Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the General Debate of the Second Committee of the General Assembly

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Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Delegates,

At the outset, allow me to congratulate Your Excellency on your well-deserved election as Chair of this committee and the election of your highly competent Bureau. I would like to assure you of my delegations’ full support and cooperation during the discussions of the Second Committee.

I also wish to pay tribute to your predecessor for his tireless efforts and successful leadership of the Second Committee during the Sixty-seventh session.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Fiji, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, on behalf of the group of Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Benin, on behalf of the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

As the work of the Second Committee commences, and with it a number of important economic issues, it is our strong belief and expectation that this year under your able leadership, the Second Committee will make practical decisions and progress on implementation of the recommendations and decisions of past sessions.

Mr. Chairman,

I fully endorse the major points and concerns reflected by our group, the LLDCs, but I would like to highlight the following points on our national capacity:

Over the next two years, we must accelerate global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. As we have discussed over the past few weeks, there is much room to celebrate achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Poverty has been reduced by half and significantly more people have access to quality living conditions and potable water.

In spite of these successes, there are still challenges to be addressed and areas that need new attention and focus, namely poverty eradication and financing for development.

In considering these points, special focus should be drawn to least-developed and conflict affected countries that lag behind the 2015 deadline for realizing their MDGs due to their special needs and challenges. Such countries will not be able to achieve their goals without international partnership. In this regard, I would like to commend the Secretary General’s Report which reflects the concerns of and attention to countries in special situations.

As a vulnerable member state of LDCs, and as a country highly dependent on aid, I would like to call on developed countries to fulfill their pledges in terms of mobilizing the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the developing countries and the LDCs. I wish to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening the Sixth High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development two days ago. The fruitful insights of this meeting can highly contribute to the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. Let’s not forget the special needs of LDCs and LLDCs, especially concerning countries in conflict, as we move forward on the deliberations for the Post-2015 Agenda.

The follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration for financing is highly important and we support the call for convening the follow-up international conference on financial development before the end of 2015. We hope that the outcome of the upcoming Bali Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization overcomes the impasse of negotiations and provides deliverables for the future.

In the same vein, the comprehensive 10-year Review Conference on the Implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action scheduled in 2014 is critical to meet the special needs and challenges of the LLDCs. It provides an opportunity to strengthen our genuine partnership and fill the gaps in realization of our commitments.

While we are in the process of formulating the Post-2015 development agenda, it is our strong belief and expectation that the outcomes and recommendations of Rio+20, the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs, the Almaty Programme of Action, and the Barbados Programme of Action should guide our deliberations of the Post-2015 Agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to express our support for the establishment of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development. I hope this forum serves as a strong platform for addressing the gaps and shortcomings in sustainable development and builds on progress made so far. Considering that international aid is essential to the realization of sustainable development, we stress the necessity of regional and economic integration and cooperation as well as south-south and triangular cooperation.

Mr. Chairman,

As a member of LDCs, we cannot ignore our vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.  It is worth mentioning that we are scaling up our joint efforts in mitigating the negative impact of climate change. In this regard we urge the international community to make the green climate fund operational by early 2014.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan was embroiled in violent conflict when the MDGs were set, and thus came late to the process, with a deadline set for 2020.  As we progress, Afghanistan is committed to achieving its goals. Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy (ANDS) is widely aligned with the MDGs, as are our National Priority Programs (NPPs) under ANDS. According to the 2013 Afghanistan MDGs Report, progress is already measurable and some goals were met as early as 2010 with other indicators well on track towards their targets.  As a country combating instability instigated by terrorism, an additional goal, Goal 9, on enhancing security was added exclusively for Afghanistan.

In conclusion, we would like to convey our wish to engage in fruitful and practical discussions during this session, along with our determination to reach measurable and concrete decisions of the goals of the Second Committee.

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

 

Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Statement of The Islamic of Republic of Afghanistan Delivered by Mohammad Taqi Khalili Deputy Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN
At the Sixth Committee (68th UNGA) on Agenda Item:110  Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Mohammad Taqi KhaliliThank you Mr. Chairman,

We join other delegations in congratulating you on your election to the Chairmanship of the Sixth Committee. We look forward to working closely with you in the way forward, and assure you of our full support and cooperation.

We align ourselves with the statements delivered on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Afghanistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. By now, we all are convinced this evil phenomenon is global in nature, and to be defeated, requires a concerted and unified approach.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan continues to be one of the main victims of terrorism. Despite the major transformation in Afghan society towards democratization, substantial improvements in the health and education sectors, the building of our infrastructure, and advances in fundamental freedoms and liberties, our people still suffer from the horror of terrorism. The evil desire of terrorists to prevent our success, a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, has yet to be abandoned.

Nevertheless, our commitment to defeating this scourge at the national, regional and international level is as strong as ever. Our counter-terrorism approach constitutes a core pillar of our national security strategy. Through the security transition, our security forces have taken charge of security responsibilities throughout the country. Our national army and police are in the front line of all counter-terrorism operations. In this respect, scores of terrorists and enemy combatants have been killed, captured and brought to justice. Moreover, hundreds of terrorist plots were averted in various parts of the country.

Our people have suffered immensely in terms of human and material loss. We have lost thousands of our soldiers and officers in our struggle against terrorism. And many more were maimed and wounded. In our pursuit of a lasting peace in our country, our counter-terrorism efforts will continue unabated.

Having said that, we hope to see concrete efforts for the elimination of terrorist sanctuaries and support centers located outside Afghanistan, which represent the main source of the violence and terror in our country.

Experience has shown that our region is particularly prone to the menace of terrorism. We in Afghanistan see regional cooperation to be a necessity to rooting out terrorism in our part of the world. In this respect, we are working closely with our immediate and distant neighbors, bilaterally, trilaterally and through other initiatives, such as the Istanbul Process.

We are encouraged by the outcome of President Karzai’s recent visit to Pakistan, where detailed discussions were held on enhancing joint efforts to defeat terrorism, and advance our Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.

Mr. Chairman,

The dangerous link between terrorism and organized crime remains a serious concern to Afghanistan. These two perils are mutually reinforcing, and must be given equal attention. In this regard, we emphasize that the problem of narcotic drugs can only be effectively addressed through a comprehensive and holistic approach, dealing with all aspects of the problem – production, trafficking and consumption. We highlight, in this respect, enhanced efforts at the regional level to curtail trafficking. This will be essential to defeating the drug problem.

Mr. Chairman,

All States are obligated to fulfill their responsibility to combat international terrorism. In this respect, we underscore full compliance with, and implementation of relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. These include the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 49/60, and Security Council resolution 1373, which call on states to refrain from providing support and assistance to terrorists.

We continue to adjust our national counter-terrorism legislation, to correspond with international legal frameworks to combat terrorism. We commend the important work being done by the Counter-Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC. Our national counter-terrorism practitioners are taking part in a number of counter-terrorism workshops and seminars, focusing on capacity-building. We are steadily strengthening our capacity, and working to implement the 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism, to which we are party.

Mr. Chairman,

We fully support the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, representing the overall framework for international efforts to defeat terrorism. We welcome the outcome of the 3rd Review in June of last year, and look forward to the 4th review. We concur with the assessment that the Strategy should be implemented in a balanced manner, with due consideration to all 4 pillars.

The work of the counter-terrorism committees 1267/1989, 1373 and 1540 are at the center of the Security Council counter-terrorism focus. For our part, we have increased inter-agency coordination, to ensure consistent reporting on implementation to relevant Security Council committees.

Mr. Chairman,

The creation of the International Center for Countering Terrorism was a milestone, helping to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation, and strengthen capacity in States, both of which are essential for the implementation of Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We are of the view the UN will best be able to lead international counter-terrorism efforts by way of increased coordination and coherence among relevant UN agencies. In this respect, we applaud the work being done by the Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).

We echo the call of other speakers in highlighting the need to achieve the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism. We commend the work being done by the Ad-Hoc Committee established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of 17

December 1996. We must look forward, and work to resolve, outstanding issues causing the impasse in negotiations.

I Thank You.

Intervention BY H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations 12th Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Landlocked Developing Countries

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, my delegation appreciates the theme for this year’s Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Landlocked Developing Countries: “Building Genuine Partnerships for Overcoming Impacts of Landlockedeness in the context of Sustainable Development”. We believe that overcoming the challenge of landlockedness is very much reliant on the spirit of partnership and cooperation, in particular between landlocked and transit developing countries, which are crucial to the achievement of our sustainable development objectives.

Towards building and enhancing genuine partnerships for overcoming the impacts of landlockness, regional cooperation is essential and provides opportunities to optimally utilize the resources of the region for the benefit of all the countries and will bring down all barriers and create borders with human face. Afghanistan is part of many regional and sub-regional initiatives, programs and processes and has the potential to contribute more in better connectivity of the entire region.

The “Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan” launched on 2 November 2011 to enhance stability and regional cooperation between Afghanistan and 15 participating countries, among them 5 are Landlocked Developing Countries. There are 21 confidence-building measures (CBMs) under the Istanbul process that are economic in nature (for example, trade, transport infrastructure, energy, water management, agriculture, and private investment). For each of these priority CBMs, a participating country has the leading role.

Afghanistan, by availing its unique geographic position, is now transforming from a landlocked to a land-linked country by connecting energy rich Central Asia to the energy deficient South Asia. 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.

There are a number of sub-regional transit, transport and energy projects under development via Afghanistan, such as Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, CASA 1000 for electricity supply from Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan and more recently, a trilateral agreement on railway project between Tajikistan-Afghanistan and Turkmenistan has been signed between the three neighboring countries.

In addition to the geographical handicaps and remoteness to world markets, high transport costs affect the competitiveness margin of landlocked developing countries, in particular least developed countries among them and thereby affect trade volume. There is a clear connection between distance and transport costs. As per the World Bank’s data, Afghanistan faces highest cost of exporting at $3545 per container in 2012 compared to $2230 for Bhutan and $1960 for Nepal. In this context, lowering of trade and transit costs and time among the landlocked 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 that will help LLDCs to diminish their disadvantage, and remain better connected to the world.

Foreign trade between Afghanistan and its neighbors is very important and can contribute to economic growth and jobs creation even if long distance trade transiting through Afghanistan and neighbors takes longer to develop. Despite signing the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit-Trade Agreement (APTTA) in July 2010, Afghanistan seeks alternative transit routes to have access to seaports, inter alia through Chabahar in Iran.  Membership of Afghanistan to the Transport Corridor of Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) is one of our priorities that require support of all participating countries.

Mr. Chairman,

After decades, the reactivation of Afghanistan in TIR convention has recently been completed and TIR system was officially launched in Afghanistan on 4th September 2013. On the other hand, our membership to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UN-CLOS) is under consideration within the government, aiming to benefit from the fundamental rights, including freedom of transit under the framework of the convention.

Substantial progress has been achieved in the accession process of Afghanistan to the World Trade Organization and the government of Afghanistan is willing to conclude this process by the end of 2014.

Afghanistan fully supports the commitment of the landlocked countries to accelerate the implementation of the Almaty Program of Action envisaged in the Vientiane Consensus 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.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.