Tuesday, September 2, 2014

United Nations’ Security Council debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statment by H.E. Dr Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Security Council debate on the  Situation in Afghanistan

Statement

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening today’s important meeting, which includes the extension of UNAMA’s mandate. I also wish to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency for the month of March. We convey our gratitude to the Secretary-General for his remarks and presentation of his report, which provides a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground. I extend my appreciation to Special Representative Kubiš for joining us today. I wish to thank Foreign Minister Carr for honouring us with his presence and participation.

I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the members of the Council for the spirit of cooperation and openness shown during the course of negotiations. A special thanks goes to Ambassador Quinlan, and his team at the Australian Mission, for the able manner in which they led the process.

Mr. President,

In just two days, the Afghan New Year will begin, a year in which transition to full Afghan responsibility is central to our efforts, a year that will take us to the next elections, a year to bring an end to war, and a year of building confidence and resilience.

Since the adoption of UNAMA’s mandate last year, Afghanistan and the international community undertook a new focus on the needs of the transition period, which involves strengthening peace and security and the realization of national priorities. Together with the international community, we developed the parameters of future cooperation to ensure building a peaceful, stable, prosperous Afghanistan that is able to stand on its own feet. We did this through continuing dialogue with our partners, and agreements made in Chicago last May, at the Heart of Asia conference in Kabul in June and in Tokyo in July. More will need to be done to crystallize all aspects of cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community, including the shaping of our relations with the region.

Mr. President,

A successful and orderly transition to Afghan ownership and leadership is about a continuous focus on five priority areas:

First, strengthening Afghan national sovereignty and national ownership and leadership are central to transition. After more than a decade of shared efforts, strengthening of sovereignty entails normalization through security, political and economic transition. For the Afghan people, national sovereignty means taking full responsibility for their destiny.

With the announcement of the 4th tranche of transition this past December, assumption of full security responsibility by Afghan forces is more tangible than ever. By the end of this stage, eighty-seven percent of the Afghan population will be living in areas where Afghan security forces are in charge of security.

The Afghan people are keenly focused on a successful political transition, and all eyes are on the election next spring. The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fair, democratic, transparent and inclusive elections, in which the men and women of Afghanistan will again shape their political future. Preparations for elections are well underway. There is overwhelming consensus that a successful and credible election will be necessary for stability and lasting peace.

At the same time, peace talks and reconciliation with the armed opposition are essential for a successful election. The Afghan Government is doing its utmost to ensure the success of the reconciliation process. The High Peace Council has recently taken necessary steps to galvanize the reconciliation efforts. The support of the international community and in particular some countries in the region are important for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process. As we work to move the peace process forward, the role of the Security Council will remain imperative; and we welcome the adoption of SC resolution 2082, which refined the Taliban sanctions regime in view of Afghanistan’s leadership of the reconciliation process.

Second, during transition and the decade of transformation to follow, the relationship between Afghanistan and our international partners will evolve. Strategic partnership agreements, such as those we finalized in the last two years, are key for shaping long-term relationships and for stability during transition and beyond. Afghanistan has established bilateral strategic partnerships with a number of countries including the agreement between Afghanistan and the US signed in May, which was followed by recognition of Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally. Talks are ongoing to conclude the security agreement between the two countries, which will be finalized in due course. Just last month, we signed a strategic partnership with Norway. We are now defining parameters of similar partnerships with Denmark and Finland. With the transition, Afghanistan is entering a new era of relations with international partners, and we are committed to basing our strategic cooperation on bilateral frameworks, an important step toward normalization of the situation.

Our close partnership with NATO has been a significant source of progress for stabilization efforts. We look forward to furthering our partnership into the transformation decade ahead. In this context, we welcome the important discussions which took place at the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meetings in Brussels on 21-22 February, where NATO took concrete steps toward planning improved capabilities and reinforced their commitment to NATO’s post-2014 role of training, advising and assisting Afghan National Security Forces. Such strategic cooperation will ensure the future sustainability of Afghan National Security Forces.

Third, economic transition and aid delivery will be crucial for the sustainability of transition. This requires the commitment of the international community for supporting our self-reliance strategy through the transformation decade. The Tokyo conference last July was about not letting the drawdown of international combat forces affect Afghanistan’s strides toward stability and prosperity. It will be important to see how realization of the mutual commitments made in Tokyo will help us to address humanitarian and development challenges essential for not only stability but sustainability in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is committed to upholding the agreements made in Tokyo, which include commitments in the areas of equitable elections, good governance and rule of law, human right including women’s rights, and inclusive and sustainable development. We look forward to continuing to work with our international partners on the basis of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.

The economic transition is also about improving aid effectiveness, ensuring alignment with national priorities, and accountability and transparency of aid spending. Aid delivery and efficiency are particularly important at a time in which we not only face economic instability as a result of conflict, but unemployment and poverty remain significant problems. Capacity building for Afghan institutions to address the challenges ahead will be essential. It is crucial that the international community’s support is in line with national priorities and is channeled through the Afghan budget as agreed at the 2010 Kabul Conference. It is also important that aid delivery is based on emerging needs on the ground, and is directed to areas where need is greatest. Afghanistan is ready to be held accountable for any penny it spends, and we believe the commitments made in Tokyo will facilitate a sustainable economic future for Afghanistan.

Fourth, relations with Afghanistan’s neighbours and countries in our greater region are critical for stability and progress. Afghanistan is developing its bilateral and multilateral relations in all areas with countries in the region. We are in the centre of the Heart of Asia process, and see this cooperation as essential for peace and stability. Our partnerships with all countries in the region can be mutually beneficial; Afghanistan can serve as an economic bridge in an increasingly globalized region that is seeking progress and prosperity. At the Heart of Asia meeting in Kabul in June 2012, participating countries agreed upon a series of confidence building measures (CBMs) regarding a range of issues, a number of which were endorsed in February in Baku. We look forward to the next ministerial meeting in Almaty in April.

We are engaged with a number of countries on our path to normalization, which includes helping our reconciliation process. Most recently we have continued trilateral discussions with Pakistan and the UK as well as other forums to help cooperation. We are hopeful about the outcome that will result from our joint efforts.

Fifth, successful transition will require effective partnership with the UN. Since 2001, the UN has been at the centre of the coordination of international efforts in Afghanistan. We appreciate the important role it has played. More recently, we have seen how the UN is adjusting its role to meet the needs of transition. In this regard, the UN underwent a comprehensive review of its activities in Afghanistan in 2011; and in his recent report, the Secretary-General emphasizes the importance of realigning the relationship between the international community and Government of Afghanistan, and reflection on the UN’s role beyond transition.

As we complete transition, and transfer full responsibility to the Afghan Government, we can envisage normalization of the UN’s activities in the years to come. Aid coherence, One UN, and greater accountability are important for Afghanistan, the UN itself, and donor countries. Afghanistan looks forward to close cooperation with UNAMA in the coming year as it continues its efforts toward the priority areas of good offices in support of Afghan-led political processes, human rights, development coherence, and coordination of humanitarian assistance. In this regard, we welcome the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate, which has continually evolved to reflect and reinforce the principles of Afghan ownership and leadership.

Mr. President,

The end of transition will signal the beginning of a new chapter, one marked by national resilience and the strategic goal of self-reliance. While the nature of the international community’s engagement with Afghanistan is evolving, their continued support will be vital. Full realization of sovereignty and self-reliance will make Afghanistan a more effective partner for the world, but achieving this requires the trust, confidence and long-term commitment of international community. Afghanistan looks forward to lasting cooperation with our international partners toward enduring peace, stability, and prosperity in the country.

I thank you.

Video

 

“New Approaches to the Security Council Reform”

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and

increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters  At the meeting on

“New Approaches to the Security Council Reform”

Rome, Italy

4 February 2013

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would first like to extend my appreciation to our Co-Chairs the Honourable Minister Giulio Terzi and Secretary of State Gonzalo De Benito of Spain, for hosting this important Ministerial Meeting and for their earlier remarks. I also wish to thank the Italian Government for their hospitality in bringing us together again in the historic city of Rome.

For me, as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, it is encouraging to see capitals, like our hosts today, investing in the reform process by organising meetings such as this third conference here in Rome. An active engagement of capitals is a key component in the reform process. These international meetings are an important factor in this equation and I welcome the pertinent questions framed in the concept paper for this meeting.

In New York we have undergone eight rounds of negotiations on Security Council reform. Our most recent round saw marked progress in regards to deepening interaction and dialogue amongst Member States. We witnessed a notable increase in the momentum of the process, and the beginning of real give and take. This is progress which should not be lost.

The eighth round allowed the membership to study in depth and discuss the proposals of five groupings of Member States. However, the focus on the five Member States’ initiatives has meant that there has not been an opportunity to fully explore all models for Security Council reform. It could prove to be productive to address these options in the current session of the General Assembly.

Together, since 2009, we have created a number of milestones. Member States came together around the idea of text based negotiations, which reflects the positions of all Member States. The next logical step from here, as suggested in my letter of 25 July 2012, would be to work towards genuine give and take based on a concise working document. It is my hope that this suggestion, and others contained within my letter, even if they are not a point of agreement for all, they can be points for discussion. As Chair I am committed to moving the negotiations forward, impartial to any position and yet partial to progress.

I have undertaken a number of consultations with Member States and groupings of States in the last months. I will be continuing these consultations in the coming weeks with all who wish to discuss the way forward during the 67th Session of the General Assembly. This continuing interaction with Member States will help to shape our collective thinking about the progress of Security Council reform negotiations this year. After this period of consultations we will need to re-focus our efforts within informal plenary, allowing all Member States to weigh in on our next steps during this General Assembly session.

Revision three of the text is now undergoing an update to reflect letters received from Member States, to ensure all positions are correctly reflected in the text. As a result of this update, the text will stand as an accurate reflection of all the positions on the table, to be used by Member States as a point of reference and possibly a tool for negotiations.

Early reform was envisioned by our leaders in 2005 and is encapsulated in the World Summit Outcome Document. Our effort towards this objective requires genuine political will from all stake holders in the process. As I outlined in my letter, to ensure that the current process of the Intergovernmental Negotiations is truly assisting us towards an early reform, it should not be seen as an open-ended process. There is a widespread reluctance against “artificial deadlines” but there is an equally widespread demand for concrete results.

Member States have expressed a wish for negotiations in which they can undergo genuine give and take. To achieve this, it would be helpful to hear from Member States about what would bring the process to this point and how Member States intend on contributing to that. In my view, this conversation would be central to our next discussions about Security Council reform, whether here in Rome or with all Member States at the United Nations in New York.

This conference’s focus on “new approaches” is important. We all agree that Member States must be the drivers of this process so it is indeed time for Member States to use the tools available to explore any new and creative initiatives through cross grouping collective efforts towards our common goal of a Council that reflects today’s realities.

I would once again like to thank our hosts here in Rome, Minister Terzi and his colleagues, for this opportunity to bring together distinguished participants. I am personally thankful for his commitment to this process in support of our efforts, one which we have shared since the Intergovernmental Negotiations began in the 63rd General Assembly session. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him and all Member States.

A colleague told me last night at dinner, that it is now the Luna year of the snake. In the Chinese calendar this is a symbol of wisdom. I hope that such a message will boost our collective effort towards Security Council reform this year.

 

Thank you.

 

Comprehensive Approach to Counter Terrorism

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Security Council debate on

Comprehensive Approach to Counter Terrorism

Madame President,

I’d like to begin by congratulating you on Pakistan’s assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council, and also by expressing appreciation for convening today’s important meeting addressing an issue of special importance and relevance to my country, Afghanistan.

I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate our condemnation of the terrorist attacks which took place in Quetta and the Swat Valley, leaving more than 100 innocent people dead, and many more wounded. These horrific incidents reaffirm that terrorism is still a formidable threat. That is why we all must redouble our efforts to defeat this menace.

My delegation is pleased to know that the Security Council continues to give serious attention to the fight against terrorism. In May of last year, the Council held a high-level meeting on threats to international peace and security posed by terrorist acts. The outcome of that meeting underscored the changing nature of the terrorist threat, and the need for a strengthened global response in dealing with the problem. Today, more than ever before, the fight against terrorism is being conducted in a more result-oriented, balanced and integrated manner.

Madame President,

Afghanistan has lived with, and suffered from terrorism for more than two-decades. It wasn’t too long ago, when the Afghanistan’s territory was used by Al-Qaeda and affiliate groups not only as a site for brutal attacks against the Afghan people, but as a staging ground for terrorist attacks around the world. Over the past eleven years, since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has made important headway in its fight against terrorism, and in transforming into a more peaceful, stable, and democratic society.

Despite progress made thus far, terrorism and insecurity remain serious challenges facing the Afghan people. The effects of terrorism are felt in the entirety of Afghan society, resulting from attacks on innocent civilians, including women and men, tribal and religious elders, members of civil society, and even young school children. Just last month, in another cowardly attack, a terrorist posing as a peace negotiator carried out a suicide bombing against our Chief of Intelligence, Mr. Asadullah Khaled. Gratefully, the assassination plot failed, and Mr. Khaled is now recovering successfully. Such acts will in no way weaken the determination of Afghans to defeat terrorism and succeed in their journey for peace and prosperity.

Our comprehensive counter-terrorism approach, central to our national security strategy, is being carried out by our national security institutions.  At the operational level, scores of terrorists and enemy combatants have been captured and brought to justice. Through intelligence gathering, we have subverted hundreds of terrorist plots in various parts of the country. Operating with increased capability, our security forces are increasingly taking charge of combat operations nationwide, including in counter-terrorism operations.

Madame President,

Insecurity and terrorism are not only a threat for Afghanistan, but for our wider region, which we hope will be dealt with fully and effectively, within the framework of our joint efforts with regional partner countries.

We, therefore, cannot overstate the importance of regional cooperation. Over the past year, we have escalated efforts to defeat terrorism, improve security and ensure prosperity in our part of the world. To this effect, we are making important progress through bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral mechanisms, as well as through regional efforts such as the “Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan.”

With Pakistan we have enhanced our cooperation in a number of areas, including counter-terrorism efforts in order to bring lasting peace, security and stability to both our countries.

Consistent with our struggle against terrorism, we attach high importance to the body of legal instruments concerning this problem. Afghanistan is party to 13 international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. In this regard, relevant ministries and governmental agencies are working closely towards implementation of national legislation. I would be remiss in failing to praise the important work being done by the counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies of the Security Council – the 1267/1989, 1373 and 1540 committees, respectively.  Afghanistan has, and will continue to present national reports in regards to implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

Madame President,

The role of the UN lies at the core of an effective fight against terrorism. The 3rd biennial review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, conducted last June in the General Assembly, marks another milestone in strengthening the UN’s counter-terrorism efforts and has generated new impetus in the efforts of States against the global threat. Furthermore, we believe greater synergy and coordination among the relevant UN bodies and agencies will enable our organization to enhance cooperation, internationally and regionally, as efficiently as possible. In this regard, we look forward to further discussions on the topic of the appointment of a UN counter-terrorism coordinator.

We also commend the important work being done by the counter-terrorism implementation task force (CTITF). Through various initiatives, such as workshops in different regions, including Central Asia, the task-force is playing an important role in helping States build their counter-terrorism capacities. Another important development was the creation of the UN counter-terrorism center in November of last year. We are confident the center will go a long way in enhancing coordination efforts.

Madame President,

The global counter-terrorism strategy underscores a holistic approach in the fight against terrorism. Our success is dependent on the extent to which we are able to further progress in a number of areas. The dangerous link between terrorism and transnational organized crime must be broken. The problem of terrorist safe-havens, alongside the outstanding issue of financial and logistical resources made available to terrorists have yet to be resolved.  These are real problems that require real solutions. Moreover, we believe that conflict prevention and resolution are essential facets of the counter-terrorism effort; the UN’s role is of particular importance in this regard.

Additionally, ensuring job opportunities for youth, and poverty eradication will help curtail recruitment of new individuals to terrorist networks. We highlight, in this connection, the activities of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in promoting development for all.  It goes without saying that terrorism is a common enemy, which doesn’t discriminate against any particular religion, nationality or culture. Everyone is a target. We call for increased measures to strengthen inter-religious and cultural-dialogue and understanding.

Madame President,

In conclusion, I would like to underscore Afghanistan’s long-standing commitment to the fight against international terrorism. As a prime victim against this threat, we are well aware of the devastating effects which it brings upon societies. Yet, we are also well aware of the progress that can be made in this regard through joint and concerted efforts. We value greatly the support of our international partners over the past eleven years in our struggle against this global threat, and look forward to our continuing partnership with the international community on the way forward.

I thank you.