Monday, September 1, 2014

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.

Ambassador Tanin delivers a statement at the Security Council open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict


Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the 12 February 2014 debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.  Lithuania convened the debate as President of the Council this month.  Valerie Amos, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Hervé Ladsous Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Director General of the Red Cross, Yves Daccord briefed the council.  As an outcome, the UK proposed a presidential statement.

Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin explained the high importance of this issue to the government of Afghanistan.  “The Afghan people expected to see long-awaited peace when the Taliban regime ended following decades of war, unprecedented destruction and loss of life,” he said. “Yet despite joint stabilization efforts towards peace and security, the suffering of the Afghan people continues.”

“Afghan civilians are targeted with guns and bombs,” he told the Council, “by enemies who measure success in terms of blood spilled and life lost.” He emphasized that the Taliban and other extremist groups were responsible for the vast majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, causing thousands in 2013 alone.  Their tactics are “a horrific manifestation of man’s inhumanity to man,” he noted.

The Ambassador continued, saying that tragically, ground engagements in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations have resulted in the deaths and injuries of civilians.  “It is unfortunate that Afghans lost their lives during operations by international and national forces that aimed to protect their lives,” he noted, and he stressed the strong commitment of the Afghan forces to protect civilians.

In closing, Ambassador Tanin remarked that the surest way to protect the lives, honor and dignity of citizens is to end the cycle of violence that harms innocent civilians.  This requires sustained international assistance to support Afghan capacity, he explained, as well as the elimination of terrorist sanctuaries that fuel the cycle of violence, and the vigorous pursuit of our Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process