Saturday, April 19, 2014

United Nations At the Security Council debate on The Situation in Afghanistan

Statement  by H.E. 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,

It is truly a pleasure to be among the Members of the Security Council today, at this critical juncture on Afghanistan’s path to peace and prosperity. I congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of September, and convey our appreciation for Germany’s continual support and assistance for Afghanistan during its tenure on the Council. Let me also convey a warm welcome to my good friend and colleague the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Jan Kubis. We thank him for his clear presentation of the Secretary General’s comprehensive report.

Mr. President,

We meet at an important time, when Afghanistan is transitioning confidently into a vibrant, self-reliant and sovereign nation; a nation that is increasingly taking full charge of its destiny. The Afghan people are inspired by the prospect of a future free from violence and war. And thanks to our joint efforts, important progress towards that endeavor continues.

As we speak, Afghanistan has surpassed the halfway point on our transition to full security responsibility. With the commencement of the third tranche of security transition in May, 75% of the country will be under Afghan security responsibility by the end of November.  Our progress is on track to complete security transition by the end of 2013. The Afghan army and police are showing more resilience and effectiveness, as they take on more responsibility in meeting the country’s security needs.

Needless to say, sustainability of the ANSF is inextricably linked to the international community’s long-term support.  The outcome of the recent Chicago NATO Summit was a clear manifestation of our international partners’ resolute commitment to a strong and effective Afghan national security force. We also welcome NATO’s decision to develop a new “training, advising and assistance” role, which will take effect in 2014, and look forward to working with our relevant partners on the scope and mandate of the new mission.

Mr. President,

The Afghan people are encouraged by the international community’s assurance to helping them secure peace and prosperity throughout transition, and the Transformation decade (2015-2024). In this regard, commitments made at the Bonn Conference last year, the NATO Summit this past May, and more recently, at the Tokyo Conference in July are crucial for our long-term success.

The Tokyo Conference marked the beginning of a new relationship between Afghanistan and our international friends; one based on a result oriented cooperation, to be conducted within the “mutual accountability framework.” We expect the international community to meet its commitment in channeling assistance through our core-budget, and aligning its aid with the Afghan National Priority Programme. Combating corruption, strengthening governance, and consolidating the rule of law will remain key priorities for us. President Karzai’s decree of July of this year is a significant step forward in our counter-corruption efforts. And it will be implemented by clear and time-bound measures by all Government Ministries, agencies and departments towards full accountability and transparency.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is regaining its legitimate place in the region and the world, through playing an active role within the neighborhood and international community. Our multilateral agreements and strategic partnerships involve long-term commitments between Afghanistan and our international partners. The partnerships we have formed, both within our neighborhood and beyond, are essential to preserving the historic achievements of Afghanistan’s young democracy and securing the future peace and stability of the country. Thus far, we have concluded strategic, long-term partnership agreements with United States of America, India, China, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Australia. We see these partnerships as the key for our collective fight against the twin menaces of terrorism and extremism and for our future peace and stability through supporting our evolving national ownership.

Mr. President,

As we continue our transition, with bold steps toward strengthening Afghan sovereignty and national ownership, the enemies of Afghanistan continue to make desperate attempts to undermine our progress towards a brighter future. Terrorist attacks have been increasingly inflicted on families and innocent Afghan men, women and children in many parts of the country, putting a brutal and tragic halt to their peaceful lives.

Undoubtedly, the unremitting violence plaguing Afghanistan is the result of the continued military, financial and ideological support enjoyed by terrorists, and the presence of sanctuaries and safe-havens outside our borders.

Mr. President,

While the fight against terrorism will continue, the next few years of the political and security transition are vital for a stable future for Afghanistan. We are working diligently to ensure a fruitful result of peace and reconciliation efforts underway. Our inclusive peace and reconciliation process seeks to build trust and confidence among all Afghans. We are determined to bring to the folds of society those elements of the armed opposition willing to renounce violence, cut ties with terrorist groups, and accept the Afghan constitution. The High Peace Council has revitalized its approach to reconciliation efforts. The international community and our region have an important part to play. The role of the UN Security Council will be imperative to this process. We thank the Council for its support of our reconciliation efforts by meeting delisting requests, which we have presented. By the same token, we hope the new mandate of the Taliban sanctions committee will entail required adjustments, in recognition of the importance of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process – so that the sanctions regime is more responsive and flexible and used in an even more effective, positive way to encourage those willing to join this process. Therefore, we look forward to working closely with the Council members to amend the resolution in a way that further benefits and accelerates the Afghan peace process.

Mr. President,

The violence in Afghanistan has had a drastic effect on the security and well-being of our citizens. We express our serious concern about the growing number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan – the majority of which are caused by the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Meanwhile, loss of innocent life and harm to populations has also occurred in the course of NATO operations. The loss of even one innocent life is one too many. We underscore, yet again, the need to exert all measures necessary to protect civilian populations.

Mr. President,

The greatest challenges to peace and stability in Afghanistan, such as terrorism, extremism, and narcotic drugs, are shared regionally and internationally. Our common threats require cooperative solutions. We are working with regional countries, and other partners for a comprehensive response to these menaces. Launched in November of last year, the Istanbul Process is gaining momentum. The process was further crystallized at the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Kabul in June, with the prioritization of key confidence-building measures. We look forward to coming together with our Heart of Asia partners in less than a week from now at the next Senior Officials Meeting in this city.

Mr. President,

Let me now turn to a matter of deep and serious concern to my Government and the Afghan people. The shelling of areas of Kunar province of eastern Afghanistan from across the Durand Line, has led to unprecedented anger and frustration among Afghans from all walks of life. We reiterate our call for an immediate and complete end to these acts, which have taken the lives of dozens of Afghans, mainly civilians, while leaving many more wounded. We remain in close contact with the Government of Pakistan to address this issue, holistically and resolutely.

Failure to end such attacks risks jeopardizing Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations, with potential negative consequences for necessary bilateral cooperation for peace, security and economic development in our two countries and the wider region. Afghanistan desires close and fruitful relations with Pakistan, a neighbour with whom we share historical, cultural and traditional ties.

Mr. President,

As we work to tackle the challenges on the road ahead, let us not lose sight of the historic, transformative successes made thus far. Significant advances in social and economic development are clearly evident. Millions of students, boys and girls, men and women are enrolled in primary and higher education. The majority of Afghans now have access to basic health services; and Afghans are increasingly taking part in the democratic processes, exercising their right to shape their own destiny. While we have seen such changes unfolding throughout the last decade, we can be proud that today the initiatives underway in regards to development are increasingly Afghan-driven and Afghan-led, with support from the international community.  This characteristic is crucial for the sustainability of development efforts and for helping Afghanistan realize its full potential.

Mr. President,

With the next Presidential elections fast approaching, we are fully committed to ensuring a transparent election process, free of any external interference.

Mr. President,

After over three decades of struggle and suffering, we are moving ahead with Afghanistan’s recovery and renewed strength. Afghans recognize the important indications of our sovereignty. We are determined to further our efforts toward national ownership across the board, as the most effective way to ensure lasting peace and security to our country.

Before concluding, allow me to register the Afghan Government’s strong condemnation of the recent senselessly provocative acts of insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). While acknowledging our fellow Muslims’ right to peacefully protesting these insults, we deplore any violence resulting from such protests, especially against diplomatic representations anywhere in the world.

The key for Afghanistan’s future success is cooperation, both for our transition and the Transformation Decade to follow. Building trust and confidence with the international community is the basis for our path to security and prosperity. We are pleased that the Security Council is continuing to follow the situation closely, and we are thankful for their support and the support of the United Nations, including on revising UNAMA’s mandate in line with the demands of Afghan sovereignty. With long-term cooperation and partnership in the center of our efforts, we are confident that together we can build a more peaceful, stable Afghanistan.

Thank you, Mr. President!

 

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Heart of Asia Ministerial – Kabul

Kabul, 14 June 2012 — DRAFT

Your Excellency President Karzai,

My Esteemed Co-Chair, Your Excellency Foreign Minister Davotuglu,

Excellencies foreign ministers and heads of delegation from the Heart of Asia countries and the supporting countries to the Istanbul Process,

Distinguished delegates, dear guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

At the outset, let me once again extend my personal and the Afghan foreign government’s collective warm welcome and heartfelt thanks to everyone of you for travelling from near and far to attend today’s historic Heart of Asia Conference in Kabul. It is my sincere hope that your stay in Kabul is both fruitful and enjoyable and that you will take home with you a positive outcome for our deliberations here today and some nice memories from your visit. We are truly privildged to be able to bring together such an august company of leaders in a spirit of friendship, openness and cooperation to discuss the crucial need for sincere, result-oriented cooperation in this critical region, at this critical juncture.

I also wanted to reiterate the gratitude of the Afghan government to the Turkish government and to my brother Foreign Minister Davotuglu personally for Turkey’s leading role in the Istanbul Process and for an exemplary hosting of the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia of November 2, 2011, the first conference in the Istanbul Process, an effort we regard with hope and a sense of renewed promise for a future of real peace, security, stability and prosperity in this region.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

A quick glance back at the past few months since our gathering in Istanbul makes it abundantly clear that this process has been more successful, more productive and enjoyed much stronger ownership and support by the participating countries than just about anybody expected, especially those outside our region. In our view, the Istanbul Process is one of the most meaningful, the most concrete and the most promising effort at realizing the vision of sincere, result-oriented cooperation among countries of the Heart of Asia region at least over the past one decade!

There are several characteristics to this unprecedented success of the Istanbul Process. I’ll enumrate only some of the more salient of these characteristics that we’ve observed over the past several months of preparations for today’s conference.

First, and as reflected by His Excellency President Karzai a few minutes ago, there is a more intimate, far greater and far clearer understanding of the intertwined nature of both the challenges and problems but also the great potential and opportunities in our region. It is today impossible to compartmentalize our notions of peace and security for our individual countries – to think, for example, that terrorist sanctuaries in one country or terrorist attacks in another country will not affect both the short- and long-term peace, security and stability of the entire region. It is also equally inconceivable to expect that we in Afghanistan will be able to single-handedly tackle the scourge of narcotics because there are key factors and actors beyond our borders that play a central role in the continued existence of this shared menace.

It is also evident that if allowed to unleash, this region’s truly tremendous potential in human and natural resources; trade, transit and investment; services and other fields can not only tranform the lives of the peoples of this region for the better but significantly contribute to security and prosperity in the broader world.

Second, the Istanbul Process fo far has made clear that if we can muster the will and the commitment, the countries in this region are more than capable of finding workable, consensus-driven solutions for the region’s common challenges and problems.

 

For the first time in ten years, we have agreed to a set of concrete confidence building measures that will take us from rhetoric to action. The seven confidence building measures proposed for adoption in this Conference’s final declaration – agreed to through several high-level preparatory meetings among senior officials from the Heart of Asia countries – cover such areas of cooperation as counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, disaster management, strengthening links among national chambers of commerce, educational and cultural cooperation.

Third, there is strong consensus-driven support from all Heart of Asia countries for our collective decision to follow-up our deliberations and discsusions first in Istanbul and now here through regular consultations among our senior officials and at least once a year at the level of foreign ministers. This in our view is another clear demonstration of our real commitment to making tangible, concrete progress on the confidence building measures we’ve agreed to implement.

Fourth, just as there is strong consensus on the ownership of this process by the participating countries, there is broad and firm support among us for the role of the supporting countries and organizations, represented around this table. The high-level presence of the diverse group of supporters of the Istanbul Process today is a clear sign of the importance and significance of this effort. The presence of supporters underscores the interconnectedness of our world and how security and stability and development in one region, especially in the Heart of Asia region, directly affects security and development worldwide.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Another key element of the Istanbul Process is creating ever closer linkages, coordination and synergy in the Afghanistan-related efforts of regional organizations. Afghanistan is a member of most of these organizations. We believe each one of these organizations have a critical role to play and we’re very happy to have them on board. In this connection, let me reiterate the Afghan government’s satisfaction with our new status as observer country at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and underline our deep gratitude to all SCO member states for their support and welcome.

The participation of the United Nations has been a key pillar of the Istanbul Process.

We the participating countries are all members of the UN and I believe it’s role gives the process greater legitimacy and effectiveness. In particular, we are grateful for the contributions of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) so far, which have been significant and constructive.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Let me repeat myself one more time: we’re more hopeful and more optimistic about making tangible progress on regional cooperation with this Istanbul Process than any other effort so far over the past ten years. Any step we take towards implementing our shared vision within the Istanbul Process will not only be good for peace, security and stability in Afghanistan; real progress on regional cooperation is essential for peace and security in our region.

We in Afghanitan are also determined to reclaim our rightful place in this region – not as an issue, a topic or a problem. Rather, we want to play the role of a regional convenor, connector and mediator in improving confidence and cooperation in the Heart of Asia. We’ve been first in suffering the consequences of a lack of confidence and fragmentation in this region, which has in turn had a direct bearing on peace and security in the region. So, dear friends, Afghanistan’s sincere and real commitment to the Istanbul Process comes from self-interest that is tied to the interests of the region around us.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We all realize that patience is a virture in this collective effort, especially in a region grappling with the legacy and present reality of some real challenges and problems. But we’ll be judged – and I think fairly so – by the steady, concrete progress of our work on taking this crucial process forward one step at a time. We will be watched and judeged by each other, by those supporting us and others. It is, therefore, our fervent hope that we’ll all maintain the perserverance, patience but also farsightedness in moving this process forward.

I thank you all very much for your attention and wish us all a successful conference!

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of H.E. Mr. Jawed Ludin Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan At the United Nations Security Council Debate On The Situation in Afghanistan

Mr. President,

Under-Secretary General Ladsous,

Excellencies,

 

It is an honour to have the opportunity to address the Security Council of the United Nations for the first time.  I convey the gratitude of the Afghan people to all Council members, and the countries you represent, for your commitment to a peaceful Afghanistan, and for maintaining a focus on the evolving situation in my country.

 

Under-Secretary General Ladsous, thank you for your useful and comprehensive briefing and for spending an extended period of time in Afghanistan on your recent visit.  It was a pleasure to join you and Mr. Heitmann in Kabul for the launch of the UNAMA mandate review’s team visit.

 

Mr. President,

 

2011 has been a year of significant milestones for Afghanistan and we Afghans are proud to have been successful in most of the steps we have taken in partnership with the international community.  Of course, as in the years before, every bit of our achievements has come at a price.  Terrorism remains a strong threat, and Afghans have continued to pay huge sacrifices for the vision of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan. However, no threat or demand for sacrifice will deter us from achieving our vision, and we truly appreciate the crucial help of our international friends and partners in this historic struggle.

 

Mr. President,

 

Having always aspired to achieve self-reliance, this past year we finally took the crucial step of beginning the Transition process, which will see Afghanistan’s national security forces take full responsibility for security in the country by end of 2014. With the implementation of the second tranche of transition, announced last month by His Excellency President Hamid Karzai, Afghan forces are taking charge of security for over fifty percent of the country’s population.

 

Allow me to emphasise that, for us Afghans, Transition is not an imposed deadline, or a mere operational benchmark.  Transition is truly the manifestation of our determination to succeed, and to stand on our own feet. It is the guiding framework for all our efforts and, in a fundamental sense, it is the ultimate goal of the partnership we Afghans have had with the international community for the past ten years.

 

Transition, however, is not just about security.  As we move to take full responsibility for defending our country and securing the lives of our people, we are also assuming greater ownership of affairs on the civilian front, including the political process and the development agenda.  Therefore, to make transition meaningful, alongside building up the capacity of our security forces, we are redoubling our efforts to take the peace process forward, improve governance, fight corruption and build the requisite capacities of our government institutions to carry out their sovereign functions effectively and transparently.

 

Mr. President,

 

Speaking of the political solution, I wish to reassure the Council that the Afghan Government remains committed to the Afghan-led peace effort that is aimed at reconciling members of the armed opposition and bringing them to peaceful lives in the society.  You are aware that our peace efforts have, in recent months, faced a number of setbacks, notably the tragic assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, former president and head of the High Peace Council. Nonetheless, at the consultative Loya Jirga last month in Kabul, the Afghan people unanimously reaffirmed the peace process, giving it a renewed impetus. The national gathering conveyed the Afghan people’s desire for the continuation of an inclusive Afghan-led national reconciliation and reintegration process.

 

Through the peace process, we will continue to reach out to the armed opposition, and reconcile those willing to renounce violence, break ties with terrorist organisations, and live peaceful lives under the Constitution.  We believe the process may benefit from the establishment of an office, within or outside Afghanistan, whereby formal talks between relevant Afghan authorities and representatives of armed opposition, including the Taliban, could be facilitated.  Furthermore, we will continue to rely on support from regional countries, in particular the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, without whose support, our peace efforts will not bear the desired results.

 

Mr. President,

 

The role of the region surrounding Afghanistan remains central to the peaceful and prosperous future we Afghans envision for our country.  The threats we share in common, including the menaces of terrorism, narcotics and so on, will not be defeated, nor will peace in Afghanistan ever be achieved, in the absence of constructive, result-oriented cooperation at the regional level. Therefore, over the past ten years, we in Afghanistan have put regional cooperation at the heart of our vision for the future, and we will continue to do so in the future.

 

Thanks to the leadership of the brotherly Republic of Turkey, the ‘Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia’, held in early November in Istanbul, was one visionary step forward towards cooperation and confidence building across the region. We are both hopeful and optimistic that the Istanbul Process will help bring about a new regional environment – one that is characterized by cooperation, integration, confidence, and a shared effort for achieving security and prosperity. This vision has eluded us for far too long.  We will follow up the Istanbul Conference with another Ministerial Level conference to be held in Kabul in June 2012, the preparation of which has already begun in earnest.

 

Mr. President,

 

As the partnership between Afghanistan and the international community evolves through and after the Transition phase, Afghans need the reassurance that our friends from the region and beyond will continue to support our progress towards peace, stability, prosperity and democracy. Thankfully, this assurance was given, in very strong terms, two weeks ago in Germany, where over a hundred countries and international organisations gathered for the ‘International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn’. I wish to express our sincere appreciation to Germany, Afghanistan’s longstanding friend and partner, for hosting this historic conference.

 

The true significance of the Bonn Conference was in reflecting a crucial consensus that exists internationally for supporting a peaceful, sovereign and prosperous future for Afghanistan. This consensus was expressed in a strong language of support and commitment, particularly in setting out the concept of the Transformation Decade of 2015-2025 as a solid basis for the international community’s enduring engagement and support beyond Transition.

 

The Conference also reaffirmed the Kabul Process as the framework for international community’s cooperation with Afghanistan as we continue to transform our country out of a war-dependent economy towards self-reliance.  In this context, we look forward to the Tokyo Conference in July next year as an opportunity to focus on Afghanistan’s future economic agenda.  I thank our Japanese friends for their friendship and for organizing this crucial conference.

 

Mr. President,

 

If the Bonn conference was the demonstration of a consensus at the international level, the consultative Loya Jirga organized on 16 to 19 November in Kabul was its mirror image within Afghanistan, reflecting the unanimity among the Afghan people for partnership and engagement with the international community.  Over two thousand Afghan representatives from all segments of society and all corners of the country came together and, in a historic manifestation of democratic will, gave a resounding affirmation to the Afghan government’s efforts to forge long-term, strategic partnerships with the United States and other countries from within and outside the region.

 

In this context, we have proudly finalized a strategic partnership agreement with our old, historic friend, the Republic of India, and are in the process of negotiating similar agreements with our other friends and partners, based on the principles of mutual respect and the fundamental equality of sovereign nations.  These partnerships will be the building blocks of Afghanistan’s future relations with the international community. They cannot, and will not, represent a threat to any other country in the region or beyond.

 

 

Mr. President,

As we move forward, the role of the UN will remain crucial to Afghanistan’s partnership with the international community. We expect that the ongoing review of the UNAMA’s mandate will produce a more coherent and responsive UN role in Afghanistan and, in this context, welcome the recent visit of the review team to Afghanistan. I look forward to a continued dialogue between Afghanistan, both at the Kabul level and in New York, and the United Nations towards the review, which should reinforce the principles of Afghan ownership and leadership through transition and beyond.

 

Speaking about the UN, may I request Under Secretary General Ladsous that you convey my, and the Afghan people’s, gratitude and deep appreciation to Mr. Steffan De Mistura for his dedicated service and excellent leadership of the UN in Afghanistan.  I personally have enjoyed working with him, and I wish him every success in his future endeavours.  May I also take the opportunity to congratulate Mr. Jan Kubis on his appointment as the new SRSG.  Mr. Kubis’s distinguished career, and the trust invested in him by the Secretary General, assures us of a continued effective leadership of the United Nations in Afghanistan.

 

Mr. President,

 

As we meet today, at the end of the tenth year of what has been a truly historic collaboration between the Afghan people and the international community, allow me to reaffirm Afghanistan’s unwavering determination to achieve a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future in close partnership with the world.  Of course, we have had tremendous achievements together, and we are all aware of the challenges on the way ahead and the imperatives for continued commitment and cooperation.

 

Today, with the tremendous success of the Bonn Conference fresh on our minds, I am here to express appreciation for the international community’s recommitment to Afghanistan’s future, as expressed in Bonn earlier this month. I also thank this august Council for standing behind the Conference conclusions. As Afghanistan moves from Transition to the Transformation Decade, this Council’s guidance, and the international community’s commitment remains as crucial for our future as ever before.  Thank You!