10 December 1999


Press Release
GA/9685



ASSEMBLY SEEKS UNIVERSAL SUPPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS, 2001

19991210

Widest Participation Called For: Debate also Begins On Emergency Efforts for Aid, Peace, Normalcy in Afghanistan

The General Assembly this afternoon called on all governments to encourage all members of society to participate in promoting dialogue among civilizations and to provide them with an opportunity to make contributions to the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, to be observed in 2001.

The Assembly took that action as it adopted, without a vote, a resolution by which it invited governments and the United Nations system, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other relevant international and non-governmental organizations, to continue to plan and organize appropriate forums to promote the concept of dialogue among civilizations.

Statements on the dialogue among civilizations were made by the representatives of Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Singapore, Haiti, Israel, and Syria. Representatives of the Observer Mission of Switzerland and the Organization of the Islamic Conference also spoke.

Also this afternoon, the Assembly took up the issue of emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and the reconstruction of war- stricken Afghanistan. Introducing a draft resolution, the representative of Germany said the level of fighting in Afghanistan had reached an unprecedented scale in 1999 when the Taliban had launched a ground and air offensive against the United Front at the end of July, which had aggravated the already grave humanitarian and human rights situation. Despite repeated international appeals not to launch military offensives against each other, both Afghan parties continued fighting and still seemed to believe in a military solution.

The representative of Pakistan said his country, as a neighbour, could not isolate itself from the fallout of the Afghan conflict. The influx of millions of Afghan refugees into Pakistan imposed heavy social and economic costs on it rendering Pakistan’s problem different from that of those States that found it easy to prescribe panaceas, offer advice or make demands from afar.


General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9685 78th Meeting (PM) 10 December 1999

The representative of Afghanistan said he expected the Security Council to now make a determination about the Pakistani aggression. It should call on Pakistan to withdraw its "volunteers" and military personnel from Afghanistan. On the question of sanctions, he said the humanitarian exception in the draft resolution was welcome, since the main objective of the sanctions should be to curtail the financial resources of the Taliban and the money-laundering associated with their drug trafficking.

Several speakers expressed concern at reports of atrocities against civilians, support for terrorism and the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Finland, United States, Japan, Turkey, Iran, Norway, Russian Federation, Egypt, and Uzbekistan.

The Assembly decided to postpone a vote on the draft because of its budgetary implications.

The Assembly will meet again on Wednesday, 15 December, at 10 a.m. to take up the issue of global implications of the Year 2000 conversion computer problem and recognition of International Vesak Day, and to resume its consideration of the situation of Afghanistan, establishing peace in Central America, and cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue consideration of its agenda item on dialogue among civilizations, and also to take up the issue of emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war- stricken Afghanistan. (For background information see press release GA/9684 of today’s date.)

Statements

MAKMUR WIDODO (Indonesia) said the end of the cold war had shattered the old paradigm of international relations. With the end of the decades-long struggle between East and West, there were some who held that new alliances needed to be formed to protect gains that had been made, and to preserve traditional values and cultural heritage from potential new threats. That struggle had been foreseen to be replaced by the North versus the South -- privileged versus impoverished. A religious and racial dimension also existed. He said a clash among civilizations must be avoided.

Dialogue among civilizations was essential for ending racism and for advancing human rights through cooperation and understanding. Rather than closing doors and defending against a phantom enemy, he said the dialogue was inclusive and allowed all to contribute to a global culture. Success of such a dialogue would validate the principles and goals of the United Nations charter.

MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said that in its mission to safeguard the peace, the United Nations must make the dialogue between civilizations its principal weapon. Peace and dialogue were closely linked. In assuming the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Burkina Faso could not be silent on the importance of the “Declaration of Teheran” on the dialogue among civilizations, adopted in 1999, and the “Resolution on the contemporary civilizations” issued at the 26th Islamic conference of Foreign Ministers of Ouagadougou.

Cooperation among the OIC, the United Nations and other international organizations would guarantee the success of the International Year of the Dialogue Among Civilizations, scheduled for the year 2001. All States should participate in that event, to give the world a more human face. All were urged to carry out educational, social and cultural programmes to promote dialogue among civilizations. Moreover, he said, the event of Bethlehem 2000 was a great example of inter-cultural and inter-confessional dialogue. Celebrating the birth of Christ in the land of Islam constituted a proof of tolerance.

S. PREMJITH (Singapore) said the world had not only shrunk, but people’s lives had become inter-twined and interdependent. When the Asian financial crisis started in Southeast Asia, it rippled its way across the world. The world also shared one global environment, especially crucial life-needs like water and air. Nuclear clouds did not respect borders and nor did diseases. For the first time in history, several diverse civilizations were likely to flourish at the same time and it had been said that this could lead to a clash of civilizations. These were all reasons for dialogue.

He said Singapore had tried to promote tolerance in its own small way by respecting all religions and cultures. Though only a small nation of three million, it had three officials languages and at state ceremonies, where religious representatives were invited, there would be several. Singapore believed that respect for multi-racialism was essential for its long-term survival. It was also essential for global survival.

AZAD BELFORT (Haiti) said references to dialogue among civilizations must contain the issue of globalization, which included transforming society into a uniform structure. After the cold war, economic, military and technological supremacy tended to be reflected in a growing trend toward unilateralism. That made the success of globalization even more necessary as one of its positive aspects was understanding that the world needed to have respect for the diversity of human society.

He said the trend towards globalization would raise awareness of diversity not singularity, and of integration rather than exclusion. Also, dialogue among civilizations would facilitate an attack on the roots of conflicts.

YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said the people of his country had developed a pluralistic and fertile relationship with all of mankind. The notion of dialogue which is perceived as a discussion between two people, should be revised, and dialogue, should be a discussion among several. Israel respected the values of harmony and tolerance. In the Middle East region, Muslims, Christians and Jews continued to work towards peace and reconciliation. However dialogue between the partners of peace was still limited especially within the political sphere. Israel believed that dialogue represented a fundamental element and major force for understanding among people. It had therefore been working towards this objective in its work for peace which was aimed at crystallizing regional peace in the political, economic and cultural spheres. It was therefore open to dialogue among civilization and was committed to contributing towards it.

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said dialogue among civilizations was important since it opened the doors for all countries to exchange ideas and produce improvements. The Arab world was the cradle of ancient civilizations. He said the development of societies led to progress towards greater civilization. Moreover, Syrian achievements affected the Mediterranean basin in many fields, such as art, literature and science, among others.

The role played by the Syrian civilization showed civilization was part of a cultural heritage. It could not remain silent on violence. The world needed cooperation and solidarity to fill the gap between the society of the powerful countries and the society of the poor and developing countries.

He said the cultural identity of each state must be preserved for future generations and for mankind as a whole. Culture was the source of the strength of mankind, and different cultures were the source of cooperation. The Arab and Islamic civilizations were based on tolerance, understanding among civilizations, and constructive dialogue. Dialogue among civilizations was based on some principles, such as justice, peace, international law, and international cooperation.

Cooperation, he added, could enhance common world values and find a common denominator among civilizations. The role played by governments and institutions to encourage dialogue was important. Moreover, international organizations, United Nations agencies and regional organizations played an important role. JENO C.A. STAEHELIN, Permanent Observer for Switzerland, said the realization of a global village desired a common basis of ethics which would determine the behaviour of its inhabitants and the practice of human rights. He welcomed the appointment of a personal representative of the Secretary-General in the quest to facilitate dialogue among civilizations, and his Government had decided to fund a part of the infrastructure for the representative.

He said that developing specific projects which brought people together would be a better strategy than considering reports, and pointed out that the acceptance of diversity was enshrined in the tenets of the Charter. The Year for Dialogue would be successful only if the values closely linked with its observance were practised. To ensure that success, the United Nations would have to serve as a catalyst.

MOKHTAR LAMANI (Organization of the Islamic Conference) said dialogue and interaction among civilizations on the supreme values they have achieved offered prospects for constructive cooperation. All civilizations had contributed to these values and moral principles and moral action which would replace policies based on force and aggression. He said Islamic civilization was based on faith and had contributed to literature and science. It had solidified progress and established a common heritage between people from all over the world, including Asia, Africa and Europe. It had also added to the richness of other civilizations.

While the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) welcomed the trend towards dialogue and cooperation, it had not forgotten that interaction had sometimes led to increased instability, which could also be threatening. Humanity had never been so threatened as it was today. At no time had any country been shielded from genocide but there had not previously been a genuine threat to the continuation of humankind. Now there were weapons of mass destruction which could put an end to our planet.

The OIC, he added, was prepared to work towards the success of the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations and to this end its Secretary-General had created a unit which would be the main point of contact for the Year.

MOHAMMAD H. FADAIFARD (Iran) said Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Syria, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Yemen had joined as co-sponsors of the draft.

Action on Draft

The Assembly adopted the resolution (document A/54/L60) without a vote.

Reconstruction of Afghanistan

DIETER KASTRUP (Germany) introduced the draft resolution on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan (document A/54/L.58). He said the following countries had become co-sponsors: Marshall Islands, Seychelles, Madagascar, Colombia, Argentina, Samoa, Belarus, Bolivia, Uruguay, El Salvador, Mali, Mauritius, United Republic of Tanzania, Ecuador, Brazil and Haiti.

He said the draft covered both political and humanitarian questions. The situation in Afghanistan had continued to deteriorate in the past 12 months. The level of fighting had reached an unprecedented scale in 1999, when the Taliban had launched a ground and air offensive against the United Front at the end of July. That offensive had aggravated the already grave humanitarian and human rights situation. In view of that situation, the draft resolution expressed the conviction that there was no military solution, to the Afghan conflict. However, despite repeated international appeals not to launch military offenses against each other, both Afghan parties continued fighting and still seemed to believe in a military solution.

Despite the deteriorating situation, foreign military support to Afghan parties had continued through 1999. The continuing conflict in Afghanistan had reached a point where its regional and international implications could not be neglected any longer. The United Nations must continue to play the central role in international efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict. He also expressed concern that the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General had had to freeze his activities because of the warring parties’ insufficient cooperation.

The text of the draft supported the intention of the Secretary-General to redouble the efforts of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan to achieve an immediate ceasefire. Moreover, the end of military support from outside was an essential prerequisite for the solution of the conflict in the country.

In addition, he went on, the forced displacement of thousands of Afghans to the Shomali plains had created an almost unbearable environment. He said the recently established corridor through the front line was welcome. A first convoy had passed the front line a couple of days ago, a sign of hope for the innocent victims of a meaningless war. On the situation of women and girls, he said the draft resolution stated very clearly that the international community did not accept their exclusion from public life. He also said that Afghanistan had become by far the world’s largest illicit producer of opium. The international community wanted the Afghan parties to stop fighting, and he called upon States with influence in Afghanistan to use that influence constructively, in coordination with the United Nations.

ANNA-MAIJA KORPI (Finland), on behalf of the European Union, said the civilian population of Afghanistan longed for peace, justice and order. The chronic fighting threatened the stability and economy of the region, causing repercussions beyond Afghanistan and its neighbours. She expressed concern at the escalation of the military confrontation during the past months, and dismay that the Taliban ignored the Tashkent Declaration.

She said the European Union was disturbed by reports of forced deportation of civilians by the Taliban from their homes, of the forcible separation of men from their families, as well as other forms of harassment. It appealed to all factions to agree on immediate ceasefire and to enter negotiations under the auspices of the Organization. In addition, there had been reports of foreign interference and further human rights violations, including gender discrimination, as well as breaches of humanitarian law.

She said the European Union reaffirmed its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan. However, it would take into account discriminatory policies in future decisions for supplying aid, and would support those programmes in Afghanistan which integrated gender concerns and actively attempted to promote equitable participation of both men and women. Therefore, she was supportive of the proposal to establish a Civil Affairs Unit to promote respect for minimum humanitarian standards and deter future violations of human rights.

On the issue of the continuous restrictions imposed on the United Nations and other humanitarian personnel, she said the Taliban should fully implement the agreements it had signed with the Organization on the safety and security of its personnel. She also urged the warring factions to ensure freedom of movement, as well as free and safe access of national and international humanitarian personnel to all those in need, without restrictions based on gender, race, religion or nationality.

The European Union, she went on, also attached importance to the fight against illegal drugs and terrorism, and was concerned at the rise in the production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan. Furthermore, she urged all Afghan parties, particularly the Taliban, to close down training camps for foreign terrorists inside the country and to take necessary steps to ensure that those responsible for terrorist act were brought to justice. In that regard, the Taliban should comply with the Security Council resolution that applied to turning over Usama bin Laden.

REVIUS ORTIQUE (United States) welcomed the cooperation of the Taliban in allowing the United Nations humanitarian aid convoy to cross front lines into the Panjshir Valley and urged them to continue to ensure that food assistance reached the neediest in Afghanistan. However, the persistent violations of human rights, especially against women and girls, were still of primary concern. He was appalled by reports of gross and systematic abuse of civilians, including the separation of men from their families, summary executions and the burning of homes.

He said he was alarmed that Afghanistan had become the world’s largest producer of illicit opium with opium poppy production 43 per cent higher this year, and spreading to 104 districts in the country. This was in direct conflict with the pledge made by the Taliban to the Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme that they would support the elimination of all opium poppy. He called on all Afghan parties to stop their illegal drug activities and to cooperate with international efforts to stop the production and trafficking of illegal drugs.

He said the Taliban’s continued harboring of international terrorists in Afghanistan was of urgent concern to all. Security Council Resolution 1267 was an important step in combating international terrorism. He was gratified to hear that many Member States had implemented sanctions against the Taliban. These sanctions had been carefully designed to minimize their impact on ordinary people, and to allow humanitarian assistance to continue unimpeded.

This year had been a discouraging one for seeking peace in Afghanistan and as winter approached the military situation remained in a stalemate. He urged the warring parties to put down their arms and set the stage for Afghans throughout the world to negotiate an end to a conflict that had gone on for too long.

RYUICHIRO YAMAZAKI (Japan) said his country shared the concern expressed by the international community in the past months over recent developments in Afghanistan, where factional fighting had intensified and many people had been forcibly displaced from their homes. Japan called upon the parties to the conflict, especially the Taliban, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council so that a durable peace could be achieved. The conflict in Afghanistan could be settled only through peaceful negotiations with the objective of establishing a broad-based, multi-ethnic and representative government.

The Taliban and other Afghan factions should immediately cease fighting and resume dialogue, he continued. The countries concerned, especially neighboring states, should not interfere in the conflict but rather use their influence on the warring parties to bring the fighting to an end. In view of the tremendous human suffering of the Afghan people, the international community should continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The international community should also convey to the Afghan factions, their leaders and people, a clear message that it would extend assistance to their national reconstruction efforts once the fighting had ceased, peace was restored, and a broad-based, multi-ethnic, representative government was formed.

VOLKAN VURAL (Turkey) said that the by-products of the Afghan crisis -- refugees, illicit cultivation and trafficking of narcotic drugs, and shelters of international terrorism -- had gained transborder dimensions with international implications. The ethnic and religious nature of the conflict had entailed gross human rights violations, murders and displacement of the population in northern Afghanistan. The increased humanitarian needs arising from the intensification of the conflict in Afghanistan, had confirmed the importance of the humanitarian operations of the United Nations system.

The only viable solution to the problem remained the establishment of a broad-based, multi-ethnic government, he said. A reconciliation process could not resume unless a cease-fire was declared and a true dialogue began among the parties. The preservation of the territorial integrity and independence of Afghanistan was of utmost importance. Collective diplomatic efforts, with the United Nations in the central role, continued to be the only efficient instrument which may lead the Afghan parties to a dialogue. Humanitarian aid schemes targeting Afghanistan should be broad based, covering all segments of Afghan society.

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said credible and continuing reports from Afghanistan indicated that the Taliban had adopted what amounted to a scorched earth policy in those areas where their offensive had taken place. There were reliable reports that the Taliban had intentionally burned houses and villages, and systematically destroyed the agricultural base in the Shomali plains in order to dissuade the displaced inhabitants from going back. The region and the wider world continued to be affected by the instability spreading from the lawlessness and chaos associated with the Afghan conflict and the wide-ranging threats stemming from it, such as drug trafficking, refugee crisis and terrorism.

The rising trend in drug trafficking originating from the territory held by the Taliban was indeed a devastating and threatening global menace which affected all human societies. The Islamic Republic of Iran, sharing a long border with Afghanistan, was currently engaged in a costly war against heavily-armed drug traffickers on its eastern borders. Since the beginning of the current year, 160 Iranian anti-drug personnel had lost their lives in confrontation with armed smugglers, bringing to 2,852 the total number of forces killed since 1981. During this year, a total of 170 metric tonnes of narcotics had been seized. He called upon the United Nations system and all Member States to play a more active part in providing meaningful political, material and financial assistance to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries for strengthening their border security.

He said Iran had had to carry a disproportionate burden of the decades-long struggle in Afghanistan since it continued to host significant numbers of Afghan refugees. Despite the fact that nearly two million Afghan refugees still put heavy burdens on the country’s limited resources, Iran continued to abide by its international commitments in that respect.

On the question of terrorism, he said it could not be addressed effectively and adequately unless the international community took a resolute action to stop fighting in Afghanistan. Moreover, the issue of the tragic murder by Taliban forces in August 1998 of the staff of the Consulate-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran and an IRNA news correspondent in Mzar-e-Sharif was still pending and remained unresolved. The Taliban continued to stubbornly disregard the rules of international law and had yet to implement Security Resolution 1214 which condemned that crime. His country was determined to vigorously pursue the matter in a conclusion in which justice was served.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said that because of increasing regional and international implications, the Afghan conflict must be kept high on the international agenda. It was crucial to find a peaceful solution, he stressed. He welcomed the peace initiatives that had been taken in Rome in November, but regretted that the situation had deteriorated since the meeting of the "six-plus- two" group in Tashkent during the summer. The Afghan parties should implement the recommendations of the Tashkent Declaration, and members of the group should adhere to their agreement not to provide military support to any Afghan party and to prevent use of their territories for that purpose.

He said that drug trafficking and other illegal activities were impeding economic development in the region. As the world's largest producer of illicit opium, Afghanistan also posed a threat to its neighbours' stability and prosperity. The social and economic cost of illegal drug trafficking added to the destructive effects of military conflict. The countries in the region should put an end to that scourge that was helping to prolong the military conflict.

A political settlement of the conflict would make an important contribution to peace and stability in the entire region, he added. Alluding to the violations of human rights, including those inflicted on ethnic minorities, women and girls, he said the situation was alarming, as was that of the large number of internally displaced persons.

ANDREI E.GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said the events of the last year did not inspire hope for an end to the conflict in Afghanistan. There had been important steps such as the signing of the Tashkent Declaration on the major principles for settlement of the conflict, but the Taliban had launched a major offensive a few days after the signing which led to a breakdown in peace efforts. They continued to fight, supported by soldiers who were not Afghans.

Calling for an end to outside interference in the Afghan war, in compliance with the Tashkent Declaration, he said Taliban territories within the country were also being used to support and train international terrorists, and for drug trafficking. He said the Russian Federation fully supported Security Council Resolution 1267 which condemned Taliban sponsoring of international terrorists. It called on the Taliban to support the United Nations International Drug Control Programme in its action against drug production and trafficking.

He said the Taliban should put an end to human rights violations and ensure that humanitarian assistance reached those who needed it. The United Nations should play a central role in coordinating international matters in Afghanistan and should take the necessary steps to end the bloodshed and bring peace to the country.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said the Afghan crisis was a concern for the international community as a whole, which should pay more attention to the daily problems of the Afghan people. He also called upon the Afghan parties to cooperate with the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA).

He said the fighting had provoked a large number of refugees and displaced persons. People migrated by force or voluntarily; that provoked a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. It was important to find solutions to enable those people to come back.

He urged all parties of the conflict to show a feeling of responsibility towards the Afghan people. It was necessary to take steps to reach a peaceful settlement. The Islamic world had yesterday begun the month of Ramadan. In that context, he said, Islam called for tolerance, peace and equality among people. In that context, he urged the parties to refrain from practices that were against the principles of that Holy religion.

INAM-UL-HAQUE (Pakistan) said the continuation of the war in Afghanistan had direct and dire consequences for his country, since the two nations shared a border that extended over 2,500 kilometres. The influx of millions of Afghan refugees into Pakistan also imposed heavy social and economic costs. Pakistan also had no option but to deal with the ground realities in Afghanistan, particularly the fact that the Taliban controlled 90 per cent of the territory including the capital Kabul. Therefore Pakistan’s problems as a neighbour of Afghanistan were different from those States that found it easy to prescribe panaceas, offer advice or make demands from afar.

No country in the world stood to gain more from peace in Afghanistan than Pakistan, whose policies were therefore predicated on a desire to promote a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict. Pakistan had supported the United Nations efforts as well as the initiatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, believing that there could only be a negotiated solution to the Afghanistan conflict. The key to peace in Afghanistan lay in the engagement of both sides, and not the isolation of one or the other. The international community should remain neutral in order to be a credible interlocutor. To demonize one side would be counter-productive. It was also unfair to blame the Taliban for the cumulative ills of the last 20 years in Afghanistan, as that group had emerged only in the last few years.

Turning to the draft resolution, he said that Pakistan had proposed a number of constructive amendments in order to inject some balance into the text. A few were accepted but most were not. The text was therefore one-sided and biased. While Pakistan did not condone excesses by any party in the conflict, it noted that the draft resolution held the Taliban primarily responsible for most, if not all, aspects of the Afghan situation. It ignored the constructive steps taken by the Taliban and did not acknowledge that large areas under their control were relatively stable and secure, and could encourage the return of refugees provided international assistance was forthcoming. The draft also eschewed any criticism of the United Front and Pakistan therefore dissociated itself from the text.

ALISHER VOHIDOV (Uzbekistan) said the situation in Afghanistan and its vicinity –- relating to the number of displaced persons, the narcotic trade and terrorism -- were matters of great concern. There were also border problems and it was therefore important to establish conditions for cooperation between the countries of the region. It was necessary to settle the crisis in Afghanistan and to have a government characterized by internal stability and respect for international law. Uzbekistan, he said, had made efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Afghan problem.

On the group of the “six-plus-two”, he said it had demonstrated sufficient experience. It was an effective international mechanism. It was necessary to put an immediate end to hostilities, through negotiation should be carried under United Nations auspices.

The use of Afghan territory for training terrorists and to plan terrorist acts, together with the narcotic trade, were issues of great concern. Uzbekistan intended to play a role in efforts to put an end to the conflict.

RAVAN FARHADI (Afghanistan) said the Secretary-General's report highlighted important facts about the international terrorist networks operating from the region and beyond, in collaboration with the Taliban militia. It also documented the colossal increase in opium production from Taliban-controlled lands as "talibanization" of the region created a transnational organized crime network that financed the "hegemonistic purposes of Pakistan", the Taliban's war machine and associated terrorist groups.

He called for firm and robust action by the international community. He said the Security Council should make a determination about the Pakistani aggression to which the Secretary-General had referred in his report when citing the presence of Pakistani and other foreign fighters in Afghanistan.

In the interest of regional peace and stability, he said, he expected the Council to call on Pakistan to withdraw its so-called "volunteers" and military personnel from Afghanistan, as had occurred earlier in the year with regard to Kargil. Further, he expected the Secretary-General to invite the due attention of the Security Council to the alarming situation and the tragic picture he had depicted of the atrocities committed by the Taliban against civilians. It was critical to take necessary measures against the perpetrators. Failing to act vigorously against such crimes would lead to the impression of unaccountability and impunity.

On the question of sanctions, he said the humanitarian exception in the resolution was welcome, since the main objective of the sanctions was to curtail the financial resources of the Taliban and the money-laundering associated with their drug trafficking. He said Afghanis were questioning the attitude of indifference in the draft toward the Pakistani and Taliban crimes, as well as the double standard shown by the Security Council. Afghanistan hoped for a peaceful solution to the conflict with Pakistan and hoped the two countries would be restored to friendly relations. For its part, Afghanistan was co-sponsoring the resolution to reaffirm its position that the solution to the conflict was not military.

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