well as by a lack of commitment and implementation by the international community. It is hoped that we can continue to address these issues as we move closer to the 4th UN Conference to be convened in Turkey in 2011. In this regard, my delegation extends gratitude to the generous offer to the government of Turkey. We are confident that the fourth United Nations conference on the least development countries will play a crucial role in restoring the momentum of development to the poorest people, will undertake a comprehensive review of the implementation of international support measures, and chalk out a road map for further actions to advance the development needs and concerns of LDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

We appreciate the recognition in the Secretary General’s report regarding the unique and difficult position that many landlocked developing countries are currently in. Yet, we also recognize that our geographic characteristics are not going to change, and we must make the best use of what we have. For instance, Afghanistan now has an exceptional opportunity to realize its potential as a “land bridge” country between Central Asia, South Asia, and the West Asian regions. We are aware of our responsibilities to work with our neighbors towards policies and institutional mechanisms to translate this potential into concrete regional projects. But, we would like to encourage others in the international community to work with us with similar pace and spirit.

While Afghanistan is amongst the LDCs and LLDCs, it also in a post conflict situation that lends too many additional problems. Being is such a situation, we urge the UN system, international organizations, and the international community to assist Afghanistan in the area of financial and technical support, capacity building, and development assistance and building infrastructure in order to achieve the goals of the Brussels Programme of Action, Almaty Programme of Action and the Millinium Development Goals within their time frame.

I thank you for your attention.

President Karzai Announces Run-Off

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan announced on Tuesday that he had agreed to conduct a runoff.  He made the statement at a press conference, flanked by Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kai Eide.

He said he accepted as legal the results announced by the Electoral Complaints Commission and the Independent Complaints Commission. Preliminary results had calculated President Karzai’s lead at 54%, but after an investigation into fraud by the ECC threw out almost a quarter of all ballots cast, that number was reduced to just below the over-50% necessary to declare an outright victory. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, if in the first round of voting no candidate exceeds 50% of the vote, a second round will be held within two weeks.

His announcement was welcomed across the globe as a statesmanlike decision taken for the good of his country and in support of the laws and Constitution of Afghanistan. From the United States, President Obama praised the decision, calling it “an important step forward.” He said, “While this election could have remained unresolved to the detriment of the country, President Karzai’s constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan’s new democracy.” In addition, Secretary of State Clinton and Senator John Kerry publicly supported the decision. Echoing his president’s sentiments, he said “A moment of great uncertainty has been transformed into a moment of great opportunity.” He thanked all of those Afghans who had risked their lives and, in some cases, lost their lives to vote and to protect those voting.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon commended President Karzai “for the leadership he displayed” and pledged the UN’s full support to the ongoing Afghan electoral process, saying the UN would do its best to ensure a fair, transparent second round for the elections. Special Representative of the SG Kai Eide commented on the decision also, particularly congratulating the Afghan institutions that have played such a crucial role in the process.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown also welcomed the decision, and congratulated the people of Afghanistan for showing such “patience and resilience” during the long elections process.

The run-off will be conducted on November 7th. The IEC has said it is ready to conduct the elections on that date and has all materials necessary.

In his statement, President Karzai praised the courage of Afghan voters, who had risked their lives in the millions during the first round, and “call[ed] upon this country to take this as an opportunity to move this country forward and participate in this new round of elections,” adding that he hoped the international community would assist in ensuring that security for the new round would be in place on time.