Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item 105: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Mr. Chairman,

 

At the outset, let me congratulate you on your election to the Chairmanship of the Sixth Committee.  We look forward to working closely with you, and assure you of our full support and cooperation.

 

Afghanistan aligns itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

 

We are grateful for the Secretary General for his report, contained in document A/67/162, providing a comprehensive updates on recent counter-terrorism measures, at the national and international levels.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Our discussion today comes against the backdrop of a harsh and grim reality; that the menace of terrorism, threatening mankind as a whole, has yet to be eliminated.  We are all subject to the horror and brutality of terrorists, no matter where we come from; or what our nationality or religion.  This in itself makes clear that it is our joint responsibility to protect our present and future generations from the demons of terrorism.  In this connection, more must be done to translate political commitments to reality – within the context of increased and result-oriented regional and international cooperation.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

My country Afghanistan offers a clear example of a state, which is struggling vehemently to defeat terrorism. Our struggle against this global peril has lasted for more than two-decades, extending back to the dark era of the Taliban regime, where citizens were deprived of fundamental rights and freedoms, and subject to oppression.  Eleven years since the start of a new beginning, we have come a long way in transforming our society for the better. We’ve made important progress in consolidating democracy, in promoting and protecting human rights for all citizens; enabling millions of boys, girls, men and women to enroll in primary and higher education; and in progressing towards an Afghanistan which is fully in charge of its future.

 

Having said that, the Afghan people have yet to realize their number one demand – the chance to live in peace and security.  Our fight against terrorism, which has had important results, continues.  The terrorism plaguing our country and region continues with no end in sight.  Funded and equipped from sanctuaries outside Afghanistan, terrorists are still carrying out attacks against Afghans from all walks of life:  our clergy and tribal elders, public and government officials, our security forces, and even our young children.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

I wish to underscore, here, yet again, full compliance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council related to counter-terrorism.  These include the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by UNGA resolution 49/60; as well as SC resolution 1373 of (2001).

 

The people of Afghanistan are ever more resilient to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  We have sacrifice immensely, in terms of human and material loss. We have lost thousands of our soldiers and officers as result of terrorist attacks, and during counter-terrorism operations.  Many more have been maimed and wounded.

 

Our counter-terrorism efforts are a key component of our national security strategy.  Each and every day, our security forces are working diligently to prevent another act of terrorism for occurring.  Thousands of terrorist plots have been averted.  Yet, the severity of the challenges we face is such that Afghanistan’s enemies are still able to conduct attacks, and prevent the stabilization of the situation in the country.

 

We are continuously strengthening our counterterrorism legal framework. A multitude of measures are being taken to implement the 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism, two which are party.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

We welcome the 3rd biennial review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy this past June.  It provided a clear picture of how far we have come in our joint efforts, and the challenges we still face.  We concur with the assessment that appropriate focus must be given to all 4 pillars of the Strategy: preventing and combating terrorism; addressing conditions conducive to terrorism; strengthening capacity of States; and ensuring full respect for human rights as the fundamental basis for combating terrorism.
The work of the counter-terrorism committees 1267/1989, 1373 and 1540 are at the core of the international architecture against terrorism.  We attach great importance to, and fully support the work of these Committees.  In this regard, we have submitted our national reports on implementation, the most recent of which was our 2nd report on the 1540 Committee, earlier this year. In the same vein, we acknowledge with appreciation the important work being done by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

We welcome the creation of an International Center for Countering Terrorism, which, we feel, will go a long way in helping to consolidate cooperation and building State capacity.  The success of the Center requires a clear effort on the part of States for collaboration and cooperation.

 

We join previous speakers in calling for an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism.  While commending the work of the Ad Hoc Committee established by GA Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, we stress increased cooperation to resolve the outstanding issues.

 

Afghanistan further underscores the importance of convening a High-level Conference on Countering Terrorism, under the auspices of the United Nations.  Such an initiative will help formulate a joint and effective response to the global fight against terrorism.

 

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate our steadfast commitment to undertake all necessary measures to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and to achieve international peace and security.

 

 

 

I Thank You.

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations General Debate of the Second Committee 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies and Colleagues,

 

At the outset, let me congratulate you on your election as the Chairman of the Second Committee during the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that your proven leadership will ensure the success of the Second Committee’s work. I also would like to extend congratulations to all newly elected members of the Bureau. I take this opportunity to express our thanks to your predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh for his excellent leadership during the sixty-sixth General Assembly of the UN.

 

I associate myself with the statement delivered by the Representative of Algeria to the United Nations on behalf of the G-77 and China. I would also like to affiliate myself with statements delivered by the delegations of the Republic of Benin on behalf of LDCs and Lao People’s Democratic Republic on behalf of LLDCs.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Recovery from the world financial crisis of 2008 remains uncertain, and the damage caused by that crisis still plagues developed and developing countries, and has a particularly harmful effect on the LDCs. Issues of poverty, hunger, climate change, natural disasters, energy and food insecurity, market volatility and insurmountable debt persist. These problems undermine the efforts by the developing countries especially least developed countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals. The second committee must continue to address these challenges, which seriously threaten the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

 

The Government of Afghanistan is of the firm belief that such challenges can be eliminated only through effective, coordinated, and coherent action on the part of all stakeholders. In order to overcome our challenges, Northern countries must honour their commitment to cooperate with developing countries in their development efforts. In that regard, Afghanistan underscores the need for continued international support in the form of financial and technical assistance for developing countries.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan has begun to rebuild its political, economic, and social structures and work to ensure that citizens of Afghanistan have access to basic services.  Afghanistan has made enormous strides in the past decade in the areas of healthcare, education, gender equality, and economic infrastructure. The challenging security situation and the threat of terrorism still impede the implementation of the Afghan Government’s development policies. Therefore, the Government of Afghanistan remains convinced that issues related to security and their impact on the development of post conflict countries should be given due consideration by the Second Committee.

 

In 2004, Afghanistan joined the rest of the international community in committing to the Millennium Development Goals, setting 2020 as a target date for their completion. Despite the ongoing challenges Afghanistan faces, we are committed to achieving these goals with the support of the international community.

 

Afghanistan welcomes the outcome document of United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Conference was a historic event in garnering a renewed commitment for effective strategies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty, advance social equity and protect our environment.  The Rio+20 Conference has called on the International community to develop the Post-2015 United Nations development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. Discussions and consultations regarding this post- 2015 framework should not distract efforts toward the achievement of the current MDGs. The formation of the SDGs and the Post-2015 development agenda should proceed in a coherent and coordinated manner.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Agriculture, which is the primary source of income for the large majority of our people, is threatened by desertification, drought, and climate change. Conflict over the last several decades, combined with high population growth and the resultant overuse of natural resources, has caused widespread damage to Afghanistan’s farmland and infrastructure. We call upon our international partners to help the Agricultural sector of Afghanistan by providing technical and financial support.

 

Climate change affects all countries equally – poor, rich, small or big – and therefore, serious cooperation by all countries is required to tackle this challenge. In this regard, my delegation strongly supports the position of the G77 and China that the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol should remain the central multilateral framework for cooperative action to address climate change issues.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Afghanistan also supports closer collaboration between developing countries and development partners as well as all other relevant actors to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action and the Almaty Programme of Action in order to ensure enhanced, predictable and targeted support for the least developed countries and the landlocked developing countries.

 

In conclusion, my delegation is firmly convinced that your wisdom and effective leadership of our Committee will go a long way in helping us achieve important progress on the issues under our consideration. I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation!

I thank you.

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Eleventh Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Landlocked Developing Countries

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to convey our appreciation to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on assuming the Chairmanship of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. Our gratitude also goes to Paraguay for its Chairmanship of our group during previous years, and its role in strengthening unity among our members.

Mr. Chairman,

The landlocked developing countries are commonly among the least developing countries.  Sixteen of us, including my own country, are classified with the slowest growth and dependence on a very limited number of commodities for our export income. There is a clear connection between distance and transport costs. High transport costs affect the competitiveness margin of landlocked developing countries, and thereby affect trade volume.

Promoting regional cooperation for the benefit of the surrounding and landlocked countries manifests both challenges and opportunities. Some of the critical challenges which need attention cover geo-political position of Afghanistan and its neighbouring landlocked countries, security and stability of the region, drug trafficking, people smuggling, expensive and time consuming trade and transit because of barriers in trade, transport and transit, out-dated and restrictive trade and transit practices and policies, and infancy of financial markets.

On the other hand, regional cooperation provides opportunities to optimally utilize the resources of the region for the benefit of all the countries and will bring down all such barriers and create borders with human face. Despite the landlocked location of the countries, improved connectivity and development of infrastructure, particularly in the transport and energy sectors, would enhance the energy trade. Lowering of trade and transit costs and time among the land locked countries would enhance the pace of economic development; significantly increase incomes, employment and consumption in the region leading to reduction of incidence of poverty levels. Other areas of cooperation cover removal of barriers: in regional movement of labour; improvements in communication systems; civil aviation, human resources development; health facilities; and other areas of economic interests. Such efforts will be helpful in improving the productivity levels and services delivered to the masses in the countries of the region.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s future – whether economically, politically, socially, or culturally – has and always will be deeply intertwined with its region’s future. Indeed, this is why we launched last November, with our regional and wider international partners, the “Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for Afghanistan”. And this is why with collaborated with the Government of Tajikistan earlier this year in organizing the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan. Building on the momentum generated the past twelve months in Istanbul and Dushanbe, as well as related meetings in Chicago, Kabul, and Tokyo, I firmly believe our deliberations today – with their emphasis on practical approaches for sustainable development and lessons from other regions undergoing similar transformations as in Central and South Asia – will be of immense benefit to the Government and People of Afghanistan, as well as our neighbours.

Promoting regional cooperation is a vital principle of cooperation in the Istanbul Heart of Asia Process. This is an emerging policy platform for advancing regional economic and other cooperation priorities among its participating states. Launched on 2 November 2011, the “Istanbul Process” introduces 43 confidence-building measures (CBMs) to enhance stability and regional cooperation between Afghanistan and 15 participating countries, with the support of 12 other country partners and 9 international organizations. Within the participating countries, 5 are Landlocked Developing Countries. Among the group of 43 CBMs, no less than 21 are of an economic nature (for example, trade, transport infrastructure, energy, water management, agriculture, and private investment) and 7 deal with regional cooperation in the area of education. For each of these priority CBMs, an Implementation Framework elaborates on the on-going work undertaken by a range of Afghan Government multilateral and bilateral partners.

Mr. Chairman,

Local trade between Afghanistan and neighbours is very important, even if long distance trade transiting through Afghanistan and neighbours takes longer to develop. Improved transportation links via the development of road corridors to the south and energy exports from landlocked Central Asian countries to the South Asia via Afghanistan would offer alternative means of trade flows and benefit the entire region.

As an over-arching, strategic goal for our regional cooperation projects, a broad-based effort to develop Regional Economic Growth and Resource Corridors can help connect – through Afghanistan – the people of landlocked Central Asia, South, and South-West Asia and their key economic activities, including agriculture, light manufacturing, and mineral extraction, with essential trade, transit, and energy enablers. And in doing so, the technical innovation and capital of the private sector will be unleashed, displacing over time both foreign aid and public sector capital investments. By generating significant returns to growth, jobs, and revenue, Regional Economic Growth and Resource Corridors have the potential to serve as “game changers” and to create a new dynamic for peace and socioeconomic progress across the region.

Unlocking the full potential of Afghanistan’s primary vehicles for economic expansion, employment, and public revenue are the keys to durable stability and financial sustainability across the country.  Investment in Aynak and Hajigak mines require investment in a rail system to efficiently move copper and iron ore to rail links in Central Asia and the ports of South Asia.  Exports of Afghanistan’s world class marble, gemstones, grapes, raisins, almonds, saffron, and pomegranates can only grow through a more favorable regional and global investment.  Small and medium-size enterprise owners – for example, involved in the production of rugs, wool, cashmere, and handicrafts – repeatedly stress the importance of reliable energy resources, alongside the rule of law, as essential to their competitiveness. And with adequate transportation and energy infrastructure, Afghanistan’s central location at the crossroads of Asia means it is poised to serve as a regional trade and transport hub, generating considerable public revenue through transit fees.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan fully supports the commitment of the landlocked countries to accelerate the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action through effective and genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit countries and their development partners, as well as between the public and private sectors at national, regional and global levels.

In conclusion, I reiterate our commitment to work closely with all of you to advance our common interests.

I thank you.