Friday, October 24, 2014

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations at the Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

25 June 2014
NEW YORK

Thank you, Mr. President. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr. Jan Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for briefing the council via video and for his leadership of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, particularly at this very important juncture in my country’s history, and I thank him in particular for his continued commitment to Afghanistan throughout the transition. I also welcome the presence of Mr. Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, here today. I am grateful to Australia, and particularly to Ambassador Quinlan, for their continued leadership on Afghanistan on the Council. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the Secretary-General’s recent report on the Situation in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

This is a pivotal moment for Afghanistan; we are at the last stage of our country’s historic presidential elections. This democratic transition is the cornerstone of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned progression to peace, stability, and prosperity.

Mr. President,

The Presidential elections on 5 April and on 14 June generated an unprecedented surge of democratic spirit in Afghanistan. It is remarkable to witness my country emerging after decades of conflict as a vibrant young democracy, one characterized by widespread engagement in the political process. This has been demonstrated by rallies attended by thousands, debates that were broadcast and viewed throughout the country, media coverage and information exchange on phone, computer, and television screens, and candidates’ public outreach, not only in the capital but, significantly, country-wide.

In an exceptional show of faith in democracy, Afghans cast their ballots despite intimidation by the Taliban and other extremist and terrorist groups so that they could have a say in the country’s political destiny. They dipped their fingers in ink, boldly asserting their right to choose a leader in defiance of threats to their lives and safety. In doing so they voted not only for a candidate, but also for peace, for the advancement of the gains made in the last 12 years and for a better future.

They did so by the millions, in numbers that exceeded expectations in both the first and second rounds. All segments of the population participated, including women and all ethnic groups, in all provinces of the country, in the cities and in the rural areas, and in the South, North, East and West.

Mr. President,

Dozens of national institutions and thousands of citizens played a role in ensuring the administration, integrity, and legitimacy of the first entirely Afghan-managed electoral process. Thousands of independent domestic and international observers and candidate monitors covered the polling stations and continue to oversee the entire electoral cycle.

We are grateful to the international community for standing with the Afghan people and for providing technical, financial and logistical resources to enable Afghan institutions to successfully hold elections. We appreciate the support of the United Nations, including the United Nations Development Programme, to national electoral institutions in their management of a peaceful democratic transition.

Mr. President,

We note with pride the professionalism and competence exhibited by Afghan security institutions during the election period. Their dedication allowed elections to take place despite serious security threats. Moreover, careful planning including through training of hundreds of female police and over 2000 civilians, and the recruitment of over 13,000 female searchers, allowed for the active participation of diverse segments of the population on polling day.

We were deeply saddened by the tragic loss and injury of civilians, election personnel, observers and Afghan security forces who put their lives at risk to protect the future of the country. We deplore the attacks against the infrastructure of election institutions, including the central office of the Independent Election Commission in Kabul and even attacks on candidates and their supporters. However, the Afghan people’s near blanket defiance of extremist threats sends a strong message that the Taliban no longer have the ability to destabilize the country. Despite the tragic loses suffered during the elections, peace and democracy have clearly triumphed in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

We note the steps taken by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) to detect fraudulent votes and to manage complaints in the first round, including through the blacklisting of electoral workers liable for infractions. Election bodies are again managing issues raised regarding the electoral process in the second round, attempting to avoid potential crises and to protect the legitimacy of our historic elections. These efforts aim to assure the integrity and transparency of the electoral process and uphold constitutional and electoral law.

We appreciate the United Nations’ readiness to stand up for the interests of the Afghan people by supporting the integrity of the Afghan-led, Afghan-managed electoral process, which will lead to the establishment of a new Government that legitimately reflects the will of the Afghan people. We see the United Nations’ support of the Afghan process as a positive step towards addressing the political concerns of the second round.

Mr. President,

As Afghanistan transitions for the first time from one democratically elected president to the next, we continue to focus on the steps necessary for the country to move decisively towards full ownership and leadership in the Transformation Decade.

Afghan security institutions are assuming full responsibility throughout the country as combat operations by international forces near their conclusion. The future elected president of Afghanistan will continue to prioritize a constructive relationship with our international partners, starting by signing a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, and followed by the finalization of the agreement on NATO’s training, advising and assistance role in post-2014 Afghanistan. In this regard we look forward to the upcoming NATO Summit in Cardiff on 4 September.

The country’s progress towards sustainability and self-sufficiency depends upon the ability of Afghan institutions to perform key governance and service delivery functions and to promote economic development. This will require the continued support and assistance of the international community, as set out in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), adopted in Tokyo in 2012. We welcome the next Ministerial Meeting on the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework to be held in London in November of this year as a forum for renewing and reinvigorating the mutual commitments necessary for Afghanistan’s long-term prosperity.

As Afghanistan moves towards a new beginning, the inter-linked challenges of achieving security, peace, good governance, and development will continue to loom large. We were reminded of long-term challenges to development last month by the devastating floods in Badakhshan province. In addition, we recognize that illegal drugs and narcotics continue to undercut our legitimate development path, and for this reason we will continue to implement our National Drugs Control Strategy and call on our regional and international partners to focus on solutions which reduce demand and combat regional and global illicit networks. Understanding that terrorism and extremism continue to be the greatest impediment to development in Afghanistan and the region, we will continue to focus on peace and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban as well as other measures including the Anti-Money Laundering law recently passed by the Upper House of the Afghan National Parliament. The active role of all citizens- women, men and children- will be vital to overcoming our shared challenges in this regard.

Mr. President,

Regional engagement will continue to be crucial to the peace, stability and success of the Transformation Decade. We believe that it is important to build upon the achievements of the last decade to solidify and expand a workable framework of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms with our neighbors and the wider region, as well as strengthening relations with the Islamic world. To this end, we look forward to the upcoming Heart of Asia Ministerial meeting to be held in Tianjin, China, on 29 August.

As Afghanistan expands its multifaceted cooperation with our regional partners, we expect our neighbors to continue to work towards regional stability. The recent operation of Pakistani forces in Northern Waziristan, which led to the displacement of thousands of families to Afghanistan’s Khost province and the associated loss of life, is a serious source of concern for the government of Afghanistan. We urge the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to prioritize the greater security of Afghanistan and the region at this crucial time.

Mr. President,

The Afghan government is committed to a swift and successful conclusion of the electoral process. Preparations are well underway for the first ever democratic and peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan. All government institutions have commenced their transition planning and an inter-ministerial committee has been assigned to prepare for the official inauguration of our incoming President. We look forward to welcoming the dignitaries of all our international and regional partners to this grand occasion.

When we do so, Mr. President, we will remember that Afghanistan and our international partners have made tremendous sacrifices to ensure that war remains a relic of the past. It is essential that the country does not return to the days when bullets rather than ballots decided the country’s political fate. In the post-Taliban Afghanistan, no tenet has been more cherished than the idea that stability and legitimacy is a profound necessity. This principle has motivated considerable investment in terms of dollars spent and lives lost, and its curtailment would carry incurring consequences for the country and its people. It is our fundamental responsibility to ensure that peace and democracy are secure in Afghanistan today, tomorrow, and throughout the Transformation decade.

I thank you.

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin at the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider meeting the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects

 1st meeting
 Monday, 16 June 2014
 10 a.m.
(New York, 16-20 June 2014)
 CR.3 (CB)     

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank you for the trust you have bestowed upon me by electing me today as Chair for BMS5. It is a great honour for Afghanistan. After close to three decades of armed conflict, Afghanistan has been one of the main victims of the illicit small arms and light weapons trade. During the long conflict in my country, millions of illegal arms and light weapons were imported or trafficked into our territory and have been used to kill and injure hundreds of thousands of Afghans. Terrorists’ access to illicit arms has fueled the cycle of violence in my country, prolonging conflict and affecting the lives of all citizens.  As a result of this experience, my Government is highly sensitive to the negative impact of illicit weapons around the world.

 

I will work to the best of my abilities to ensure that BMS5 is a success and that the outcome of the meeting will help address the issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in a practical and comprehensive manner. Your support and continued active engagement are critical for the attainment of that goal.

 

The Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument remain the cornerstone of our efforts to tackle the complex issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which continues to wreak havoc in many regions and delay efforts aimed at promoting socio-economic development.

 

The Biennial Meetings of States provide us with the opportunity to take stock of our efforts, and identify innovative measures aimed at improving our collective approach in the fight against the illicit trade in, and uncontrolled proliferation of, these weapons.

 

We have five days to consider the three important topics of stockpile management, the International Tracing Instrument and international cooperation and assistance and to agree on a consensual outcome document.

 

Addressing illicit small arms and light weapons has never been more timely.  The success of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda is contingent on the prevention and reduction of armed violence. Effective action against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, simultaneously at the national, regional and global levels, is central to achieving any of those goals.  Indeed, people and societies can only fully realize their development goals if their communities are safe and secure.

I am confident that you will keep the larger significance of our work in mind when we work towards a consensually agreed outcome of this week’s meeting.

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations 4th Biennial Review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy United Nations New York

Thank you, Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation for the Fourth Biennial Review of the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (UNGCTS). I also commend the Turkish Mission’s role, particularly the tireless efforts of my good friend, H.E. Ambassador Y. Halit Çevik and his team, for facilitating negotiations on the Fourth Biennial Review.  Additionally, I would like to welcome the Secretary General’s recent report on the activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). I would like to add the following in my national capacity.

Mr. President,

My country is one of the biggest victims of terrorism in the world. Afghan men, women, and children are affected every day by terrorism and violence.  As a result of this pernicious threat, Afghans regularly see their loved ones killed in suicide and roadside bombings, their clinics and schools destroyed, and their important public figures assassinated. Past weeks have seen some particularly horrific attacks.  My government condemns in the strongest terms the recent attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, the kidnapping of 35 University professors Ghaznhi province this week,the recent assassination attempt against one of the two frontrunners in Afghanistan’s presidential election, and the gruesome attack on personnel of the Turkish EMTA Construction Company in Jalalabad Province.

My government also condemns acts of terrorism all over the world, in all its forms and manifestations. We were deeply saddened by the most recent act of terror committed in our neighboring country, Pakistan, where militants attacked the Karachi airport and killed over a dozen individuals. We condemn the unforgiveable acts of Boko Haram in Nigeria and we also deplore the violence in Mosul, Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups, and the gruesome kidnapping of Turkish diplomats in that country.

 Recognizing the continuing threat of terrorism in our country, counter-terrorism policies are central to Afghanistan’s national security strategy. Over the past decade, Afghanistan, together with our international partners, has made major strides in addressing and weakening terrorist networks in the country. These efforts continue as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) assume a greater role in all security activities across Afghanistan, including counter-terrorism operations.  The increasing capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces were evident during the recent first round of elections in my country, when Afghan National Security Forces secured polling centers around the country and ensured the safety of Afghan voters on Election Day.

Moreover, we have strengthened our counter-terrorism legal framework to appropriately address the threat of terrorism in the county. Afghanistan is party to 13 international conventions and protocols concerning terrorism, and we have adopted a multitude of national laws to combat terrorism and other forms of organized crime. These include the Law on Combating the Financing of Terrorism and the Law on Combating Terrorist Offences.

We are working closely with the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate, and have submitted relevant national reports on implementation. We also work closely to implement relevant United Nations sanctions regimes, and commend the valuable work of the sanctions committees, including the Al-Qaida sanctions regime mandated by Security Council resolution 1267, the Taliban sanctions regime, mandated by Security Council resolution 1988, as well as the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.  While we acknowledge the effectiveness of sanctions, we call for further regional cooperation in the implementation of sanctions to ensure their further success.

Mr. President,

Terrorism is a menace that plagues the whole region. It is crucial that Afghanistan’s neighbors and countries in the region play their role in contributing to peace and security in my country. My government calls for putting an end to safe havens and sanctuaries beyond our borders, which have been used by terrorists and insurgent groups against the people of Afghanistan, international forces, and the wider region.

For our part, Afghanistan has intensified cooperation at the regional level, including through dialogue with regional partners through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral processes to effectively deal with the problems of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations.  To eliminate terrorism and bring peace and prosperity, my government is also actively pursuing reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, including through initiatives aimed at limiting extremist violence at its very roots.

To this end in September 2013, Afghanistan’s High Peace Council organized an International Conference for Islamic Scholars and Peace from across the globe in Kabul to discuss ways that religious leaders can contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as in the region. During the conference, Islamic scholars declared suicide attacks un-Islamic, and emphasized the need to use religious practices and teachings of the Quran and Islam to eliminate violence and build peace.  We believe such initiatives are instrumental in promoting a culture of peace and dialogue.

Mr. President,

When the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, it demonstrated a collective international commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  Today, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and all four of its associated Pillars, has been implemented at national, regional and international levels.  The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) has convened a number of important initiatives, at many of which Afghanistan has been in active participation. We applaud the Task Force Office for organizing a high-level international counter-terrorism focal points’ conference on addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism in Geneva in June 2013 and welcome its outcome.

We express our deep concern about the evolving challenge of non-state actors seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery.  We call on Member States to take necessary steps to ensure that non-state actors and terrorists will not gain access to these types of weapons and we commend United Nations bodies and Member States for providing capacity building assistance to states seeking implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.  To this end, the recent seminar on the contribution of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 in regional and global disarmament held in March 2014 in Kazakhstan was an important step forward.

 Mr. President,

Terrorism continues to threaten the peace and security in Afghanistan, and in the region. But ultimately terrorism is a global threat.  It is not limited to any religion, region, country, national group or ethnicity.   We continue to watch with horror the upsurge in terrorist attacks around the world not only in our region but also in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Afghanistan deplores all acts of terror in any region by any group, and is committed to the eradication of terror at its roots.  To this end, we commend the efforts of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and call for its widespread implementation moving forward.

 

Thank you.