Saturday, October 25, 2014

65th General Assembly Opens under Swiss Presidency


Today the 65th session of the General Assembly opened under the Presidency of Switzerland.

This year marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, and the General Assembly will face a heavy agenda including a high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, the ongoing review of the Human Rights Council, and a third year of intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform.

General Assembly Opens 65th Session A wide view of the General Assembly during the first meeting of its sixty-fifth session under the presidency of Joseph Deiss (on screens).

The President of the General Assembly is H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, a career Swiss politician who has previously held high-level positions including President of the Swiss Confederation, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Economic Minister, in addition to a period as a Member of Parliament. In his first statement, officially opening the 65th session of the General Assembly, President Deiss emphasized his faith in the United Nations and the General Assembly, and stressed that the United Nations Charter gives the General Assembly a central role as “the pre-eminent forum for global debate.” He outlined an ambitious set of goals, including the achievement of the MDGs; returning the United Nations to its rightful place at the center of global governance; and the promotion of sustainable development  (click here for the complete text of the opening statement).

Afghanistan, represented by Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, will serve as a Vice President of the 65th GA. This is the second time that Ambassador Tanin will play this role; he previously served as Vice President of the 63rd GA from 2008-2009.

Ambassador Tanin Addresses UN Security Council on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”

H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, today addressed the UN Security Council on the topic of “protection of civilians in armed conflict.”

The meeting, which was opened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, heard briefings from Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes; and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay.

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In his opening remarks Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon noted that events around the world showed that the protection of civilians in armed conflict remained a common challenge world-wide. He said the Security Council made important progress in protection of civilians, but more needed to be done. In that regard, he underscored maximizing the effectiveness of “peace-keeping operations through increased Council support, and enhanced training of troop and police contributors.

In his statement, Ambassador Tanin 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.

New York, July 7, 2010

Ambassador Tanin Received by the Libyan Leader

H.E. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United States, arrived in Libya late Saturday for a three-day official visit at the invitation of the Government of Libya.

On Monday, Ambassador Tanin was received by H.E. Mr. Moammar Ghadafi, Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution, at his Residence in Tripoli. They spoke for two hours. Also present were the Libyan Director of International Organizations, Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chief of Protocol of the Office of the Leader.

Their discussion ranged from Afghanistan, and the role of the international community there, to the Security Council reform process that Ambassador Tanin is currently chairing for his second year under the Libyan Presidency of H.E. Ali Treki. Leader Ghadafi expressed his opinion that the UN General Assembly needed to be empowered, and that the Security Council should be more democratic and representative, rather than being the preserve of a select few. He emphasized the importance of the national sovereign equality that underpins the United Nations, and stated his belief that reform of the Charter is necessary to reflect current realities, to give permanent representation for all including Africa through representation of regional and other organizations. He expressed his support for Ambassador Tanin’s efforts and wished him success.

Ambassador Tanin, for his part, briefed the Leader on recent developments in the negotiations process, including the recent introduction of a draft negotiation text. He thanked the Leader for his interest and emphasized that there was a need for engagement from international leaders to produce the necessary political will for reform. Ambassador Tanin reiterated that he remained impartial to positions but partial to progress, and said that he would do everything he could to keep the momentum alive, but that in the end the Member States were the owners and drivers of the process.

Ambassador Tanin and Leader Ghadafi also discussed the current situation in Afghanistan. The Leader expressed his solidarity with the Afghan people and his support for their search for a political solution to the ongoing conflict. He expressed his wishes for the success of the Afghan leadership in finding a solution and ending the long suffering of the Afghan people.

Ambassador Tanin also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Mussa Kussa.

During his visit to Libya, Ambassador Tanin also had the opportunity to visit several sights of cultural and historical interest, including ancient Roman ruins outside of Tripoli.