Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Situation in Afghanistan

Statement by His Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

At the Security Council debate on The Situation in Afghanistan

Mr. President,

I wish to begin by congratulating you and the Government of Lebanon on assuming the Presidency of the Council for the month of September. I also thank my good friend Special Representative Staffan De Mistura for his briefing, and presentation of the Secretary General’s report on Afghanistan.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to address this Council once again.  Today’s meeting takes place against the backdrop of yet another recent tragedy in Afghanistan. A little over a week ago, the enemies of peace in Afghanistan martyred the Chairman of the High Peace Council (HPC), and former Afghan President, Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani. Professor Rabbani will be remembered for his distinguished service for the cause of peace in Afghanistan.  But I want to assure the Council that, despite this national loss, our reconciliation process will continue. On behalf of the Afghan people and Government, I convey gratitude and appreciation for the outpouring of condolences and support received from around the world.

Mr. President,
This year is of particular importance to Afghanistan. Firstly, it marks ten years since the end of the rule of the Taliban, culminating in the opening of a new chapter in our modern history; defined by a concerted effort to achieve what has eluded us Afghans for far too long:  peace, stability and prosperity.  Over the past decade, we have come a long way in our joint efforts, and have much to show for our progress: in building our state-institutions, in ensuring our people with essential services; in enabling democracy to take root; and in up-holding fundamental rights of all our citizens.

Secondly, this year we also embarked on Transition, an ambitious process by which we Afghans will take full responsibility for the security of our country by the end of 2014. As President Karzai’s statement to the General Assembly last week underlined, “With the completion of the Transition process, we Afghans and our international partners will achieve the most strategic goal of our ten-year long partnership: the emergence of a sovereign Afghanistan that is self-reliant, and the peaceful home of all Afghans; an Afghanistan that is at peace, and lives in peace with the rest of the world.”

In addition to solid Afghan national resolve, the success of the transition process also depends on the continued support of the international community, most importantly in building the capacity of our national security institutions.

Alongside transition of security responsibilities, we are focused on doing what is necessary to implement the economic pillar of the transition process. This will be a more difficult task, requiring more time, and the sustained and long-term engagement of our international partners during and after the transition process.

In this regard, we are determined to maximize the potential offered by our natural resources to strengthen our economy. Furthermore, we have prioritized attracting foreign investments, and building our infrastructure. Such efforts will enable us to play our key role in broadening, deepening and strengthening regional economic integration, by reviving our historic place as the land-bridge between Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. In that connection, we are pleased that the New Silk Road initiative has gained momentum; and we welcome the constructive discussion of last week’s ministerial meeting here in New York, which we co-chaired with Germany and the United States.

Mr. President,

Despite our efforts to stabilize our country, Afghans still suffer from an endless campaign of terror carried out by Afghanistan’s enemies. Over the past months, terrorists launched sophisticated attacks, including the raid on the Inter-Continental Hotel; the attacks on the NATO compound and US Embassy in Kabul; and a chain of targeted assassinations of a number of Afghanistan’s prominent and high-profile national figures.

The continued spate of attacks, which originate from terrorist sanctuaries and safe-havens beyond our borders, has generated an unprecedented level of anger and frustration among a wide-spectrum of Afghan society. Mr. President, let me underline, once again, our repeated call for a definitive end to these sanctuaries that are not only harming Afghans, but also destabilizing the region as a whole.

Mr. President,

To help end the conflict, and meet the demands and aspirations of the Afghan people for a durable, dignified and inclusive peace, we will work to bring back to social, economic and political life all members of the armed opposition willing to renounce violence, sever ties with terrorist groups, and accept our constitution, including respect for human rights, women’s rights in particular.  Despite the assassination of Professor Rabbani, which intended to disrupt the peace process, the High Peace Council (HPC) will continue its mandate for peace and reconciliation. For reconciliation to succeed, we must have the support of regional and international partners. And I highlight, in this connection, the importance of a result-oriented role by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

At the same time, we wish to remind the Council that we are committed to defeating those bent on the destruction and destabilization of our country at all cost.

Mr. President,

We have an important political calendar ahead of us. We look forward to the Istanbul and Bonn conferences, scheduled for November and December of this year.

In Istanbul, together with countries making up the Heart of Asia, and other international partners, we will focus on defining a new vision for regional peace and development. We will do this by soliciting concrete commitments to enhance confidence building, security and political cooperation centered around Afghanistan. For, Mr. President, a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is not only an Afghan need – such an Afghanistan is an absolute precondition for peace, security and prosperity in the region.

And in Bonn, we will brief the international community on our achievements over the past decade with a specific focus on transition, reconciliation, and regional cooperation. We will also share our vision for the ten years after transition on consolidating our stability, democracy and economic development. Above all, at Bonn, we will call upon the international community for continued assistance beyond 2014.

Indeed, Afghanistan is already working with our friends and allies on mapping out our enduring partnerships, including the United States, the European Union and NATO. These partnerships will help guarantee our security, stability and future economic development.

The United Nations has played a very important role in our achievements thus far, for which we remain grateful. On the way forward, this role must be adjusted to reinforce Afghan sovereignty. We welcome all efforts to ensure a more integrated, effective and one UN approach, and look forward to the joint, comprehensive review of UNAMA’s mandate. In that connection, let me thank the Secretary General once again for authorizing this joint review.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I thank all of Afghanistan’s partners in the international community for standing beside us in solidarity as we strive to strengthen the foundations of peace, democracy and development we have laid down in Afghanistan. Over the past decade, we have come a long way in our joint efforts, something we can all be proud of. But we are still not completely out of the woods.  We in Afghanistan are convinced that together with the support of the international community we will succeed in realizing our common vision of a peaceful, stable and democratic Afghanistan; a country that is self-reliant and a factor for regional and global peace and cooperation.

I Thank You!


Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Group of G 77 and China Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. A. Zahir Faqiri Deputy Permanent Representative

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Group of G 77 and China

Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. A. Zahir Faqiri  Deputy Permanent Representative

Mr Chairman,

At the outset, let me convey, on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, our sincere appreciation to the Republic of Argentina for its successful leadership of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr Chairman, your wise leadership at a time when the world is facing many challenges has helped us stand united, and expand and strengthen cooperation among members of our Group.

Last year, the world’s leaders reviewed the achievements and challenges of the MDGs at the 2010 MDG Summit and endorsed its outcome document. However, many developing countries still face enormous challenges on the road towards achieving the MDGs.

We believe that our strengthened collaboration, growing trade and transit, and unity in striving for a common cause is the best formula for our success and for achieving peace and prosperity for our nations and peoples. Promoting trade and investment among G77 member countries is an effective way to mitigate the negative impact of international financial crises and shocks. In that vein, we recognise both the necessity and potential of North-South collaboration, as well as cooperation between countries of the South. Furthermore, through such cooperation with each other and the rest of the world and with pro-poor socio-economic policies, we can both combat the challenge of climate change and work towards poverty alleviation.

Mr Chairman,

Afghanistan, like the rest of the Group, is deeply concerned over the multiple global crises, including widespread poverty, climate change, financial troubles, and the threat of terrorism, volatile energy prices, and food shortages. All of these challenges have had substantial negative impacts on our progress towards achieving the MDGs.

In a globalised world, we cannot and should not isolate ourselves from international financial markets and the rest of the world. However, it is only prudent for us to adopt policies to free ourselves from total dependence on and vulnerability to the shocks of the international market.

Strong and sustained growth is critical for developing countries to meet their internationally-agreed development goals, including the MDGs. My delegation fully agrees with the G77 that economic and social development is the central objective of the United Nations, which remains the only legitimate fully-global body that could address the need for sustainable and socially-equitable development.

Addressing the multiple challenges of economic crises, climate change, and food security, is ultimately and above all our own responsibility. It will require our constant efforts, careful governance, and just yet practical social and development policies. Accomplishing these vital tasks cannot and will not be possible, however, without sufficient resources.

In order to effectively respond to the ongoing challenges, Afghanistan calls on developed countries to demonstrate greater flexibility and political will to meet and scale up their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments to developing countries, particularly LDCs and post-conflict countries.

My delegation also emphasises the importance of regional and international cooperation to address challenges like food security and agricultural development, as integral parts of the international development agenda.

Mr Chairman,

Afghanistan’s delegation actively participated in the drafting of the political declaration of the High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. We fully support the stand of the G77 in favour of strengthened international cooperation in the area of public health, to promote access to comprehensive and cost-effective prevention, treatment and care for the integrated management of NCDs, including improved access to affordable, safe, effective and high-quality medicines and diagnostic and other technologies.

Mr Chairman,

We also strongly endorse the position of the G77 and China that ODA must be increased in order to achieve national development objectives, including the MDGs. It is also important that donors take into consideration the principle of ownership of recipient countries, reducing the allocation of ODA outside of government systems and instead channelling more funds through core budgets and transparent trust funds. We believe it is also important that donors’ reporting mechanisms be improved. We consider a lack of donor coordination, a lack of transparency and data sharing, and the unpredictability of aid to be among the challenges that must be addressed.

Mr Chairman,

Afghanistan supports the stand of the G77 and China on major international issues and believes that the G77 can play an important role in the framework of the United Nations, towards achieving peace and security in the world and to pave the way for sustainable economic and social development for all.

Before closing, let me take this opportunity to congratulate our brother country Algeria for being elected Chair of the G77 and China. We are confident that in pursuing a development agenda in 2012, Algeria will be steering our Group in accordance with the principles of inclusiveness and transparency, further strengthening the unity of the G77 and China.

Thank you.

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Land Locked Developing Countries Meeting of Foreign Ministers

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Land Locked Developing Countries

Meeting of Foreign Ministers Delivered by Mr. Daud Yaar


Mr. Chairman,

At the outset let me express my sincere appreciation to Paraguay for its successful leadership of the Group of Land Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

Mr. Chairman,

The landlocked developing countries are commonly among the poorest of the developing countries and 16 of us, including my own country are classified as least developed countries with the weakest growth rates, and critically dependent on a very limited number of commodities for our export income.

There is a clear connection between distance and the transport costs. High transport costs affect the competitiveness margin of landlocked developing countries and trade volume.

Lack of territorial access to the sea, distance and isolation from world markets and high transit costs continue to impose serious constraints on the overall socio-economic development of our countries. In addition to numerous global crises, such as widespread poverty, climate change, financial and economic crises, the threat of terrorism, volatile energy prices and food shortages are among many challenges which developing countries, particularly land locked developing countries are facing.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan’s export and import have been adversely affected by long distance, difficult terrain, bad condition of roads, non-existence of railway system in the country, volatile security, threat of terrorism and relations with neighbouring countries and inefficiency of transit transport.  As well our export and import depend on transit through other countries. Additional border crossings and long distance from the market considerably increase our total expenses for the transport services. Not only the above challenges, but also sensitive relation with neighbouring countries all the time impose extra pressure and cost on our poor economy. Afghanistan is a commodity exporter country. We pay almost two times more of our export earnings for the payment of transport and insurance services. All of these challenges have had enormous harmful effects on the implementation and realization of our MDGs.

The three decades of war has enormously damaged our economy and our political and social infrastructure, including our roads and transport system. During the past 10 years we managed to built and rehabilitate much of our roads and transport system, however, for adequate development and maintenance of transport infrastructure, establishing a better transit transport system and enhanced technical assistance, capacity building for the formulation of trade policies, investment into infrastructure for transport, communication and etc. we need much support of our development partners and regional cooperation.

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

Mr. Chairman,

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

I thank you.