Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations General Debate of the Second Committee 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies and colleagues,

Let me express my felicitations to you on your election as the Chairman of the Second Committee during the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that your proven leadership skills and rich academic background will lead the work of the Second Committee successfully. I also would like to extend congratulations to all newly elected members of the Bureau.  I take this opportunity to express our thanks to your predecessor, Her Excellency Ms. Enkhsetseg Ochir, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mongolia for her excellent leadership during the sixty-fifth General Assembly of the UN.

I associate my support to the statement delivered by the Representative of Argentina to the United Nations on behalf of the G-77 and China. I would also like to affiliate myself with statements delivered by the delegations of Nepal on behalf of LDCs and Paraguay on behalf of LLDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

The second committee commences its deliberation at a critical juncture, as it is tasked with addressing a number of pressing global challenges such as: environmental degradation, the on-going financial crisis, food insecurity, hunger, and poverty in developing countries. The second committee must continue to work together to tackle these challenges, which seriously threaten the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

The Government of Afghanistan is of the firm belief that such challenges can only be eliminated through effective cooperation among all stakeholders. Overcoming our challenges also requires a resolute commitment on the part of both developed and developing countries for increased cooperation. In that regard, Afghanistan underscores the need for continued international support in the form of financial and technical assistance for developing countries.

The issues related to the on-going financial and economic crisis have an enormous impact on the development agendas of developing and particularly the least developed countries, and therefore, deserve to be addressed with serious attention.

Mr. Chairman,

Before 2001, Afghanistan was cut off and isolated from the international community by the brutal Taliban regime, which denied Afghan people even the most fundamental human rights and allowed terrorists to use Afghan soil to launch attacks around the world. In 2001, with the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan slowly began to rebuild its shattered political, economic and social structures, and regained its rightful place in the community of nations.  Afghanistan has made enormous strides in the past decade, emerging from the ruins of war to build a more functioning government, a more prosperous economy, and a more healthy society. However, the complex issue of security and threats of terrorism remain as major impediments for the Government to implement its development policies. Therefore, the Government of Afghanistan remains convinced that issues related to security and their impact on the development of post conflict countries should be given due consideration by the Second Committee.

In 2004, Afghanistan was able to join the rest of the international community in committing to a series of time-bound development goals. Because we were late in joining the MDGs, our targets were set to be achieved by 2020.  Therefore, we emphasize that the situation of those countries that are behind in achieving our MDGs should be duly considered by the Second Committee.

Afghanistan strongly believes that United Nations can play a crucial role in helping developing countries and particularly LDCs, including those countries emerging from conflict, in achieving their MDGs.

Mr. Chairman,

As more than 80% of Afghans depend on agricultural production for their livelihoods, we stress that matters related to agricultural development and food security continue to be a significant focus for the work of the Second Committee.

The challenge of climate change affects all countries equally –  poor, rich, small or big – and therefore, requires genuine cooperation among all countries. In this regard, my delegation strongly supports the stand of the G 77 and China that the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol should remain the central multilateral framework for cooperative action to address climate change issues.

Afghanistan also supports closer collaboration between developing countries and development partners as well as all other relevant actors to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action in order to ensure enhanced, predictable and targeted support to the least developed countries

In conclusion, my delegation is firmly convinced that your wisdom and effective leadership of our Committee will go a long way in helping us achieve important progress on the issues under our consideration. And I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation!

I thank you.

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item 109: “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism.”

Mr. Chairman,

I begin my congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your elections, and assuming the Chairmanship of the Sixth Committee. We are convinced that you and your team will steer the work of the Committee successfully. And we assure you of our full support and cooperation.

We also thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive report, outlining recent national and international efforts in the fight against terrorism; and the Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, established pursuant to GA resolution 51/210, on the work of its 15th Session.

Mr. Chairman,

Less than a month ago, the United Nations General Assembly observed the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The event was a grim reminder of the loss of life of men, women and children of distinct backgrounds and nationalities on that dark day in history.

The horrific attacks of September the 11th culminated in a robust international partnership to help rid Afghanistan from terrorists and extremists; and to defeat terrorism effectively and resolutely, wherever it existed.  Ten years on, with support from our international partners, the Afghanistan of today is different than that of a decade ago.  The collapse of the tyrannical Taliban regime, supported by their Al-Qaeda allies and other associates, gave way to successive democratic elections, in which Afghans from all walks of life exercised their right to self-determination. We have registered important progress in all spheres of society, social, political and economic, included.  And with the start of Transition in July of this year, we are now on the path towards Afghan ownership and leadership.

Nevertheless, Mr. Chairman, despite our achievements, terrorism has not gone away from the lives of our people. Terrorists are still bent on preventing peace and stability to take root.  The past months have seen a rise in the level of violence; terrorists continue to kill and maim ours school children; our security forces; our tribal and religious elders; our international partners; and our patriotic national figures.

Early this month, the world heard the tragic news of the assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), who was killed in a cowardly suicide attack that was planned and orchestrated from outside Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

In the context of a viable solution to the problem of terrorism, we echo, yet again, our long-standing position that the terrorism which has engulfed Afghanistan and our region will not go away without eliminating sanctuaries and safe-havens that are, in fact, the umbilical cord from which the forces of evil are feed and nurtured.

In this connection, it is essential that countries comply with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, calling on States to prevent their territories to be utilized for the planning or preparation of terrorist acts. These include the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by UNGA resolution 49/60; as well as SC resolution 1373 of (2001).

Mr. Chairman,

Terrorism has proven its reach across borders and continents, affecting peoples of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. This is evident by acts of terror committed around the world, including my own country Afghanistan, as well as Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Norway and Russia. And it remains crystal clear that a successful fight against terrorism requires a concerted and robust effort, characterized by effective regional and international cooperation.

In this respect, we underscore enhanced measures to implement the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of September 2006, which remains the overall strategic and operational international framework for combating terrorism.
Further, we in Afghanistan attach great importance to the work of counter-terrorism committees, established pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 1267, 1988, 1989, 1373 and 1540 in combating terrorism.  As an active participant in counter-terrorism cooperation, we have submitted our national reports on the implementation of relevant SC resolutions, including resolution 1373.  In the same vein, we acknowledge with appreciation the important work being done by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).

As a country which remains forefront in the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan is ever more resilient in our resolve to help defeat this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.   We are party to 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism; and we remain fully committed to meeting our obligations under these conventions.

Afghanistan welcomes the successful outcome of the Symposium on Combating International Terrorism, which took place on the 19th of September, at the initiative of the UN Secretary General.

Mr. Chairman,

We are convinced that the signing of the agreement between the United Nations and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the creation of an International Center for Countering Terrorism will go a long way in helping to consolidate cooperation and building capacity of in relevant State institutions and agencies dealing with terrorism. We look forward to seeing the new center become operational in the near future.

Furthermore, we believe it is of paramount importance to conclude the Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism. While commending the work of the Ad Hoc Committee established by GA Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, we join other speakers in stressing increased cooperation to resolve the outstanding issues.

Afghanistan further underscores the importance of convening a High-level Conference on countering terrorism, under the auspices of the United Nations.  Such an initiative will help formulate a joint and effective response to the global fight against terrorism.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate our steadfast commitment to undertake all necessary measures to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and to achieve international peace and security.

I Thank You.

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Least Developing Countries Meeting of Foreign Ministers

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Least Developing Countries Meeting of Foreign Ministers


Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin by conveying, on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, our sincere appreciation to our friends of the Republic of Nepal for their successful leadership of the Least Developing Countries. Your able leadership at a time when the world is confronting various challenges helps us to maintain our unity, expand and strengthen cooperation among the members of our group.

Mr. Chairman,

Not long ago, the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries was held in Istanbul, generously hosted by of our brothers the people and government of Turkey, where the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted. This strategic document will remain a roadmap for us to achieve the eradication of poverty and our internationally-agreed development goals. It is imperative that we implement the Istanbul Programme of Action, and integrate its provisions into our national development policies.

Afghanistan also welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the Outcome of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is concerned over the multiple global crises of extensive poverty, climate change, financial and economic crises, and threats of terrorism, volatile energy prices and food shortages.  All of these challenges have had enormous deleterious effects on the implementation and realisation of our MDGs.

As LDCs are heavily reliant on agricultural products, improving and increasing productive capacity and competitiveness with the assistance of our development partners is of significant importance.

Conversely, the disastrous effects of climate change have become one of the greatest obstacles to the prosperity and sustainable development of LDCs.  Natural disasters such as flooding, droughts, earthquakes and mudslides are becoming more frequent in our part of the world. None of us can afford to experience the devastating effects of such calamities, on our people, our agriculture, our environment, and our infrastructure.  As members of LDCs, we must come together for a strong common position on issues related to climate change and environmental degradation.

Mr. Chairman,

In a globalized world, we cannot and should not isolate ourselves from international markets and cooperation with the rest of the world. However, it is only prudent for us to adopt policies to free ourselves from total dependence on international assistance and vulnerability to the shocks of the international market. Afghanistan fully supports the position of the LDCs, in calling upon the G-8 countries to give due consideration to the LDC agenda and take appropriate measures to ensure that the concerns of LDCs are taken fully into account in their decisions.

Afghanistan further supports the LDCs position on the need for strengthening the Global System of Trade Preferences among developing countries (GSTP), and increasing the volume of development assistance and financial flows, technology transfer, and duty-free, quota-free market access being provided by countries of the South to LDCs. We welcome such initiatives and call for other members in the South to do the same.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan has achieved great progress over the past 10 years. However, we still live in a part of the world where trans-national threats such as terrorism, extremism, poverty, organized crime and natural disasters still exist. Terrorism is among the dominant challenges in our region. In terrorism, we all share a common enemy, regardless of our cultural and religious differences. The terrorism threat we face is part of a complex and sophisticated network, responsible for attacks across our region, in defeating terrorism will not be possible without an effective global strategy. We must focus more on addressing terrorist safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region, which operate as the life-line for terrorist activity. Unless this is achieved, all our efforts will be in vain.

Widespread poverty and a lack of socio-economic opportunities are another critical challenge which we are confronted with. Afghanistan is pursing regional cooperation as the cornerstone of our overall efforts to secure peace, stability and prosperity. In that regard, we are working with the region and the international community to revive Afghanistan’s central position in promoting and developing regional trade and commerce through the New Silk Road Initiative, to the shared benefit of all involved.   In that regard, like other LDCs Afghanistan is looking forward to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in Brazil next year. Rio+20 will focus on the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development. We call upon the international community to seize this opportunity to strengthen the coordination and coherence between the United Nations system and all other multilateral financial, trade and development institutions to support economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development in the LDCs.

In conclusion, let me reiterate Afghanistan’s steadfast commitment to advancing the goals of the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action and repeat our assurances of our highest consideration and closest cooperation in working with all of you.

Thank you.