Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Statement by,

Mr. Mohammad  Erfani Ayoob, Deputy Permanet Representative

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Six Commette  of the 65 session of the  UN General Assembly

On Agenda  Item 107

“Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism”

Madam  Chairperson,

I would like to extend my congratulations to you and the members of the Bureau on your elections. My delegation is confident in your able chairmanship and assures you of our full support and cooperation during the deliberations of this Committee.  First, I wish to align my delegation with the statement delivered by the (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

In addition, given the importance my delegation attaches to this agenda item, I would like to make a statement from our national perspective, highlighting some of our views on the Item under consideration.

Madam Chairperson,

Afghanistan has had a long and painful experience with terrorism and continues to suffer horrific terrorist attacks on a daily basis. Taking this opportunity, my delegation would like to extend its solidarity with all victims of terrorism around the world and to express its sincere condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives at the hands of terrorists.

Madam Chairperson,

The General Assembly, as the most representative UN organ, has considered the issue of international terrorism for more than two decades. However, despite these and other efforts by the United Nations and Member States, terrorism still spreads and, along with the destructive and criminal activities associated with it, continues to threaten peace and security around the world.

Following the heinous attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, the international community unanimously declared the Global War on International Terrorism. The Government of Afghanistan and its partners in the international community have made tremendous progress in improving the lives of ordinary Afghans and creating conditions allowing them to live a life free from the fear of the threat of terrorism. Nevertheless, terrorist elements and enemies of peace and security in Afghanistan remain active: attacking schools, clinics, teachers, students- particularly young girls, doctors, humanitarian workers, government employees as well as Afghan and international security forces.

Terrorists operate across borders and use every available weapon, technique and opportunity to reach their destructive goals. They seek to deprive Afghans of their every basic right, and violate every norm of international law, particularly international humanitarian and human rights laws.

The people of Afghanistan, as well as other innocent people around the world, continue to experience horrific acts of terror and violence in their daily lives. We must intensify, and better coordinate, our efforts, in order to protect our people from this brutality.

Madam Chairperson,

For its part, Afghanistan reaffirms its strong commitment to fight against terrorism and    strongly condemns of all acts of terrorism and extremism. We remain convinced that terrorism, in all its forms, and manifestations, and irrespective of motivation or objective, committed by whomever, wherever, and for whatever purposes, can never be justified. Terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, nationality, race, faith, or culture, but is an evil that afflicts us all.

As an active partner of the international community in the war against terrorism and extremism, Afghanistan has taken specific measures at the national, regional and international levels to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan and in our region.

Afghanistan has adopted numerous terrorism-related laws and regulations, inter alia:

- Forbidding the paying of ransoms to those who are subject to sanctions as a result of their connection to Al Qaeda or the Taliban according to SC resolution 1904 adopted on December 2009,

- Mandating Afghanistan’s full cooperation with the subsidiary bodies of the Security Council related to counterterrorism namely 1267, 1373, and 1540,

- Combating the Financing of Terrorism,

- Combating Terrorist Criminalities,

– Combating money laundering and other criminal income

– Establishing a Financial Transaction and report Analysis Center, within the Central Bank of Afghanistan,

-Ratifying the UN Convention against Corruption,

- Establishing the Council of Scholars and Religious Leaders to advocate against terrorism as an anti-Peace and anti-Islamic action

- Creating independent national authorities and departments for counter terrorism within the relevant ministries to detect and study the phenomena of terrorism and its supporting elements, track terrorist elements, watch over banking and financial institutions, and freeze suspected accounts in implementation of Security Council Resolution 1822 (2008).

– Appointing a National Focal Point to the National Counter-Terrorism Focal Points group.

– Establishing an Inter Ministerial Working Group (IMWG) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate the implementation of all international conventions and protocols, as well as General Assembly and Security Council resolutions relating to international terrorism.

-        Requiring the Afghan National Security Forces including the ANA and the ANP, alongside international military forces, to take more responsibility for combating terrorism, providing stability and protecting the Afghan people.

In addition:

Afghanistan has joined all international Protocols and Conventions against International Terrorism,

Afghanistan has joined the Global Initiative Combating Nuclear Terrorism,

Afghanistan has provided or is finalizing its national reports to the relevant UN SC Committee secretariats,

Afghanistan is working closely with the 1267 and Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) and other bodies regarding the listing and delisting of individuals and entities, on the basis a fair and clear procedure, including the delisting of individuals who join the stabilization process in the country and accept the Constitution,

Afghan delegations have participated actively in International Workshops on anti-terrorism, sponsored and financed by donor countries through the CTC, UNODC and other UN agencies.

We are making every effort to enhance regional cooperation with neighboring countries through various mechanisms and relevant forums, including SAARC to achieve prosperity, peace and stability, as an essential tool in fighting terrorism.

We have signed bilateral agreements with some countries and are participating actively in bilateral and trilateral mechanisms on anti drug and counter terrorism activities.

Madame Chairperson,

As a measure for lasting peace and security in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan has embarked on a comprehensive reintegration and reconciliation initiative to co-opt those armed opposition that are willing to give up violence, embrace Afghanistan constitution and democracy, and return to normal life. The national consultative peace jirga was a milestone for galvanizing national consensus for peace-building as an essential component of our overall efforts to improve security in Afghanistan.  The High Peace Council has been established to support, guide and monitor the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation strategy. In this regard, we urge international support in terms of financial contributions to our “peace and reconciliation trust fund.”

Madam Chairperson,

Though the people and government of Afghanistan, with the generous support of our partner and friends in the international community, are making significant progress towards stabilizing and rebuilding the country, terrorists, extremists and criminal groups in our region led by the Taliban and Al Qaeda continue to infiltrate our borders to destroy our achievements and remain the major destabilizing factor in Afghanistan.

Madam Chairperson,

In order to take speedy and effective measures to eliminate international terrorism, all States must fulfill their obligations in combating terrorism, consistent with the UN charter and all relevant United Nations international protocol and instruments, all relevant GA and Security Council resolutions, including 1267, inter alia by prosecuting and extraditing perpetrators  denying them shelter and safe havens, and  refraining from allowing the use of their territories for brainwashing, equipping, planning, training, and financing of groups and individuals for such acts against other states.

We are all exposed to these threats, so a firm, united and sincere stance and more effective measures by all member states is required.

Madam  Chairperson,

Afghanistan reaffirms its support for the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, as the first universally agreed strategic frame work to combat terrorism in a holistic and integrated manner, with a transparent, broad and comprehensive approach to the implementation of all four pillars.

Afghanistan reiterates its call for an international high level conference under the auspicious of the United Nations to formulate a organized joint response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In this regards we support the proposal to develop an International Code of Conduct against terrorism within the framework of the UN.

Afghanistan reiterates the importance of concluding a Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism.. My delegation calls upon all interested delegations to cooperate in resolving the outstanding issues with a view to paving the way for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention in our current session. We hope that once this Convention enters into force, it will serve as an effective tool for combating international terrorism.

Madam Chairperson,

In order to strengthen the central leading role of the UN in its efforts to combat terrorism, the coordination of the various UN agencies by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) is particularly valuable and important. The CTITF should be ensured a solid financial basis to help countries in need to build the necessary capacities to effectively fulfill their counter-terrorism responsibilities.

Afghanistan renews its support for the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Highness King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud to establish an international centre, under the auspices of the United Nations, to combat international terrorism.

In conclusion Madam Chairperson,

Our ongoing painful experience in the war on terror has proven that, as long as terrorist ideological centers, training facilities, infrastructure, sanctuaries and financial resources remain protected, the concerns of the people are not addressed and the root causes are not removed, our region will continue to be the breeding ground for terrorist elements. In such a situation Afghanistan, our region and the world will remain targets. Therefore, this topic needs our urgent attention, our strong political will and our joint and sincere efforts and cooperation. Our efforts to counter this threat must be firm, sincere, coherent, comprehensive and adaptive.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express the gratitude of Afghan people to our friends and partners in the intentional community, who have helped and continue to contribute with their blood and resources to secure a safe and stable Afghanistan, and express our sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones for this cause.

Thank you


Check Against Delivery

Foreign Minister Rassoul Addresses UN Security Council on Afghanistan

H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Afghanistan, today addressed an open-debate of the UN Security Council on the “Situation in Afghanistan.”

News

The meeting, which convened to consider the recent report of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, was also attended by the Special Representative of the UNSG, Staffan di Mistura.

In his statement, H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul first discussed Afghanistan’s recent parliamentary elections, noted that despite intimidations and threats of attacks, including assassinations by extremists, millions of Afghanistan from all segments of society took part in the elections, reaffirming their “steadfast commitment to democracy and self-determination.” He highlighted the broad participation among the youth and girls. “The unprecedented number of young candidates and voters illustrates the degree to which democracy is taking root in Afghan society.  Further, the significant increase in women’s participation is testament to the further empowerment of women in Afghan political life.”

He said for the coming years Afghanistan would pursue a comprehensive strategy to implement the outcome of the London and Kabul Conferences. He further asserted that Afghanistan would work towards gradual leadership in all areas, including security, development and governance.  On security he said Afghanistan would strive to build the size, capacity and operational capability of its security forces “for taking the lead role in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011, and meeting the security’s security obligations independently by 2014, with international forces offering back-up support.”  He also reiterated Afghanistan appeal for continued international support and assistance in the building of Afghan security forces.

Further, he highlighted the up-coming NATO Summit in Lisbon, at which the Afghan government would come together with partner-countries to “crystallize our joint strategy for transition to Afghan security lead over the coming years.” At the conference Afghanistan would also update its international partners on progress in strengthening Afghan security forces.

He added for transition to succeed, Afghanistan and the international community had to find a solution to the ongoing security problem.  He underscored a comprehensive strategy for improving security, including a “comprehensive and robust out-reach initiative.” He said Afghanistan would pursue the implantation of its reintegration and reconciliation initiative,
to ensure an honorable place in society for members of the armed opposition who are willing to renounce violence, accept our constitution, return to normal life and embrace international human rights.”   He said Afghanistan had established a “High-Peace-Council, to oversee the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation strategy.”

Foreign Minister Rassoul noted that terrorism posed a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and beyond, and expressed Afghanistan concern about the “continued presence of safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region where terrorists receive recruitment, training and logistical support.”

alluded to the situation in Afghanistan, and said the increased awareness of the need to re-engage the Afghan people in the reconstruction and stabilization of their country has helped enable the government of Afghanistan and its international partners to “focus on finding ways to meet the needs and expectations of the Afghan people.”

He however asserted that civilians continued to “pay a staggering price in the ongoing conflict” in the country. He said over six thousand Afghans, including women; children and the elderly were killed and injured in just last year. In that regard, he said the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and their terrorist allies continue to show complete disregard for human life, embracing assassinations and executions in an effort to control the population through terror.

He said the cost of the conflict was not limited to just Afghanistan, but also international partners countries. He highlighted increased terrorist attacks on UN staff and members of humanitarian organizations who work in various fields, including health and education.  In that regard, Ambassador Tanin expressed gratitude to UN staff and other partners “who continue to work under difficult circumstances for the sake of the Afghan people, and in pursuit of international peace and security.”

Moreover, he welcomed the increased measures by former ISAF former commander, General McCrystal, aimed at better protecting the lives of civilians.  He expressed confidence that civilian protection would continue to receive due consideration from ISAF’s new commander, General Patraeus.

He nevertheless noted that civilian casualties remained a concern to Afghanistan, and undermined the people’s confidence in the good-will of the international community.  He emphasized increased efforts at the national level “for building an efficient, effective and responsible army and police force dedicated to the protection of Afghans and maintenance of security and the rule of law.”

Ambassador Tanin also said the safety of the Afghan people should remain a priority, and it was necessary to enhance collaboration for strengthening the trust and confidence of Afghans in future efforts.

Statement

Remarks by H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

At the Security Council Open-Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan,

29 September 2010

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, let me thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, and congratulate the government of Turkey in assuming the Council Presidency for the month of September. I also thank Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his most recent report on Afghanistan, and SRSG Staffan di Mistura for his comprehensive briefing.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting comes at a crucial time in Afghanistan just over three months after the Kabul Conference, and less than two weeks since the holding of our parliamentary elections. I am pleased to be among you today, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan, and shed light on the strategy we will pursue to end violence, and achieve lasting peace and security.

Mr. President,

I want to begin by saying a few words about our recent elections, which gave Afghans another chance to shape their future, and consolidate our young democracy. Millions of Afghans from all segments of society braved intimidations and threats of attacks, including assassinations, to cast their vote.  As such, Afghans reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to democracy and self-determination. The unprecedented number of young candidates and voters illustrates the degree to which democracy is taking root in Afghan society. Further, the significant increase in women’s participation is testament to the further empowerment of women in Afghan political life.

Our elections were a major victory for democracy in Afghanistan. Let me take the opportunity to convey our gratitude to the United Nations and other partners for providing financial and technical support for our elections.

Mr. President,

Just three months ago, Afghanistan and our international partners gathered at the international Kabul Conference to renew our partnership for durable peace, security and stability.  Together, we adopted the “Kabul Process,” which focuses on increased Afghan leadership across the board. We also presented our 23 national priority programs, including the national security policy and our national reconciliation initiative, all of which were endorsed by the international community.

Mr. President,
Going forward, Afghanistan will pursue a comprehensive strategy to implement the outcome of the London and Kabul Conferences. We will work towards gradual leadership in all state of affairs, security, development and governance in particular. Our objective is clear: a gradual transfer of responsibilities towards self-reliance in ensuring social and economic opportunities for all Afghans, and enforcing the rule of law throughout the country. In the area of security, we will work to build the size, capacity and operational capability of Afghanistan’s national security forces.  In doing so, we will meet a vital pre-condition for taking the lead in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011, and for meeting our security obligations independently by 2014, with international forces offering back-up support. In achieving this goal, I want to reiterate the importance of sustained international support for the training, resourcing and equipping of the Afghan national army and police.

Moreover, we have committed to a comprehensive social and economic agenda to improve the lives of all Afghans, and achieve a sustainable Afghan economy. In particular, we are giving special focus to agricultural development, rural rehabilitation, human resource development and economic and infrastructure development to generate employment opportunities and meet the immediate needs of our people. I seize this opportunity to convey Afghanistan’s thanks and appreciation for the international community’s support and assistance. Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that Afghanistan will not be able to realize its development goals without greater responsibility for our finances. Afghans must have a greater role in their own development. We welcome the international community’s decision to channel 50% of donor assistance through our national budget by January 2012.  This will lead to greater transparency and efficiency in utilization of development assistance by donor countries.

Mr. President,

At the same time, we have embarked on a reinvigorated effort to combat corruption, and strengthen governance at all levels. Afghans are well aware of the detrimental effect of this menace on the dignity, image and prosperity of our country. We are fully committed to ridding corruption from our society effectively and resolutely.
Mr. President,

In less than two months from now, Afghanistan and its NATO partners will gather at the NATO Summit in Lisbon to crystallize our joint strategy for transition to Afghan security lead over the coming years.  We will update our international partners on our progress in the building of our security forces, and discuss remaining challenges to that effect.

Mr. President,

For transition to succeed, we first have to find a solution to Afghanistan’s ongoing security problem. Afghanistan has endured violence for more than thirty years.  Almost ten years since the start of our joint efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, security remains a problem. We have prioritized ending violence and providing Afghans with what has eluded them for decades: the chance to live in peace and security. There will be no peace unless military efforts are complemented by a robust and comprehensive out-reach initiative. That is why President Karzai launched a “reintegration and reconciliation initiative to ensure an honorable place in society for members of the armed opposition who are willing to surrender arms, renounce violence, accept our constitution, return to normal life and embrace international human rights. We recently established the “High-Peace-Council,” to oversee the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation. The High Council is now operational and will meet regularly. In addition, we welcome the Security Council’s review and updating of the 1267 consolidated list as important for implementing our peace initiative.  In this regard, we look forward to additional updates, on the basis of additional delisting requests.

Mr. President,

Terrorism poses a grave threat to the security and stability of our region and beyond. In this regard, we remain concerned at the continued presence of safe-haven and sanctuaries in our region where terrorists receive recruitment, training and logistical support.

Mr. President,

It is ever more evident that addressing the challenges facing Afghanistan and our region, including terrorism, extremism, and narcotic drug production and trafficking will not be possible without meaningful cooperation at the regional level. For our part, Afghanistan remains fully committed to a sincere and effective dialogue with Pakistan and other regional countries for security and prosperity in our region.

Just recently, together with the government of Pakistan, we signed the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Trade and Transit Agreement (APPTA), aimed at increasing bilateral trade and generating employment opportunities. Moreover, the signing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipe-line project and the conclusion of the feasibility study for the CASA 1000 project for transfer of energy in the region are milestones for the development and prosperity of our region. We are both confident that these projects will benefit security and stability in Afghanistan and the region and strengthen mutual trust and confidence.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is confident that by pursuing our comprehensive national agenda for security, development and governance, and by implementing our reintegration and reconciliation initiative, we will succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan and preventing the enemies of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan from regaining control of our country.

Mr. President,
Nine and a half years since the beginning of our partnership with the international community to defeat terrorism and achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, we have come a long way. We attribute our achievements to the sacrifices of the Afghan people and the troops of our partner countries. A transition to increased Afghan responsibility and ownership will be our main priority over the coming years.  We expect our international partners to remain by us with fortitude and commitment to ensure the successful conclusion of that transition.

Thank You Mr. President.

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul at the General Debate of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly


Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I join previous speakers, Mr. President, in congratulating you on your election as the President of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that under your able stewardship our deliberations will be fruitful.

Statement

Mr. President,

Sixty-five years ago, the creation of the United Nations heralded hope for global peace, security, and respect for human dignity. And today the UN remains the most effective universal body in preserving the principles upon which it was founded. As one of its earliest member-states, Afghanistan fully and consistently subscribes to the centrality of the United Nations, and to the principles of multilateralism that guarantee a democratic international order, in which we all have an equal voice and participation in decisions impacting our world.

Mr. President,

Today, more than ever before, our world demands a commitment to working together so that we may overcome the multifaceted challenges and threats to our survival and well-being. The United Nations is pivotal to our ability to translate our common sense of purpose and determined political will to replace desperation with hope, poverty with prosperity, injustice with justice and violence with peace.

Last week, the High-Level Plenary on the MDG’s adopted the Outcome Document and Action Plan for the full realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Fifteen year’s ago when the MDGs were adopted, we recognized that comprehensive and collective effort was essential for the attainment of the goals. Last week’s Summit again underscored the need for enhanced international cooperation and coordination in order to achieve human development and well-being.

Afghanistan remains fully committed to meeting its MDG targets. We have made some progress, but the scourge of international terrorism, insecurity, and threats to the rule of law and governance remain enormous challenges to promoting human development in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

On the of the eve of the 9th anniversary of the declaration of the Global War on Terror in October 2001, the international community’s promise to the people of Afghanistan of a life free from the fear of the threat and exploitation of international terrorism remains unfulfilled. Afghans continue to suffer from horrific acts of terrorist violence on a daily basis.

On many occasions from this podium, the Afghan delegation has drawn the attention of the global community to the reality that terrorism and the ideologies of extremism and radicalism are spawned beyond the borders of Afghanistan.

In spite of the combined efforts of our military allies, terrorists continue to infiltrate our borders with the intent to inflict harm on our people and soldiers of partner countries.  As long as certain state and non-state actors provide Al Qaeda, and its affiliated individuals and entities with sanctuary, arms and financing, they will remain formidable and murderous adversaries.

H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, addresses the UN

Terrorism in our region is a growing threat to world peace and security. The audacity and geographic scope of extremist and terrorist groups harbored in our region continues to expand.  If our international partners and allies wish to win the global war on terrorism, they must look beyond villages in Afghanistan, and engage in a strategy that will effectively and decisively dismantle organizations and networks that continue – with immunity- to support terrorist and radical militants.  Terrorism remains a global challenge which can be defeated only through a concerted international effort.

In this context, Mr. President, Afghanistan is committed to expanding counter-terrorism cooperation with the Government of Pakistan and with other countries in our region.

Mr. President,

The people of Afghanistan have known too much violence and too much despair.  We have seen too many of our youth lose their lives as a result of war and conflict. The Afghan people crave peace, stability, and security.

Though our fight against those who menace the life and well-being of our people will continue unabated, we recognize that the success of our efforts for development and prosperity depends largely on our ability to achieve sustainable peace in our country.

With this objective in mind, the Afghan Government convened a “Consultative Peace Jirga” in May of this year.  The Jirga fulfilled President Karzai’s promise to consult and engage all Afghans in peace-building initiatives. The Jirga, which assembled tribal leaders, representatives of provincial councils, parliamentarians, businesses, civil society, and had over 20% female participation, helped to jump-start a representative peace and reconciliation process that will be pursued in conformity with our Constitution and human rights commitments.

The Consultative Peace Jirga agreed on a framework to encourage the rank and file of the Taliban to end violence and to join a reconciliation and reintegration process.  It defined the conditions for a peace dialogue with Taliban leaders, and endorsed the establishment of a Peace Commission to oversee the reintegration of armed opposition fighters, who renounce violence, resume civilian life, accept our constitution, and embrace our democracy.

Mr. President,

Over the past eight years, we and our international partners have realized substantial achievements, but also have made mistakes.  Many challenges and obstacles remain in ensuring sustainable security for the people of Afghanistan, and to meet their aspirations for a better life and future.

At the London and Kabul Conferences, held earlier this year, the international community not only reaffirmed its commitment to safeguard Afghanistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and stability, but also recognized the critical importance of Afghan ownership and leadership to consolidate our joint achievements, and to engage the greater confidence of the Afghan people.

By building on the mutual commitments made at the milestone conferences of London and Kabul to transition security and development responsibilities to the Afghans, and by pursing comprehensive economic development, security, governance, and our inclusive reconciliation strategies, we are convinced that we will successfully combat the efforts of extremists and terrorists to regain hold of Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

For our part, the Government of Afghanistan is steadfast in its commitment to pursuing the reform agenda that President Karzai outlined in his inaugural speech.  We are committed to reinforcing our social compact with the people of Afghanistan by strengthening our judiciary, combating corruption, revitalizing our economy, and promoting good governance at all levels of government.

As demonstrated by the recently held parliamentary elections, the government and people of Afghanistan are steadfast in advancing our democracy.

With the support and collaboration of our international partners and allies, we are committed to enhancing the capacity and ability of the Afghan Security Forces to assume greater responsibility for the protection and security of our country.

In this context, I wish to acknowledge the enhanced effort of our military allies to protect our civilian populations from the detrimental effects of military operations against the terrorists and militants.

Mr. President,

The people of Afghanistan embrace the challenge of building a better future. However, insidious dangers of extremism and terrorism and their ever-increasing link with narcotics pose a serious threat to the security and stability of our country and region.  Along side our fight against terrorism we are committed to working closely with our neighbors and other international partners to win the war on narcotics.

To complement our efforts towards eliminating poppy production, we wish to see greater action to counter smuggling of precursors into our country and to reduce demand and consumption of drugs in other countries.

Recent climate-induced disasters experienced in our region, such as the catastrophic floods in Pakistan pose severe challenges not only for local populations and national governments, but may carry ramifications on the economies of regional countries, and global security. We see increased urgency for effective regional collaboration for disaster mitigation and response.

Mr. President,

At different international, regional and sub-regional gatherings, we have emphasized the importance of a stable, moderate, and democratic Afghanistan for economic development of our region and global security. By the virtue of its location at the heart of four important geo-strategic regions (Central Asia, South Asia, China and the Middle-East), Afghanistan could play an important role in facilitating increased trade and transit in the region, and unleashing the enormous potential in our region. We will work to further gains in increased trade and transit with regional countries. The recent conclusion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Trade and Transit Agreement (APPTA), and signing of the Heads of Agreement for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project are milestones for increased regional cooperation. Additionally, we have concluded the feasibility study for the CASA 1000 project for transfer of electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  These initiatives will contribute greatly to peace, security and stability in our region.

Afghanistan stands ready to intensify cooperation with all its neighbors on the economic, political and criminal issues.

Mr. President,

I have spoken of the desire and right of the people of Afghanistan for peace and stability. We are, however, acutely aware that for over half a century our brothers and sisters in Palestine have been denied their right to an independent state, living in peaceful co-existence with its neighbors. We are encouraged by the resumption of direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, which hold the hope for securing sustainable peace in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

To conclude, I thank the member states of this august assembly for their solidarity and support for the liberty and well-being of the people of Afghanistan.

The Afghan people will never forget the generosity and great sacrifice of the United States, NATO partners, and other international partners, whose men and women have bravely stood with us to defend our common security, and ensure peace and stability for Afghanistan.

I thank His Excellency, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his efforts to revitalize the sense of partnership, cooperation and confidence between Afghanistan and the international community.

I also thank the dedicated and committed staff of the United Nations and its specialized agencies for helping the Afghan people to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous future.

Thank You Mr. President.

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