Thursday, November 26, 2015

United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process in Brussels

On 28-29 June, the United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process was held in Brussels, under the auspices of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). Ambassador Zahir Tanin attended the conference as Vice-Chair of the Committee.

The meetings focused on the role of Europe in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The opening session set the tone, with statements from H.E. Mr. Michael Goffin, Representative of the host nation Belgium, and others calling for a rapid and lasting resolution to the conflict. CEIRPP Chairman H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo reiterated this need, emphasising the importance of the European voice in the work of the diplomatic Quartet.

Ambassador Tanin chaired the second plenary session, on “The urgency of realising a two-State solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the resumption of direct negotiations or multilateral mechanisms. Other plenary sessions examined the last twenty years of European involvement in the process, from the Madrid conference to the Oslo peace accords, as well as the European Union’s continuing role in the future of the peace process. The Committee is also holding meetings with Mr. Prosinias de Rossa, Chairman of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the PLC, Maghreb and Mashreq countries, as well as other MEPs.

In addition to CEIRPP representatives, speakers included political and academic representatives from Israel, Palestine, the European Parliament and elsewhere. The Meeting was closed on 29 June by H.E. Mr. Saviour F. Borg, Rapporteur of CEIRPP, H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., and Chairman H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo.

UNODC World Drug Report 2011 Launch at UN Headquarters

On 23 June, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime launched their World Drug Report 2011 at UN Headquarters. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon spoke at the event as did the Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov. The newly reappointed Secretary General showed strong support for UNODC’s work around the globe.  He commented on the new publication, noting that it outlines the seriousness of the threat posed by illegal drugs.  The Secretary General made the connection between drug trafficking and terrorism and insurgency.

The Secretary General was not the only one recognizing the connection between terrorism and drug trafficking.  Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, cited this connection as one of the main threats to stability in Afghanistan and the region, making this issue not only one  for Afghan farmers, he said, but for the entire region and world.  This international problem requires regional and international cooperation to find a solution, according to Tanin.

The Afghan opium poppy struggle was one of the key issues both in the report and at the launch’s discussion. Ambassador Tanin recognized on behalf of his Government the narcotics trade is an “international problem” and it is “our joint duty to do everything possible to curtail the production, trafficking, and consumption of narcotics.” “My government,” he concluded, “is strongly committed to this goal.”

Ambassador Tanin also attended a Group of Friends’ working lunch in support of UNODC’s efforts in the fight against drugs and crime hosted by the Austrian Permanent Representative, Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting.s

Statement by Ambassador Tanin at the Global Governance and Security Council Reform

Statement by

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiation on the Security Council Reform

At the meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to begin by extending my appreciation to the Honorable Minister Frattini and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hosting this important meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform. I would also like to thank the President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Joseph Deiss, for his remarks. I also wish to express my gratitude to H.E. Mr. Cesar Ragaglini and his able staff for arranging our participation in this meeting.

I am pleased to be here among the distinguished participants of today’s meeting in my capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform. This is the second time the Italian Government has initiated an event such as this, and it is testament to the high level of importance Italy places on the issue of Security Council reform.

Mr. Chair,

Since the launch of the intergovernmental negotiations in February 2009, we have come a long way. The walls and roadblocks separating different positions have begun to be dilapidated, bringing member states into an open environment of dialogue in which negotiations can take place.

In the last three years, we have undergone six rounds of negotiations. For the first time, we have developed a negotiation text, a well-assorted ensemble of positions, which became the basis for our negotiations. This is in itself a historic achievement.

Just this year, in the General Assembly, we have together been able to come with a streamlined version of the negotiation text, which sets the stage for a new phase of negotiations that can facilitate the movement towards garnering a solution.

The text can be the jumping off point for bigger things. It can be a framework for further progress, as it gives us a clear picture of Member States’ positions and where they stand. But at this point, we need to ensure that we are all able to actively engage with the next steps.

Mr. Chair,

What we currently witness is a high level of interest by all Member States and stakeholders of the process of reform. We have seen some flexibility across the membership, and a real political will for reform, and that is how we have reached this point. But it is not enough, and that is why we do not have a solution yet.

At this juncture, all Member States must make more effort to understand each other. Everyone dedicated to the reform has a legitimate perspective. I ask Member States to put themselves in the shoes of their counterparts. Make every attempt to understand their concerns, the origins of their positions, and the reasoning behind their words and actions.  Without a deeper, mutual understanding, the process cannot continue to progress.

Now, as we are just months away from the end of the 65th session of the General Assembly, I hope we will be able to make sufficient progress as called for by Member States. I repeat as I have always said, I am impartial to any position, but partial to progress.

Mr. Chair,

There are four guiding principles that are essential to moving the Security Council reform process forward and for maintaining the integrity of the process:  flexibility, compromise, courage and transparency:

  1. Flexibility requires an exceptional level of openness in understanding of others’ positions. And a willingness to accept the “possibles” of today. Flexibility is in fact a byword for realism in our work.
  2. Compromise is, in effect, a real give and take process in negotiations, which is inherent in any negotiation and at the end of the day should ultimately take us to an agreed solution.
  3. Courage is essential, as, in fact, progress depends on brave, bold steps to be taken by Member States, both from Missions and Capitals.  It is important to employ all diplomatic multilateral and bilateral means in order to unearth an agreed model of reform.
  4. Transparency is the key; the process is only successful if it continues to be transparent, inclusive and open. The entire process of negotiations is built upon the trust of all, and this will continue to be our guiding lodestar.

Mr. Chair,

We all committed to an early reform of the Security Council and the negotiation process is urged on by that noble objective. While we cannot rush in, the process cannot wait forever. It is difficult to anticipate the exact timeframe of an outcome, but it is also important that no stone should remain unturned to bridge the gaps. In the end, undoubtedly, it is the political will of Member States that will take us to an agreement with the widest possible support. The reform is up to you. It is up to you to reach across the aisle and forge a solution.

Our process has not hit the wall, however, we have need all hands on deck to move us forward. I am sure we are not short of imagination, but it is the will of Member States that is essential.

Mr. Chair,

We are operating on the heart of the organization. One slip of the hand, and we will attenuate the patient. I am still optimistic, and for as long as I can remain helpful to the process, I will shoulder my part of the responsibility – by creating and maintaining an environment, which facilitates open negotiations on Security Council Reform.

I thank you.