17 January 2006 While strongly condemning the recent upsurge of violence in Afghanistan, the United Nations Security Council today emphasized the importance of an upcoming London conference that will unveil a new framework for the country’s development, known as the “Afghan Compact.”
Speaking to reporters following a briefing on Afghanistan, the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga of Tanzania, said “no terrorist acts can reverse the paths towards peace and reconstruction,” adding that the upcoming London meeting would be a key event for the country.
The London conference on Afghanistan, to be held on 31 January and 1 February, will launch a new Afghan Compact “to provide a solid framework for the next stage of reconstruction,” the Council President said.
Earlier today, the outgoing senior UN envoy to Afghanistan, Jean Arnault, told the Council that the international community must remain committed to helping Afghanistan because while much has been achieved in recent years, the challenges ahead remain great.
Speaking in a week that has already seen a series of deadly attacks, one of which claimed the life of a Canadian reconstruction official on Sunday, Mr. Arnault said this violence was a reminder of “the magnitude of the outstanding tasks in the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan.”
He pointed to intensifying clashes in parts of the war-torn country. “Violence and threats against local officials, religious leaders and schools continue and intensify, particularly in the South and South East,” he said.
Mr. Arnault pointed out that four years after the Bonn accords paved the way for the democratic transition in Afghanistan, Afghans have defied violent extremism and hardship to lay the groundwork for a peaceful and prosperous State.
“They deserve our confidence that, with undiminished assistance by the international community, they will be equally successful in the realization of the vision contained in the Compact of Afghanistan,” he said.
Late last month, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Tom Koenigs, a German national who has served the UN in Kosovo and Guatemala, as the new head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to replace Mr. Arnault who has served in the post since February 2004.