Friday, October 9, 2015

United Nations At the Security Council debate on The Situation in Afghanistan

Statement  by H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  At the Security Council debate on The Situation in Afghanistan


Mr. President,

It is truly a pleasure to be among the Members of the Security Council today, at this critical juncture on Afghanistan’s path to peace and prosperity. I congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of September, and convey our appreciation for Germany’s continual support and assistance for Afghanistan during its tenure on the Council. Let me also convey a warm welcome to my good friend and colleague the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Jan Kubis. We thank him for his clear presentation of the Secretary General’s comprehensive report.

Mr. President,

We meet at an important time, when Afghanistan is transitioning confidently into a vibrant, self-reliant and sovereign nation; a nation that is increasingly taking full charge of its destiny. The Afghan people are inspired by the prospect of a future free from violence and war. And thanks to our joint efforts, important progress towards that endeavor continues.

As we speak, Afghanistan has surpassed the halfway point on our transition to full security responsibility. With the commencement of the third tranche of security transition in May, 75% of the country will be under Afghan security responsibility by the end of November.  Our progress is on track to complete security transition by the end of 2013. The Afghan army and police are showing more resilience and effectiveness, as they take on more responsibility in meeting the country’s security needs.

Needless to say, sustainability of the ANSF is inextricably linked to the international community’s long-term support.  The outcome of the recent Chicago NATO Summit was a clear manifestation of our international partners’ resolute commitment to a strong and effective Afghan national security force. We also welcome NATO’s decision to develop a new “training, advising and assistance” role, which will take effect in 2014, and look forward to working with our relevant partners on the scope and mandate of the new mission.

Mr. President,

The Afghan people are encouraged by the international community’s assurance to helping them secure peace and prosperity throughout transition, and the Transformation decade (2015-2024). In this regard, commitments made at the Bonn Conference last year, the NATO Summit this past May, and more recently, at the Tokyo Conference in July are crucial for our long-term success.

The Tokyo Conference marked the beginning of a new relationship between Afghanistan and our international friends; one based on a result oriented cooperation, to be conducted within the “mutual accountability framework.” We expect the international community to meet its commitment in channeling assistance through our core-budget, and aligning its aid with the Afghan National Priority Programme. Combating corruption, strengthening governance, and consolidating the rule of law will remain key priorities for us. President Karzai’s decree of July of this year is a significant step forward in our counter-corruption efforts. And it will be implemented by clear and time-bound measures by all Government Ministries, agencies and departments towards full accountability and transparency.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is regaining its legitimate place in the region and the world, through playing an active role within the neighborhood and international community. Our multilateral agreements and strategic partnerships involve long-term commitments between Afghanistan and our international partners. The partnerships we have formed, both within our neighborhood and beyond, are essential to preserving the historic achievements of Afghanistan’s young democracy and securing the future peace and stability of the country. Thus far, we have concluded strategic, long-term partnership agreements with United States of America, India, China, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Australia. We see these partnerships as the key for our collective fight against the twin menaces of terrorism and extremism and for our future peace and stability through supporting our evolving national ownership.

Mr. President,

As we continue our transition, with bold steps toward strengthening Afghan sovereignty and national ownership, the enemies of Afghanistan continue to make desperate attempts to undermine our progress towards a brighter future. Terrorist attacks have been increasingly inflicted on families and innocent Afghan men, women and children in many parts of the country, putting a brutal and tragic halt to their peaceful lives.

Undoubtedly, the unremitting violence plaguing Afghanistan is the result of the continued military, financial and ideological support enjoyed by terrorists, and the presence of sanctuaries and safe-havens outside our borders.

Mr. President,

While the fight against terrorism will continue, the next few years of the political and security transition are vital for a stable future for Afghanistan. We are working diligently to ensure a fruitful result of peace and reconciliation efforts underway. Our inclusive peace and reconciliation process seeks to build trust and confidence among all Afghans. We are determined to bring to the folds of society those elements of the armed opposition willing to renounce violence, cut ties with terrorist groups, and accept the Afghan constitution. The High Peace Council has revitalized its approach to reconciliation efforts. The international community and our region have an important part to play. The role of the UN Security Council will be imperative to this process. We thank the Council for its support of our reconciliation efforts by meeting delisting requests, which we have presented. By the same token, we hope the new mandate of the Taliban sanctions committee will entail required adjustments, in recognition of the importance of an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process – so that the sanctions regime is more responsive and flexible and used in an even more effective, positive way to encourage those willing to join this process. Therefore, we look forward to working closely with the Council members to amend the resolution in a way that further benefits and accelerates the Afghan peace process.

Mr. President,

The violence in Afghanistan has had a drastic effect on the security and well-being of our citizens. We express our serious concern about the growing number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan – the majority of which are caused by the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Meanwhile, loss of innocent life and harm to populations has also occurred in the course of NATO operations. The loss of even one innocent life is one too many. We underscore, yet again, the need to exert all measures necessary to protect civilian populations.

Mr. President,

The greatest challenges to peace and stability in Afghanistan, such as terrorism, extremism, and narcotic drugs, are shared regionally and internationally. Our common threats require cooperative solutions. We are working with regional countries, and other partners for a comprehensive response to these menaces. Launched in November of last year, the Istanbul Process is gaining momentum. The process was further crystallized at the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Kabul in June, with the prioritization of key confidence-building measures. We look forward to coming together with our Heart of Asia partners in less than a week from now at the next Senior Officials Meeting in this city.

Mr. President,

Let me now turn to a matter of deep and serious concern to my Government and the Afghan people. The shelling of areas of Kunar province of eastern Afghanistan from across the Durand Line, has led to unprecedented anger and frustration among Afghans from all walks of life. We reiterate our call for an immediate and complete end to these acts, which have taken the lives of dozens of Afghans, mainly civilians, while leaving many more wounded. We remain in close contact with the Government of Pakistan to address this issue, holistically and resolutely.

Failure to end such attacks risks jeopardizing Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations, with potential negative consequences for necessary bilateral cooperation for peace, security and economic development in our two countries and the wider region. Afghanistan desires close and fruitful relations with Pakistan, a neighbour with whom we share historical, cultural and traditional ties.

Mr. President,

As we work to tackle the challenges on the road ahead, let us not lose sight of the historic, transformative successes made thus far. Significant advances in social and economic development are clearly evident. Millions of students, boys and girls, men and women are enrolled in primary and higher education. The majority of Afghans now have access to basic health services; and Afghans are increasingly taking part in the democratic processes, exercising their right to shape their own destiny. While we have seen such changes unfolding throughout the last decade, we can be proud that today the initiatives underway in regards to development are increasingly Afghan-driven and Afghan-led, with support from the international community.  This characteristic is crucial for the sustainability of development efforts and for helping Afghanistan realize its full potential.

Mr. President,

With the next Presidential elections fast approaching, we are fully committed to ensuring a transparent election process, free of any external interference.

Mr. President,

After over three decades of struggle and suffering, we are moving ahead with Afghanistan’s recovery and renewed strength. Afghans recognize the important indications of our sovereignty. We are determined to further our efforts toward national ownership across the board, as the most effective way to ensure lasting peace and security to our country.

Before concluding, allow me to register the Afghan Government’s strong condemnation of the recent senselessly provocative acts of insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). While acknowledging our fellow Muslims’ right to peacefully protesting these insults, we deplore any violence resulting from such protests, especially against diplomatic representations anywhere in the world.

The key for Afghanistan’s future success is cooperation, both for our transition and the Transformation Decade to follow. Building trust and confidence with the international community is the basis for our path to security and prosperity. We are pleased that the Security Council is continuing to follow the situation closely, and we are thankful for their support and the support of the United Nations, including on revising UNAMA’s mandate in line with the demands of Afghan sovereignty. With long-term cooperation and partnership in the center of our efforts, we are confident that together we can build a more peaceful, stable Afghanistan.

Thank you, Mr. President!


Security Council Meets on Afghanistan

H.E. Zahir Tanin , Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, addresses the Security Council as it meets to discuss the situation in Afghanistan

United Nation’s Security Council debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin  Ambassador and Permanent Representative

of Afghanistan to the United Nations

In the Security Council debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

Thank you very much, Mr. President, for convening this important meeting, and we commend your able leadership of the Council this month. We also thank the Secretary-General for his report on Afghanistan, and welcome the presence of Under Secretary-General Ladsous and Under Secretary-General Fedotov among us.

A month ago at the NATO Summit in Chicago, Afghanistan’s friends and partners came together to express their unanimous support for the end of war and beginning of a new phase in our enduring partnership, which was first envisioned in Lisbon in 2010. Our partnership will continue into the Transformation Decade, during which Afghanistan will take full charge of its security, governance and development.

Just weeks before, we inked the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement with the United States of America as a guiding framework of our bilateral cooperation for the long-haul, and solidifying mutual commitments, including strengthening Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity in the years to come. Although the specifics of this partnership will continue to be further crystallized, the agreement has been endorsed by both houses of the Afghan parliament – a clear manifestation of the overwhelming support from all corners of the country.

Mr. President,

As part of the new phase of international engagement in support of Afghanistan, we have also established strategic partnerships with Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and most recently Australia. Furthermore, discussions are underway to conclude similar agreements with Turkey, Norway, and the European Union.  And in our region, we signed a strategic partnership with India, a country with whom we have shared historic and traditional ties.  Earlier this month, Afghanistan took an important step forward towards establishing a strategic and cooperative partnership with our other great neighbor, China.

Mr. President,

The launch of the Istanbul Process last November was a milestone in realizing a new regional order, by which Afghanistan and other Heart of Asia Countries joined hands for a common goal and future: peace, stability and prosperity. The Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference held in Kabul less than two weeks ago advanced the objectives of the Istanbul process. As part of the conference outcome, we reaffirmed our solid commitment to implement a wide-range of confidence-building measures (CBMs). I take the opportunity to convey our gratitude to all friends and partners for their participation and support.

Afghanistan has also obtained observer status of the Shanghai Cooperation Council in its recent conference in Beijing. It is an important move. With all these steps, Afghanistan is restoring its historic role as a land-bridge, and its potential to become a catalyst for peace and stability in the entire region.

Mr. President,

We look forward to next month’s Tokyo Ministerial Conference, where we aim to effectively address the areas of Afghanistan’s economic sustainability and development, addressing the fiscal gap, as well as finalizing a mutual accountability agreement between Afghanistan and the international community. In Tokyo, Afghanistan will be presenting a comprehensive action plan on self-reliance, and our national priority programs. The conference will not be another pledging event, but an important venue for a solid commitment of the international community during Transition and the Transformation Decade.  Our thanks go to the friendly Government of Japan for their generosity in hosting the event.

Mr. President,

Transition to Afghan ownership and leadership is our number one strategic priority. In that regard, I am pleased to note that we are making steady progress. The third tranche of security transition has officially commenced, which includes some of the most conflict prone provinces with the highest levels of insecurity.  Needless to say, we are on track to complete the third phase before the end of the year, by which seventy-five percent of the population throughout the country will come under Afghan security force responsibility.  As we strive to complete security transition by 2013, the need for sustained support for training and equipping of our national security forces is inevitable.  NATO and other allies’ undertakings for such support at the Chicago NATO Summit are particularly important.

Another core-priority on the way forward will a strong new focus on establishing a more clean and competent government, strengthening governance, fighting corruption, and enforcing the rule of law. The agenda of reform is in the center of our efforts. At the same time, we are diligently addressing all currents that may pose a threat to national interests, law and order. Such measures will enhance the full trust and confidence of all Afghans for the future.

Mr. President,

A far more challenging task will be implementing the socio-economic component of Transition, which is vital to our state-building efforts. Central to this goal is underscoring support for the Afghan National Priority Programs, which in addition to security and governance, emphasizes development of our agriculture, human resources, infrastructure and private sector, all of which are vital for our economic growth.  Our vision is an Afghanistan that is a self-reliant state, standing on its own feet. Afghanistan will not remain an aid economy; we are working to significantly reduce aid dependency by the end of the Transformation Decade.

Mr. President,

Advancing the peace-process towards a successful outcome is a core-element of our strategy to bring lasting peace to our people and nation.  Pursued on the basis of a national consensus, we are convinced that our reconciliation efforts remain the surest path to ending the conflict and a ensuring a durable peace. Let there be no doubt, our Afghan-led peace process will not ensue at the expense of the hard won democratic gains of the past decade, including human rights, the rights of women in particular.

For achieving a successful outcome to our reconciliation efforts, I wish to underscore the importance of resolute support from our immediate neighbors, and other partners in the region and beyond.  In this connection, I take the opportunity to express gratitude for the support provided by this Council with the framework of the 1988 Committee.

The up-coming elections in 2014 will be another important step towards Afghanistan’s political maturity and the consolidation of democracy. We are taking a number of measures, including electoral reforms, to ensure a smooth political transition, consistent with our constitution.

As we proceed through transition and into the Transformation Decade, international engagement will remain crucial. In that regard, we also look forward to advancing our close cooperation with the United Nations towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

One of the greatest impediments to both development and security in Afghanistan is the illicit drug problem. Despite our challenges, Afghanistan is sparing no effort to rid our society of the menace of illicit drugs. Over the past 5 years, we have significantly reduced poppy cultivation. However, there are a number of various factors that impact the increase and decrease of poppy cultivation from one year to another. And just this year alone, eradication figures have increased three-fold since the previous year. We are tracking down and bringing to justice an increased number of individuals involved in drug trafficking. A long-term solution is not possible without cooperation and coordination in addressing the dominant factors behind the drug problem, such as preventing flow of chemical precursors into Afghanistan, as well as providing Afghan farmers with alternative livelihoods.

Mr. President,

 As we continue our joint journey towards a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, building on the gains of the past, Afghanistan’s enemies are still very much intent on derailing our progress, and preventing our success. This is evident by continued brutal acts of violence and terror by the Taliban and those behind them, the latest of which was the massacre on Spozhmai Hotel just outside Kabul last weekend. It is a continued psychological war, a war of perception. However, Mr. President, no such shameful acts of terror will deter the will of the Afghan people from their ultimate goal of securing peace and prosperity. Afghans have come too far, and endured far too many sacrifices to give up now. With such brutal acts, the Taliban are not threatening the state, they are just disrupting people’s peaceful lives. Let us remain committed as ever before to complete the journey we began a decade ago.

The Afghan people and Government express their gratitude to the international community for their resolute support for Afghanistan.

I thank you Mr. President!