SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS "SIX PLUS TWO" GROUP REMAINS ESSENTIAL FORUM FOR SOLUTION OF AFGHAN QUESTION

15 September 2000
SG/SM/7552

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS "SIX PLUS TWO" GROUP REMAINS ESSENTIAL FORUM FOR SOLUTION OF AFGHAN QUESTION

15 September 2000

Press ReleaseSG/SM/7552 AFG/121

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ‘SIX PLUS TWO’ GROUP REMAINS ESSENTIAL FORUM FOR SOLUTION OF AFGHAN QUESTION

20000915

Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s statement today at Headquarters to the “Six plus Two” meeting on Afghanistan:

I am delighted to welcome you to the second meeting of the "Six plus Two" to be held at the foreign minister level. Our first meeting at United Nations Headquarters two years ago, also at the opening of a new session of the General Assembly, enabled us to address the serious situation that had developed in Afghanistan and the surrounding region in the aftermath of the fall of Mazar-e-Sharif and the murder of Iranian diplomats. Your presence in New York in the wake of the Millennium Summit and at the opening of the general debate of the fifty-fifth General Assembly provides us with a new and timely opportunity to review the situation.

This meeting once again takes place against a background of renewed fighting in Afghanistan, particularly by the Taliban, despite appeals by the Security Council, myself and my Personal Representative to refrain from violence and seek a negotiated solution.

The seizure by the Taliban of the town of Taloqan, the last major urban stronghold of the United Front, has raised the possibility that the north-eastern province of Badakshan, the last under full control of the United Front, may fall before the onset of winter, thus reducing the area held by the Front to the Pansjhir Valley. These events would appear to indicate that one of the parties may still be mistakenly betting on a military solution. In the meantime, thousands of innocent civilians have been displaced yet again, exacerbating an appalling humanitarian crisis, the result of years of unending warfare and, more recently, drought.

I would propose that, after listening to a briefing by my Personal Representative, Francesc Vendrell, the group have a frank and informal exchange of views and set itself viable objectives for arriving at a cohesive and comprehensive strategy towards Afghanistan. Our common goal is to see an end to the fighting and the establishment of a broadly representative, multi-ethnic government that would reflect the genuine aspirations of the Afghan people and be responsive to the legitimate concerns of the international community. Indeed, the conflict in Afghanistan has ceased to be, if it ever was, merely an internal Afghan problem. Years of foreign intervention have not only failed to produce any significant benefits for those meddling in the country's affairs, but have also

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led to a situation where the Afghan conflict has become a growing threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond.

Despite disappointments since its establishment three years ago, the Six plus Two group remains an essential forum for the solution of the Afghan question, inasmuch as no lasting political settlement is feasible without the concurrence of each member of the group. The adoption by this group on Wednesday of a regional counter-narcotics action plan is a commendable first step towards strategic cohesion among its members. You have also found common ground in supporting my efforts and those of my Personal Representative to induce the parties to enter into a process of dialogue without preconditions that would lead to a negotiated settlement. I trust that today's meeting will mark a further step in the development of a coordinated and effective approach to ending the Afghan tragedy.

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For information media. Not an official record.