Saturday, September 20, 2014

Press Conference by International Contact Group on Afghanistan

Press Conference by International Contact Group on Afghanistan H.E. Ershad Ahmadi (second from right), Afghan Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaks at a press conference on the International Contact Group on Afghanistan, following its meeting today at UN Headquarters.

Press Conference by International Contact Group on Afghanistan
H.E. Ershad Ahmadi (second from right), Afghan Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, speaks at a press conference on the International Contact Group on Afghanistan, following its meeting today at UN Headquarters.

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Today, 19 September 2013, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin delivered a statement at the Security Council on the occasion of the debate convened on the situation of Afghanistan. The debate focused on Afghanistan’s upcoming elections, security transition, human rights and the peace and reconciliation process.

During the open debate, members of the Security Council along with representatives of Italy, India, Estonia, Japan, Germany, Turkey, Slovakia, Canada, Islamic Republic of Iran and the European Union took the floor.

Mr. Jan Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNAMA, participated in the discussions highlighting the vital importance of regional cooperation to Afghanistan’s stability and the necessity of ensuring justice and human rights in the region. He also welcomed the significant progress made in technical preparations for the upcoming elections, as well as the increased capability of the Afghan army and police in facing the challenges of security transition.

In his remarks, H.E. Ambassador Tanin stated that since the launch of the final phase of security transition on 18 June this year, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have been at the forefront of combat, defending the country and providing security.

He emphasized that the transition will take Afghanistan into a “decade of transformation characterized by strengthening sovereignty and normalization of the situation.” It will bring security to the region and allow Afghanistan’s economy to move “from aid-independency to self-sufficiency.” In this regard, the elections are seen as crucial to the success of the transformation period. “This is why Afghans from all walks of life are actively engaged in the process and debate before the elections,” he stated.

Moreover, the Ambassador stressed that neighboring countries play a vital role in securing prosperity and peace in Afghanistan and in the region, noting that “our vision is not simply to better Afghanistan’s future, but also enable us to be a constructive, friendly and dependable partner to our neighbors and to countries in the region.”

Speaking about the increasing number of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the Ambassador noted, “as Afghanistan looks towards a brighter future, the enemies of Afghanistan- the enemies of peace- continue their violent campaigns against civilians, soldiers, civil servants, men, women, children and foreign forces. If they see brutality as the measure of their power, they are wrong; it is a measure of their weakness.”

Speaking of a recent increase in attacks on women officials, the Ambassador was emphatic: “It is not brave to kill a police officer, particularly if she is a woman protecting and serving her country,” he said. “It is time for the Taliban to stop the killing, renounce the violence, and to heed the call to peace.”

Several Council members and other speakers welcomed the appointment of new members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and of the Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC), underlining the key role these institutions play in ensuring an effective democratic process. Also, they noted the adoption of the electoral legal framework as a significant step towards credible, inclusive and transparent elections.

Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
 Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for this month.  We are very grateful for the role Australia is playing as the penholder on Afghanistan under your leadership, Mr. President, and for its capable work in the Security Council.  I thank my good friend Special Representative Kubis for his very comprehensive briefing, and more broadly, for his effective leadership of UNAMA in Afghanistan.Also, let me express a warm welcome to my new colleagues, Ambassadors from the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

Mr. President,

We are now at the beginning of the 68th GA at the United Nations, which has turned this city into the epicentre of world dialogue.  Today’s debate is convened ahead of a number of events with a broader focus on Afghanistan- the International Contact Group, the Senior Officials Meeting of the Istanbul Process, a number of ministerial meetings, and the opportunity for the Afghan delegation to meet with our friends and partners at a high level.  Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the campaigns for the third Presidential elections are about to begin.  At the same time, we are envisioning the end of the International Security Assistance Force’s mandate by the end of 2014, a mission that started 12 years ago and which then became the backbone of international stabilization efforts in Afghanistan.

On 18 June this year, the final phase of security transition, the 5th tranche, began in Afghanistan.  In the past several months, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have been at the forefront of difficult combat.  They have largely proved themselves capable of defending the country and providing security. The transition will take us into a new decade- the decade of transformation- characterized by strengthening sovereignty and normalization of the situation.  It is a leap in the right direction, and a proud new chapter in our history.

But Mr. President, while this is a new chapter, it is also remarkably familiar: throughout our long history, our country has consistently risen up from the ashes, defiant after tragedies, and has re-emerged from war, conflict and destruction.   Today, backed by the collective efforts of the international community, we take responsibility for our security and our defence, as we have done time and again, and we meet this challenge with confidence, courage, and responsibility.

Mr. President,

At the beginning of his second term, President Karzai outlined a new vision for Afghanistan’s future.  He called for full Afghan responsibility for security, a move towards a self-reliant economy, and a political solution to end the war.  Since 2010, Afghanistan and its partners have solidified these commitments through constructive conferences in London, Lisbon, Istanbul, Bonn, Chicago, and Tokyo.

Mr. President,

In Lisbon and then in Chicago, the international community committed itself to long-term support after 2014 to train, advise and support the ANSF.  Our international partners pledged financial support and equipment necessary for our armed forces to function independently, a goal furthered through strategic partnerships signed with a number of countries including the United States. We signed the Enduring Partnership Agreement with NATO, which will be realized through its post-2014 role, Operation Resolute Support.  We are also in the final phases of negotiating the Bilateral Security, Defence and Cooperation Agreement with the United States. Other countries outside NATO have also committed to provide long-term support to Afghan forces.

These agreements are not aimed at fighting wars, but rather at ensuring the security of our country, protecting its people, and safeguarding the democratic order we created so painstakingly over the past 12 years.

Mr. President,

In addition to progress in security, the transformation decade aims to move Afghanistan’s economy from aid-dependency to self-sufficiency.  In Tokyo, international donors pledged $16 billion to support Afghanistan’s economic transition through 2017 by adopting the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).  This links aid directly to Afghan commitments in sectors such as human rights and governance, and commits donors to strengthen aid efficiency and sustainability, channelling their commitments through Afghanistan’s core budget.   The Senior Officials Meeting of the Tokyo Conference looked critically into these obligations this past July in Kabul.

Mr. President,

Our neighbours are vital to Afghanistan’s future prosperity and peace.  Yet, as President Karzai explained at the Shanghai Summit last week, our vision is not simply to better Afghanistan’s future, but also enable us to be a constructive, friendly and dependable partner to our neighbours and to countries in the region.

To this end, we are now part of many regional cooperative frameworks.  We are at the centre of the Istanbul Process initiative.  We hope that this process will become an important forum for all countries in the region to build more trust, counter shared threats to stability and peace, and focus on steps needed for the prosperity of all countries in the region. We are very happy to see that our brotherly country the People’s Republic of China is going to lead the ministerial conference next year.

Mr. President,

We are preparing for our 3rd ever Presidential elections, an accomplishment that demonstrates the increased maturity of Afghanistan’s emerging democracy. The last decades were characterized by decisions made with violence, problems solved through war, and power solidified with weapons rather than votes. Electing a new President is an important symbol that bloody struggle for power in our country belongs to the past.

Our enemies want to derail the process, as made evident by the assassination of the head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) office in Kunduz province.  But let it be known, no such acts will prevent a successful electoral process from taking place.

Mr. President,

The coming elections are seen by all as crucial to the success of the transformation decade, the trust of Afghans, and the continuing support of the international community.  Afghans know this deeply, and this is why Afghans from all walks of life are actively engaged in the process and debate before the elections.  A robust electoral framework has been established: new members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) have been appointed, a chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has been elected, a national security strategy for elections has been arranged, and two new pieces of legislation have been signed into law.

 

Mr. President,

As Afghanistan looks towards a brighter future, the enemies of Afghanistan- the enemies of peace- continue their violent campaigns against civilians, soldiers, civil servants, men, women, children and foreign forces. If they see brutality as the measure of their power, they are wrong; it is a measure of their weakness.

It is not brave to kill a police officer, particularly if she is a woman protecting and serving her country.  It is time for the Taliban to stop the killing, renounce the violence, and heed the call to peace.

The first attempts at peace negotiations were undermined by the Taliban’s determination to take Afghanistan back to the past.   But the Afghan people do not want to return to the past.  They want the violence to end. This is why, despite the atrocities, Afghanistan’s leadership has not lost faith in a political solution.

 

Mr. President,

Countries in the region, particularly Pakistan, play an important role in supporting this process. We are encouraged by the outcome of President Karzai’s recent visit to Islamabad, and reassured by the new government of Pakistan guarantees of support for the process. We look forward to working together towards enhanced cooperation.

Mr. President,

As we approach the transformation decade, we must secure the gains made in the last 12 years, despite the difficulties, vulnerabilities and risks.   In the years ahead, we must build upon our achievements, and enable Afghanistan to stand on its feet, with a strong voice, as a full partner of the international community.  In this period of change, we will go into the elections in search of a solution, in a spirit of national unity and coherence, together with our international partners, to further our struggle for democracy, prosperity and peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.