Wednesday, September 17, 2014

“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


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.


Opening Ceremony of Exhibit titled, “Wakhan, an Other Afghanistan” at the United Nations

Talking Points of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Afghanistan to the UN  at the

Opening Ceremony of Exhibit titled, “Wakhan, an Other Afghanistan” at the United Nations

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Welcome, all of you, and thank you for attending this special event.  It is a pleasure to join you here this evening to view for the first time at the United Nations this impressive collection of photos. To all the sponsors that helped make this event possible, I extend my appreciation for your support.
  • I am happy to acknowledge the artists, Fabrice Nadjari and Cedric Houin who photographed their inspirational journey through the Wakhan corridor. Please join me in giving them a round of applause for their impressive work.
  • Fabrice and Cedric went on quite an adventure through parts of Afghanistan that the outside world rarely sees due to its remoteness and geographical isolation.  Through this adventure, they put together these fascinating pictorial images they have brought world-wide attention to one of the most exquisite areas of the country and region.
  • The Wakhan corridor, in the extreme Northeast of Afghanistan, linking Afghanistan and China is where one can see the ultimate beauty of the highest mountains in the world; it is where the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun and Hindu Kush ranges meet. The Wakhan corridor is 220km long, and between 16 and 64km wide, inhabited by some 12,000 people. Here you can see the landscape that represents the natural features of the broader central Asian region. The people of Wakhan share lineage with people from the greater area of central Asia. We see today that this exhibit reflects not only the tangible image of an impressive landscape, but the astonishing resilience of a people that live, where every moment is a struggle against their harsh natural setting.
  • In his masterpiece “The Monuments of Afghanistan,” Warwick Ball says, “The land itself is the natural starting point of any examination of Afghanistan. To the outsider, it is what one first encounters: its Great Plains, its fertile valleys, its mountains are seen as a source of empire by the conqueror, a source of wealth by the merchant, a source of inspiration by the pilgrim. For the people themselves, it is the landscape that has moulded them more than any other single factor: it has inspired their genius, channelled their ideas into certain patterns, and provided a spectacular setting for towns, villages and monuments that are the manifestation of that genius… but it is not the mountains, plains, and deserts alone that give the land its special quality. For the natural landscape are still just a backdrop to the human landscape set in them… the towns, villages, even the fields which adorn the landscapes are as impressive- and massive – as any great monument or work of art.”[1]
  • What Warwick Ball is saying about the landscape and diversity is just what we are seeing in today’s exhibition about Wakhan. When you look around at the faces of people in these images, you can see the simple beauty of their preservation of a traditional way of life.
  • Afghanistan is viewed as a crossroads, a meeting point of different regions, a distinguished place in the Heart of Asia.  In historical terms Afghanistan’s land which “has hosted some of the greatest civilizations… ranged from forming the peripheries of empires centered elsewhere to in turn being the hub of great empires that encompassed lands from Tabriz in the west, the Aral Sea in the north, the Indian Ocean in the south and Benares in the east…no history of China, Persia, India or Russia can be understood without continuing reference to the land locked area at whose centre lie the majestic deserts and sweeping mountain ranges of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has always seemed to be the enigmatic key to the histories and destinies of others.”[2] Due to its unique location, Wakhan exemplifies in its own way a crossroads, and today it can bring regions together, rather than separating them.
  • It is my hope that all diplomats and UN staff, particularly those involved in Afghanistan see these photos.  After long years of war in Afghanistan, as we embark upon a new decade of peace, we look to faces such as these to remind us of the future we are working towards with all our efforts. This exhibit encourages us to continue sharing stories of hope, success, and determination as we strive to preserve Afghanistan’s rich culture.
  • I thank you.


[1] Ball, Warwick. “The Monuments of Afghanistan: History, Archaeology and Architecture,” I. B. Tauris (August 19, 2008).

[2] Ibid.