Thursday, October 23, 2014

No Change in Afghanistan’s Position on the Bilateral Security Agreement

Press Release

In his remarks to the Security Council yesterday at the debate on the Situation in Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to United Nations, described the government’s position on ongoing cooperation with the international community, including the prospect of signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States.

Speaking today, the Ambassador further clarified the government’s position.  “Let me be clear,” he said, “the BSA will be signed only if Afghanistan’s conditions are met, including the beginning of official peace talks.”  There is no change in Afghanistan’s position on the Bilateral Security Agreement; the preconditions for signing the BSA remain, he explained.

Afghanistan’s position has been reiterated by H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including most recently at the opening session of Parliament.  As the President remarked, “The people of Afghanistan recognize peace as the main base of life like any country in the world and any other nation in the world.  So if a country wants a security agreement, relations and a military base, that presence must bring peace in Afghanistan.”


The Security Council extends UNAMA’s Mandate for Another Year

On 17 March, 2014 the Security Council extended UNAMA’s mandate for another year and convened a debate on the situation in Afghanistan. H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, delivered a statement on behalf of his government.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mr. Jan Kubiš, opened the debate. In his statement, Mr. Kubiš offered his deepest condolences to the families of those UN staff and others who lost their lives in the January suicide attack in Kabul. Mr. Kubiš went on to stress the historic nature of the upcoming Presidential and Provincial Council elections, noting that a credible political transition has the ability not only to provide stability, but also to unify the people of Afghanistan.  “The success of the April 2014 elections will be of critical significance in reinforcing Afghanistan’s institutional and political stability and instilling confidence in the future,” he said.

Mr. Kubiš closed his statement by remarking on the United Nation’s long-term commitment to a “peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan,” noting the value that UNAMA brings in the exercise of good offices, protection and promotion of human rights, and the facilitation of international development coherence to the country.

Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin recalled the establishment of the UNAMA mandate in 2002.  At the time, he said Council members aimed to establish a political mission to lead international civilian coordination efforts and to support Afghanistan in building a democratic, stable, and peaceful country (SC/RES/1401).  Since then, he said, UNAMA’s “comprehensive focus on security, economy, governance and development challenges has been essential to my government’s work to lay the foundations for sustainable development and peace in the country.”

After 12 years of unprecedented international cooperation and engagement, the Ambassador stated, “Afghan people are less than a few weeks away from the pinnacle of transition: Presidential and Provincial elections.”  Noting the historical significance of the event, the Ambassador also explained that preparations by the government, international community, Independent Election Commission (IEC), and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) were well underway to ensure their legitimacy, credibility, and transparency.

Continuing his statement, Ambassador Tanin emphasized that his country was not losing sight of other challenges crucial to building a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan.  Continued focus is needed on cooperation with the international community, fiscal stability and sustainable economic growth, and regional cooperation, he said, as well as a continued commitment to ensuring rights for all.

In closing, the Ambassador explained that after decades of war and instability, and 12 years of tremendous progress, “it is crucial that momentum continues towards our goal of achieving a long-lasting, stable, peaceful and democratic Afghanistan.”

After his statement, members of the Security Council voted unanimously for the twelve-month extension of UNAMA’s mandate.  Then members of the Security Council, Australia, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Rwanda, Nigeria, France, the United Kingdom, Chile, Lithuania, China, Chad, Jordan, the United States, the Russian Federation, and Luxembourg delivered statements on behalf of their governments.  Representatives of India, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, the European Union, Pakistan, Sweden, Germany, Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Romania and China also took the floor.  Countries emphasized their support for Afghanistan’s transition, and expressed sentiments of hope for peace and security in the country. Common themes included the importance of women’s participation in the upcoming elections, continuing momentum towards sustainable economic development, and international commitments to assisting Afghanistan during the transition process.


Joint Meeting on the Rights of the Palestinian People in Cairo, Egypt

On 10 March 2014 in at the League of Arab States Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations and Vice-Chair of the Committee, attended the Joint Meeting of the League of Arab States and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). 

The CEIRPP delegation to the meeting included H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations and the Chairman of the Committee, H.E. Mr. Desra Percaya, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations and vice-chair of the committee, and H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations.  The CEIRPP delegation also held bilateral meetings with the leadership of the League of Arab States, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt.

photo (18)In addition to other participants, representatives from the League of Arab States including its Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Nabil El Araby, and Assistant Secretary General, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Sobeih also attended the joint League of Arab States – CEIRPP meeting. The 25 Member States of CEIRRP were in attendance with the governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Malaysia, Malta, Maurtania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Tunisia, and Turkey among the countries represented at Ministerial and Ambassadorial level.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Assistant Secretary General for Palestine Affairs, H.E. Mr. Samir Bakr Diab, represented the organization at the meeting.

The meeting involved a plenary session, during which participants discussed support of the Arab countries during the international year; renewing support of Arab states and the Committee for the successful conclusion of the permanent status negotiations in accordance with international law; buttressing international solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, and reinforcing the practical solidarity of the Arab states and of the Committee with the Palestinian people and the state of Palestine.  Ambassador Diallo chaired the meeting, with Ambassador Tanin chairing the meeting’s conclusion. Closing the meeting, the President of the Committee and the Arab League delivered a joint press statement.

At the meeting’s close, participants adopted the Cairo Declaration in Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  “We, members of the League of Arab States and the Members and Observers of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People…commemorate the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” participants declared.  In the document, they reaffirmed their “unwavering solidarity” with the Palestinian people, noting the unprecedented challenges Palestinians face today and reiterating the longstanding call for a just, lasting and peaceful solution.