Top UN envoy calls for sustaining momentum of recent Afghan peace forum

Staffan de Mistura

12 June 2010 – It is essential that the momentum of the recent peace jirga held in Afghanistan is maintained and utilized to advance dialogue towards development and stability in the country, the top United Nations official there said today.

The Consultative Peace Jirga, held from 2 to 4 June in a large tent located outside Kabul, brought together some 1,600 participants, including 300 women, to chart the way forward in the country's peace process.

“The peace jirga was a step forward in the right direction. It was also a sign of unity among those who were inside the tent, and a message to those who are outside the tent to come inside,” noted Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“The bottom line ? is that the momentum on the peace jirga, which was a success, needs to be maintained. And the way to maintain it is to have constant incremental signals that move in the direction of dialogue until we reach the conference of Kabul,” he told reporters in the capital, referring to the meeting next month between Afghanistan and its international partners.

Mr. de Mistura said one of these signals is the response by the UN to the Government's request for the de-listing of individuals from the so-called “Consolidate List” of those subject to UN sanctions in connection with Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Individuals on the list, which include 137 Afghan nationals, are subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo imposed under Security Council resolution 1267 of 1999, and related resolutions, by which all UN Member States are required to impose sanctions on Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and those associated with them.

In January of this year, the Security Council's 1267 committee approved the de-listing of five men who held senior positions within the Taliban regime following a review of the list.

Mr. de Mistura said a UN team is currently in Kabul to examine this issue of “updating” the list, and it will provide recommendations towards this end later will be in Kabul in the coming days

“We are not going to prejudge the conclusions of this group and neither of the Security Council? but the fact that it is taking place so soon after the peace jirga and so soon after the appeal to look seriously at this list is a sign of pro-activity which we welcome,” he stated.

The Special Representative also highlighted the UN's readiness to support the committee set up following the jirga to examine the issue of detainees held by both the Government and international forces.

“There was a common feeling even among my human rights colleagues that there were many people who are detained without legal basis, and that could be a possible criterion along which one judges both the deliberation of those who were detained both on the political ground or other ground from both prisons – the national and international ones,” he stated.


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