9 July 1997


Press Release
SC/6392



SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON AFGHAN PARTIES TO END FIGHTING AND RETURN TO NEGOTIATING TABLE

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Presidential Statement Says All External Interference in Afghanistan Must Cease; Deep Concern Expressed over Discrimination against Women and Girls

Expressing grave concern at the continued escalation of military confrontation in Afghanistan, the Security Council this afternoon called for an immediate end to the fighting there.

In a statement read out by its President, Peter Osvald (Sweden), the Council called upon all Afghan parties to return to the negotiating table immediately and to work together towards the formation of a broad-based, fully representative government that would protect the rights of all Afghans and abide by Afghanistan's international obligations. It stressed that all external interference in Afghanistan must cease and called upon all States to end immediately the supply of arms and ammunition to all parties to the conflict.

The Council, taking into account risks of regional destabilization, expressed the belief that peace and stability in Afghanistan could best be attained through intra-Afghan political negotiations under United Nations auspices with the active and coordinated assistance of all countries concerned. It therefore urged the Afghan parties and countries concerned to abide by the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Afghanistan.

Reiterating that the continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan provides a fertile ground for terrorism and illegal drug production and trafficking which destabilized the region and beyond, the Council called upon the leaders of the Afghan parties to halt such activities.

Also in its statement, the Council expressed deep concern at the continuing discrimination against girls and women and other violations of human rights, as well as at violations of international humanitarian law. It called upon Member States to respond generously to the 1997 United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Emergency Humanitarian Assistance for Afghanistan and reaffirmed its full support for the United Nations efforts in Afghanistan.

The meeting, which began at 12:28 p.m., adjourned at 12:34 p.m.


Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1997/35, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General concerning the situation in Afghanistan of 16 June 1997 (S/1997/482).

"The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the continued escalation of military confrontation in Afghanistan. It calls for an immediate end to the fighting.

"The Security Council calls upon all Afghan parties to return to the negotiating table immediately and to work together towards the formation of a broad-based, fully representative government that will protect the rights of all Afghans and abide by Afghanistan's international obligations.

"The Security Council, taking into account risks of regional destabilization, believes that peace and stability in Afghanistan can best be attained through intra-Afghan political negotiations under United Nations auspices with the active and coordinated assistance of all countries concerned. It urges the Afghan parties and countries concerned to abide by the provisions of relevant resolutions on Afghanistan adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly.

"The Security Council stresses that all external interference in Afghan affairs must cease, and, in this context, it calls upon all States to end immediately the supply of arms and ammunition to all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan.

"The Security Council is deeply concerned at the continuing discrimination against girls and women and other violations of human rights, as well as at violations of international humanitarian law.

"The Security Council reiterates that the continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan provides a fertile ground for terrorism and illegal drug production and trafficking which destabilize the region and beyond, and calls upon the leaders of the Afghan parties to halt such activities.

"The Security Council is deeply concerned at the worsening of the humanitarian situation, including the displacement of the civilian population. In this regard, it calls upon Member States to respond generously to the 1997 United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Emergency Humanitarian Assistance for Afghanistan.


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"The Security Council reaffirms its full support for the efforts of the United Nations in Afghanistan, in particular the activities of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA). It requests the Secretary- General to continue to keep it regularly informed of the situation and his efforts, as well as those of UNSMA.

"The Security Council will remain seized of the matter."

Report of Secretary-General

For its consideration of the situation in Afghanistan, the Security Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/51/929- S/1997/482) prepared in response to the Council's request for regular information on main developments in that country. The Secretary-General was also requested to report to the General Assembly every three months during the fifty-first session on progress on the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General states that the situation in Afghanistan remains volatile. The warring parties seem bent on resolving their problems through military means rather than through peaceful negotiations and have paid no attention to the many calls by the Security Council, the Head of the Special Mission and other countries for a cease-fire and dialogue. The conflict is increasingly being fuelled by strong ethnic feelings between the predominantly Pushtun Taliban on the one hand and the Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, who comprise the opposition camp, on the other.

All Member States concerned claim to agree that peace is needed in Afghanistan, but it appears that a number of them are not yet ready to put concerted pressure on the warring factions to stop the "senseless civil war", the report states.

The report states further that recent military and political developments have proved again that the question of Afghanistan is not susceptible to a solution by force. Fighting was reported at the western, central and northern fronts, as well as to the north of Kabul, while the situation in the north remains tense and fluid. In the Secretary-General's view, the imposition of one party's will over others, even if it appears to be successful in the very short term, cannot bring lasting peace and stability to the country and the region. The futility of continued fighting in Afghanistan has been repeatedly underlined by Member States at such occasions as the second meeting of the countries with influence in Afghanistan as well as by the Security Council.

The second meeting of Member States with influence in Afghanistan was convened on 16 April to reassess the situation following recent political and


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military developments and to discuss how best to promote a negotiated settlement of the conflict and reinforce the United Nations peacemaking efforts, the report goes on. Participants included the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the following Member States: China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan.

The Secretary-General welcomes as a positive development the initiatives to mobilize moderate, influential Afghans inside and outside the country who are not directly involved in the ongoing fighting. However, although he regards the prospects for peace as bleak for the immediate future, he remains determined to pursue a negotiated solution to the Afghan problem because the potential cost of inaction is too high. The overwhelming desire for peace among the majority of the Afghan people is undeniable.

The Secretary-General therefore repeats his appeal to the Afghan factions to return to the negotiating table immediately. He also calls upon the Member States concerned to cease their military support to the warring factions, to address in a more substantive way how best to resolve the Afghan conflict and to coordinate their efforts in that regard closely with the United Nations.

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