Security Council Issues Statements Reiterating Recent Election’s Importance to Transition in Afghanistan, Threat Posed by Opium Cultivation
Security Council Issues Statements Reiterating Recent Election’s Importance to Transition in Afghanistan, Threat Posed by Opium Cultivation
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7208th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Issues Statements Reiterating Recent Election’s Importance
To Transition in Afghanistan, Threat Posed by Opium Cultivation
During a debate on the situation in Afghanistan, the Security Council issued two presidential statements on recent elections, reiterating their importance to that country's transition and democratic development, and on the threat posed by rampant illicit opium cultivation.
In a presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/11), the Council welcomed the holding of the second round of the presidential election on 14 June. The 15-member body commended the participation and courage of the Afghan people to cast their ballot despite the threat and intimidation by the Taliban and other violent extremist and terrorist groups. It also commended the participation of Afghan women in the electoral process, underlining the key role they played in Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability.
By the presidential statement, the Council called on all stakeholders to engage with the electoral institutions and processes with patience and respect, and to refrain from any acts that incited imminent violence. It also called on all political entities to work together with the aim of strengthening Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity. The Council looked forward to the conclusion of the electoral process and welcomed the ongoing support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Turning to the proliferation of illicit drugs in Afghanistan, the Council issued a presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/12) that reaffirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the country and expressed concern at the increase in poppy production.
By the presidential statement, the Council called on the United Nations to support the Government of Afghanistan's national priority programmes and called upon all States to strengthen international and regional cooperation to counter the threat to the international community posed by the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs originating in that country.
Ján Kubiš, the Secretary-General’ s Special Representative, addressing the Council via video tele-conference from Kabul, updated members on recent election-related events, echoing the body's call for calm amid hateful rhetoric stemming from voting. All necessary steps needed to be taken by the two presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, to avoid any "slippery slope" to civil disorder and instability.
In the face of challenges following elections, he said how both candidates and the country's leadership managed those events would be vital to national unity and stability. "We can provide technical expertise to advise on possibilities and modalities of strengthened checks and balances," he said. "What we cannot do is prepare solutions and decide on behalf of Afghans — that is the exclusive responsibility of Afghans."
Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), also addressing the Council, emphasized that Afghanistan needed continued international support. If economic development declined, reliance on the illicit market would further increase.
" Afghanistan needs a meaningful action plan that has a long-term development, peace and security approach," he said, emphasizing three key areas: reducing the vulnerability of citizens to the illicit economy; removing opportunities for criminals by focusing on good governance; and generating the political will that could introduce long-term engagement. "Development and economic growth must go together with resolute action in addressing drug trafficking networks and transnational organized crime in Afghanistan, across the region and at the interregional level."
Zahir Tanin ( Afghanistan) told the Council that as his country transitioned to a one led by a democratically elected President, the focus would remain on full ownership and leadership. Progress towards its sustainability and self-sufficiency depended on the national institutions' performance of their key tasks and promotion of social and economic development, which would require the international community's continued support.
With the recent elections, Afghans had sent a strong message that the Taliban no longer had the ability to disrupt the country, he said. Afghans had cast their ballots despite intimidation by the Taliban and other extremists groups and they dipped their fingers in ink, not only for a candidate, but for a better future.
During the debate, which heard from nearly 30 speakers, many agreed that the illicit drug trade needed a cooperative approach and supported the Government's efforts to do so.
With regard to elections, many speakers applauded the Afghan people for casting their ballot despite violence threatening some polling stations. Some speakers emphasized that the Afghan people should not feel abandoned, with many calling for sustained support for development and security efforts to build a strong, peaceful Afghanistan.
Also delivering statements were representatives of Australia, Chile, Rwanda, Lithuania, Nigeria, United States, Luxembourg, Jordan, Republic of Korea, China, Chad, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, India, Canada, Pakistan, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.
A representative of the European Union also spoke.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 1:45 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (document S/2014/420).
JÁN KUBIŠ, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), speaking via video tele-conference, updated Council members on election-related events that had unfolded after the 18 June report of the Secretary-General (document S/2014/420). With challenges testing Afghanistan's electoral, institutional and legal frameworks, how the two presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and the country's leadership managed those events would be vital to national unity and stability.
Emphasizing that the presidential and Provincial Council elections were Afghan-led, Afghan-managed and Afghan-secured, he underlined that electoral institutions were still maturing. It was the responsibility of Afghan stakeholders to ensure a timely completion of the electoral process from which a legitimate leader should emerge. The presidential candidates needed to engage with each other to move that process forward. "We can provide technical expertise to advise on possibilities and modalities of strengthened checks and balances," he said. "What we cannot do is prepare solutions and decide on behalf of Afghans — that is the exclusive responsibility of Afghans." The United Nations efforts assisted Afghan institutions and stakeholders, but could not substitute for or replace them.
Given rising tensions following the second round of voting, including increasing ethnic overtones, the utmost maturity and statesmanship was required, he said. The supporters of both candidates should refrain from hateful rhetoric, and all necessary steps needed to be taken by the two leaders to avoid any "slippery slope" to civil disorder and instability.
Despite current challenges, the Afghan people's participation and engagement in the election process was a "bright side", he said. Afghans looked towards a better future and expected their leaders to work for it. He hoped the upcoming month of Ramadan would help to pave the way for a peaceful and prosperous future of a stable and united Afghanistan.
YURY FEDOTOV, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said Afghanistan needed continued international support, warning that, if economic development declined, reliance on the illicit market would further increase. Pointing to the narcotics trade, estimated to represent between 10 and 15 per cent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product (GDP), he noted that most of the country's poppy cultivation took place in insecure areas in the southern and western provinces. The link between the lack of security and opium cultivation was evident, with money-laundering hindering proper tax collection in a country plagued by the world's highest rate of opium addiction.
Those problems had not been concretely reflected in the Kabul and Tokyo processes and counter-narcotics efforts were not given a high priority by national and international stakeholders, he said. Highlighting 2013 counter-narcotic activities, he said UNODC had launched an initiative to enhance criminal intelligence and collaboration among regional centres to tackle main trafficking routes. However, despite those and other efforts, more needed to be done. " Afghanistan needs a meaningful action plan that has a long-term development, peace and security approach," he said, emphasizing three key areas: reducing the vulnerability of citizens to the illicit economy; removing opportunities for criminals by focusing on good governance; and generating the political will that could introduce long-term engagement. "Development and economic growth must go together with resolute action in addressing drug-trafficking networks and transnational organized crime in Afghanistan, across the region and at the interregional level."
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said it was a pivotal moment for his country, with the presidential elections representing the cornerstone democratic transition to a nationally led process towards peace, stability and security. The 5 April and 14 June ballot had generated an unprecedented surge of democratic spirit. His country had emerged as a vibrant young democracy characterized by wide-spread engagement in the political process. Afghans had cast their ballots despite intimidation by the Taliban and other extremists groups. They dipped their fingers in ink, not only for a candidate, but for a better future. They did so in numbers that exceeded all expectations. Women and ethnic groups from all over had participated in the vote. Thousands of citizens had ensured the integrity and legitimacy of the administration, and thousands of domestic observers had overseen the entire electoral process. That had allowed the balloting to take place despite the serious security threats.
Hundreds of police and thousands of "female searchers" had participated in the electoral process, he said, expressing sadness at the deaths of civilians and other participants in the process. He deplored the attacks against the electoral institutions, but said that, nonetheless, Afghans had sent a strong message that the Taliban no longer had the ability to disrupt the country. Steps had been taken by electoral bodies to detect fraudulent votes and manage complaints in the first round. Efforts were made to ensure the integrity and transparency of the second round, amid such concerns. As Afghanistan transitioned to a country led by a democratically elected president, the focus would remain on full ownership and leadership. Progress towards its sustainability and self-sufficiency depended on the national institutions' performance of their key tasks and promotion of social and economic development, which would require the international community's continued support.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) said the elections were vital and had taken place despite the efforts of some groups to disrupt them. Afghans had stayed the course, including with women's full engagement. The electoral process was now at a critical point. The Afghan institutions were important, including the electoral and complaints commissions, and all parties should engage with them patiently. Beyond the elections, he looked forward to a democratic and peaceful transfer of leadership. The Afghan forces had demonstrated increasing capability in quelling the insurgency and providing security for their people. Australia would continue to lend its support of $100 million per year, including also training and advising. The Government, for its part, must maintain its commitment to economic and social development. It must also address the use of explosive devices, as well as the grave narcotics threat. Afghanistan stood at the threshold of its transformation, for which he assured Australia's support.
CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET ( Chile) said progress in terms of human rights was a determining factor in the country's future and that women must continue to be included, with the new Government working to end violence against all Afghan women. Turning to security, he supported new measures that the Council had taken to halt the spread and use of improvised explosive devices. There was a need to combat drug trafficking and for national authorities and stakeholders to address humanitarian challenges, including access for organizations to safely reach those in need. Terrorist attacks had spread during the election process, and it was necessary to continue to provide support to the national security forces.
LAWRENCE MANZI ( Rwanda) said it was vital that voters and candidates refrained from inciting violence as inclusive governance was essential for national unity. He commended national security forces for responding to security challenges, pointing out that, by the end of 2014, those forces would have complete control and should be supported in their efforts. The Tokyo framework was fundamental for long-term stability, yet narcotics remained a problem and was threatening international peace and security. No concrete results had been reached to date, he said, hoping that the Council's presidential statement on the subject would play a role in combating illicit drugs in Afghanistan.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ ( Lithuania) said it was encouraging that there were almost 300 women among the Provincial Council candidates, and that, according to preliminary results, 97 of them had won. The remaining candidates should engage constructively with the electoral institutions, and refrain from any acts that could lead to instability. The security situation and the increase in civilian casualties and the number of women and children among them were cause for concern. The use of improvised explosive devices was particularly worrying, as was the increase in incidents in the east of the country carried out by Al-Qaida affiliates and the Taliban. Lithuania supported the transition and would support the Afghan security forces after 2014. She expressed concern over children’s rights violations and attacks on schools. Afghan authorities should endorse a road map to bolster implementation of the children in armed conflict action plan. She welcomed the legal provisions of the criminal procedure code that enabled women to testify against relatives, the tracking enforcement mechanism of the Elimination of Violence against Women Law, and tracking of civilian casualties by gender. But, further efforts were needed to advance women’s rights.
KAYODE LARO ( Nigeria) noted that despite Taliban threats to launch a campaign of violence to disrupt the elections, millions had turned out to cast their ballots. Additionally, there had been a series of televised debates between the candidates, which had contributed to civic awareness and high voter turnout. Afghans had embraced democracy, but at the same time, he urged all candidates to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and other acts that could impede security. All campaign platforms had addressed women's issues, and women had received more than 20 per cent of the seats in the provincial bodies. On humanitarian issues, despite an internally displaced person task force having developed a road map to implement the national policy, there was concern that constraints continued to hamper humanitarian access. Most worrying were the attacks against humanitarian workers. Also of note was the Government's significant achievements in the war on drugs. Since criminal and terrorist groups were known to fund those activities, it was vital for the Government to deny them funding sources and reduce their capacity to organize. Finally, he welcomed the regional framework in the areas of law enforcement and criminal justice.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) called it a "historic time" for Afghanistan; millions had turned out to vote, not once, but twice in recent months in elections that would determine the country's first democratic transfer of power. There was reason for optimism as many institutions developed over the last decade had played a key role as presidential candidates had engaged in vigorous, televised debates. That had raised public awareness amid a maturing and independent national press. Electoral observers had increased the transparency of the elections, and there was likely no bigger change than the participation of Afghan women. Further, female observers had managed polling stations and had run for and won seats in the provincial councils. Nevertheless, challenges remained, including election fraud, for which the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission must play their part. All stakeholders must refrain from violence and condemn such acts when they occurred. The United States was committed to working with the next President to help Afghanistan build a more stable, peaceful and prosperous nation.
SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said the courage of Afghan voters must be matched, with candidates cooperating with electoral institutions, which should be operating with transparency. The July elections would determine a president-elect that should choose a government that reflected a diverse Afghanistan. While a successfully concluded electoral process was essential, other areas needed to be addressed, including human rights and the rights of women. She hoped the new government would actively include women and combat violence against women. She appreciated the efforts made in focusing on children and armed conflict. Civilian protection was also a concern alongside drug trafficking. Tackling the latter required efforts on the national, regional and international levels. At this crucial time, it was important for UNAMA to maintain a presence in Afghanistan.
MAHMOUD HMOUD ( Jordan) said his delegation called upon the two candidates to do their best to end the stalemate so that a new president could shoulder his responsibilities as soon as possible. That included addressing the terrorist attacks that were currently facing the national forces and civilians. Without sustained international support, authorities would find it difficult to overcome those and related challenges. The Afghan Government must continue efforts to implement economic and political reform so that radical forces could not invoke a justification for their actions. All groups must work towards strong national unity. Regional efforts were critical in combating illicit drugs, and the Security Council should remain seized of the matter.
PAIK JI-AH ( Republic of Korea) said Afghanistan was at a turning point. Despite threats by the Taliban and other terrorist groups, Afghan-led efforts for a smooth electoral process were commendable. Afghan women were to be commended for casting their ballots. In the coming stage, all stakeholders should refrain from incitement, violence and disorder. The Afghan institutions established for that purpose must be respected. He was concerned about the security situation, particularly the increase in civilian casualties as compared to the same period last year. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including with improvised explosive devices, as well as the grave violations of human rights, were strongly condemned. On narcotics, opium production and consumption had devastating effects on the country's stability and development, and a coordinated response was essential to tackle that issue which was linked to terrorism, organized crime and money-laundering. He recognized the national strategy and regional framework, and expressed appreciation for the important role of UNODC in that regard.
WANG MIN ( China) voiced respect for the choices being made by the Afghan people and was confident the successful electoral processes would help them stay the course towards peace, security and development. Realization of those goals was contingent on the Government and people, as well as the international community's support. China was concerned about the unabated terrorist attacks and believed support must be provided to strengthen the security and police force capacity. The international community must play a strong role in supporting the Afghanistan High Peace Council as it worked towards reconciliation. Enhancing Afghanistan's own capacity for economic development was crucial, and the Government should pursue such goals to enable the entire population to feel their dividends. Concerning drugs and transnational organized crime, the international community should honour its commitments and strengthen support to Afghanistan. The United Nations had played a key role in helping the country and region, and it must continue to do so. UNAMA also should play its role in supporting Afghan-led efforts.
BANTÉ MANGARAL ( Chad) said UNAMA had helped to organize elections and that, in spite of terrorist threats, there had been a large number of women candidates on the ballots. There should be dialogue among the two presidential candidates, as that was the only way to peace in Afghanistan. All attacks against voters were to be condemned and those responsible were to be held accountable. Terrorism in all forms was a crime, he said, commending efforts made towards peace at the national and regional levels. While growing drug trafficking was cause for concern, the Government’s efforts to combat opium cultivation were to be applauded and the international community should support those initiatives.
FRANCISCO JAVIER DE ANTUENO ( Argentina) said the high voter turnout in recent elections had demonstrated the Afghan people's commitment to build their own future. Allegations of voter fraud must be investigated and disputes resolved, with all candidates respecting the outcome of the ballot. A truce with opposition forces was critical for peace and security and human rights. Access to schools and jobs for all Afghan people must be ensured, especially regarding women's rights. With the security forces absorbing about half of the country's budget, it was important also to focus on development. Concerned over the ballooning drug addiction problem, he said that young people must be prevented from abusing them. The United Nations had a critical role to play in security, development and supporting international efforts. The Afghan people should not be abandoned.
PETER WILSON ( United Kingdom) said the recent elections showed the desire of Afghans to have a say in their country's future. As that process entered its final stages, all stakeholders must strive for stability and respect for the electoral authorities. Candidates should work with the independent and complaints commissions, whose investigations must be thorough and transparent. The "fighting season" in Afghanistan was under way, and security would be a challenge. He paid tribute to the security forces who were endeavouring to build a stable and democratic Afghanistan. Their implementation of the national strategy amid threats to disrupt the process was a testament to their confidence and capability. The international community must help to ensure that the security was durable. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit later this year was an opportunity to underline the Alliance's support and mark the International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF) achievements. The challenge posed by drugs, in Afghanistan and the wider region, were serious and complex. Tackling them required a comprehensive approach, combining tougher law enforcement, strong economic organs and promoting alternative livelihoods.
PHILIPPE BERTOUX ( France) commended the high turnout of women at the polls, as well as the remarkable performance of the Afghan security forces. All were determined to ensure the country's positive future, where violence had no place. It was essential to ensure that protests did not overshadow success. Similarly, competing candidates should avoid provocative rhetoric. Confidence in the counting process also was crucial to the new leader's ability to govern. Despite recent success, there were many challenges that could not be forgotten, namely drug trafficking and its effects on Afghans. That challenge required the commitment of all, particularly of regional partners. Everything must be done to avoid the worst-case scenario — to leave Afghanistan on its own with rebel forces that were weakened but not defeated. Today's presidential statement summarized the Council's key principles and indicated its emphasis on solving the drug problem. Although the models in place to counter the insurgency would change, the values for which everyone fought must not be renounced.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), President of the Council, speaking in his national capacity, hoped all grievances and disputes following the elections in Afghanistan were dealt with legally. There was a need for a comprehensive analysis of the situation in that country, particularly as areas in the south, south-east and east were worsening. Armed opposition groups numbered about 10,000, exacerbating cross-border issues and there were pending issues regarding the foreign military presence. The Russian Federation fully supported dialogue with the armed opposition, and that fighters renounce violence and cut ties with Al-Qaida. Unfortunately, despite joint international and national efforts, Afghanistan was turning into a global hub for opium production. In that regard, the future Government should make counter-narcotics efforts a priority. The moment could be decisive in scaling up initiative.
Resuming his function as Council President, Mr. CHURKIN read out a presidential statement on elections (S/PRST/2014/11) and another on drug trafficking (S/PRST/2014/12).
BHAGWANT SINGH BISHNOI ( India) congratulated Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for his leadership and statesmanship in ensuring the first political transition. Both candidates for the second round had the onerous responsibility, along with other Afghan institutions, to ensure the election process was completed. The 2 August political transition would mark a significant milestone in Afghan history. The 23 May attack against the Indian Consulate in Herat was a reminder that terrorism, not ethnicity or tribal differences, was the greatest threat to Afghanistan’s stability. The Secretary-General’s latest quarterly report on the security situation in Afghanistan was a reminder of the extent of that danger. India was distressed to learn that the incidents in the south, south-east and east of the country accounted for 3,917 of the total number of incidents from March to May. The international community’s full support to develop a prosperous, independent and sovereign Afghanistan, capable of defending itself, was the only way to defeat the scourge.
The reconciliation process must remain Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, while respecting the agreed lines, he said. The Non-Aligned Movement endorsed the “Afghan-controlled” process during its recent ministerial meeting in Algiers. The Non-Aligned Movement would never endorse treating the Afghan Government on par with elements of the Taliban. India remained committed to helping the Afghan people and Government as they built a peaceful, pluralistic, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. “ India does not have an ‘exit strategy’ in Afghanistan, with whom it shares civilization linkages spanning hundreds of years,” he said.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada), recognizing the work of the Ministry of Interior and the Afghan National Security Forces in ensuring the elections could proceed, expressed his country’s commitment to helping strengthen the forces’ capacity to respond to threats. But, he was deeply concerned by the allegations of fraud and urged the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission to take urgent steps to investigate and resolve all registered allegations. The Afghan Government should sign the United States-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement and conclude the NATO-Afghanistan Status of Forces Agreement as soon as possible. It was essential to maintain accountability and transparency for international sustained funding of the security forces, including Canada’s commitment of $330 million for the 2015-2018 period. More must be done to ensure women’s voices were heard in all decision-making processes. The Elimination of Violence against Women Law must be implemented. Canada’s $227 million in development aid between 2014 and 2017 was contingent upon fulfilment of key reforms under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework. He welcomed passage of the Minerals Law and urged the responsible ministries to put into place mining regulations to guard against corruption, increase transparency and ensure water rights for Afghan communities.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) congratulated the Afghan people for the successful conduct of two landmark elections. It was a defining movement for peace in the region. The institutions had an obligation to take the electoral processes to a successful end, as that would usher in a new era in Afghanistan's history. Elections were an internal affair with Afghan institutions in the lead; it was up to them to resolve differences within the framework of the Constitution and national laws. It was a time for engagement and statesmanship. Pakistan had taken steps to secure Afghan democracy, having bolstered security along the shared border and enhancing communication and aerial surveillance. Afghans were a proud people and masters of their own fate, and he looked forward to working with their next leader. At the same time, Afghans realized that the transition would not deliver full dividends until there was lasting political stability and reconciliation.
While acknowledging the professionalism and strength of the Afghan force, he warned that it needed support beyond 2014 to ensure its viability and sustainability. The political and security transition must not be thwarted or derailed, and the projected draw-downs must not leave vacuums behind. There were forecasts for an economic downturn when the war economy morphed into a peace economy, and the international community had a responsibility to avoid a large-scale economic recession in Afghanistan. It was crucial to stimulate growth and investment, as well as to create jobs and facilitate refugee rehabilitation. Pakistan hosted 2 million registered and unregistered Afghan refugees. The registered 1.6 million alone constituted the world's largest protracted refugee population. Recently, there had been a sharp decline in returns, requiring the international community to step forward and hasten the pace. Pakistan was a victim of the opiate traffic and had sought to target the operations, dismantle laboratories and seize illicit drugs. But, regional cooperation was crucial. Pakistan had also worked to dismantle terrorist networks, he added.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA ( Japan) noted that, to assist the presidential and provincial elections in Afghanistan, his country had provided $16 million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He expressed that the process leading up to the final results, scheduled for 22 July, would proceed fairly, promptly and peacefully. Both candidates must respect the mandate of the election bodies and cooperate to prevent the situation from worsening. There should be an orderly transition to an inclusive, reform-minded Government that would address important challenges, such as security, reconciliation with the Taliban and sustainable economic development, particularly in relation to the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework. During their meeting in Tokyo last month, members of the International Contact Group affirmed that the Framework would continue to serve as a reference for relations between donors and the new Afghan Government. Since 2001, Japan had given $5.4 billion in development aid to Afghanistan, at it had steadily implemented its promise to provide up to $3 billion from 2012 through 2016 to Afghanistan.
INIGO LAMBERTINI ( Italy) said regularity in the Afghan election process was critical. The process must be legitimate, credible, transparent and inclusive for the outcome to be accepted by defeated opponents and the public, and thus, allow for a peaceful transition. During the second phase of balloting, both candidates and their supporters must conduct themselves responsibly and avoid rushing to claim victory prematurely. They must channel complaints through the appropriate mechanisms. He welcomed the United States’ announcement about its future presence in Afghanistan and the timetable for its military withdrawal. The signing of the United States-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement was instrumental in the post-2014 period, as was finalizing the necessary legal framework for the presence of NATO troops in the country. Italy fully supported the peace process and Afghanistan’s complete ownership of it. Italy expected its Afghan friends to remain committed to the “Tokyo Legacy”, as well as to reach clear, measurable goals in the democratic and electoral processes, the fight against corruption, administrative and economic governance, and human rights.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, said it was critical that the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission ensured that elections were transparent. Both candidates must act responsibly and direct any complaints through appropriate channels. On Monday, the Union’s Foreign Affairs Council endorsed a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan that reiterated its commitment to help address remaining challenges. The aim was to support development of Afghanistan’s institutions to give them the resilience to safeguard progress to date and provide the requisite platform for a more effectively, sustainable Afghan State. The Union provided more than €1 billion per year in aid to Afghanistan, making good on the aid it pledged at the Tokyo Conference. The Afghan authorities must do their part and enact the political and economic reforms set out in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework. The new President should reach out to all Afghans and their neighbors, so they could contribute to the development of a stable, prosperous and fully sovereign Afghanistan. Further, there should be urgent action to root out corrupt networks, he concluded.
HEIKO THOMS ( Germany), saying it was a crucial year for Afghans, congratulated the voters on their courage and called on both presidential candidates to respect authority and accept the outcome. The electoral process was not yet complete, and it was imperative to avoid ethnic and tribal clashes. As the Secretary-General had said, it was time for statesmanship, not gamesmanship. Support for the national security forces was also crucial and the signing of the relevant security arrangements was a necessary condition of continued international support. UNAMA would have a central role in coordinating efforts in support of the new Government. However, the Mission should not be overburdened; it must be adequately resourced and present throughout the country. All Afghans, including women, should be involved in all domestic processes, particularly in national reconciliation.
JUAN MANUEL GONZALEZ DE LINARES (Spain), associating himself with the European Union Delegation, noted that, while vote counting was still under way, those processes were decisive and would provide the first handover of power in a democratic way. The Afghan people had turned out to vote despite threats to disrupt the process. The maintenance of order by the Afghan National Security Forces was to be commended. The political parties and institutions, particularly the electoral machinery, must be able to meet the people's expectations, especially since they had shown their aspiration for a democratic nation. All legal mechanisms in force should ensure respect for their will expressed at the ballot box. He added Spain's voice to the appeal to all actors to continue to demonstrate the exemplary conduct they had shown in the early phases.
INESE FREIMANE-DEKSNE ( Latvia) supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process and welcomed steps taken to ensure higher participation of women in the election process. Regional cooperation was crucial for the long-term stability and economic development of Afghanistan and the region. Latvia welcomed regional initiatives, particularly the Istanbul process. Active and constructive engagement of all participants ahead of and after the Ministerial Conference in China in August was important for sustained progress towards cooperation and building trust between Afghanistan and its neighbours. Afghanistan had made remarkable progress in strengthening regional connectivity, which fostered regional cooperation and economic development. Earlier this month, the Afghan Minster for Transport and Civil Aviation participated in the High-level Conference on Transport, Logistics and Trade Routes, hosted by Latvia. Her country would continue to support the professional advancement of Afghanistan’s railroad and aviation experts.
TALAIBEK KYDYROV (Kyrgyzstan), speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said he hoped that the current historic turning point in Afghanistan would see its people come together to ensure justice and national reconciliation. Kabul should lead that process by, among other things, requiring rebels to lay down arms and cut ties with Al-Qaida. A comprehensive approach was needed to tackle current challenges, including activities of terrorist and extremist groups, especially in the northern region of the country. One major challenge centred on drug production and trafficking, he said, noting the link between terrorism and the illicit narcotics trade. Opium production in Afghanistan continued to threaten the country, region and the world as a whole. He supported the role of the United Nations in monitoring the drug situation in Afghanistan and helping to ensure security there. Regional cooperation could also help to combat drug trafficking and enhance ongoing efforts in that regard.
LEVENT ELER ( Turkey) said that, despite the fragile political and security atmosphere in Afghanistan, the country’s electoral institutions, particularly the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, had the necessary capacity to handle any impasse or obstacle arising from the election process. Turkey had supported the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process from the outset. He condemned last week’s attack on the Head of the Secretariat of the High Peace Council and hoped that those responsible would be brought to justice swiftly. The increase in civilian casualties was worrisome, and required greater attention. As international forces withdrew from Afghanistan, regional cooperation and commitment was increasingly vital for transforming the region into a zone of peace, stability and prosperity. He welcomed the positive momentum of the Istanbul process and looked forward to the upcoming Istanbul ministerial meeting in China.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2014/11 reads as follows:
“The Security Council welcomes the holding of the second round of the Afghan presidential election on 14 June and reiterates the importance of these historic elections to Afghanistan’s transition and democratic development. It commends the participation and courage of the Afghan people to cast their ballot despite the threat and intimidation by the Taliban and other violent extremist and terrorist groups. It further commends the participation of Afghan women in the electoral process, and underlines the key role that they play in Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability.
“The Security Council notes positively the efforts of the Afghan people to prepare for and hold these elections, including security arrangements, and reiterates the important role of the Afghan electoral institutions, including the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission. It calls upon Afghan electoral institutions to uphold the highest standards of integrity throughout this important and historic process, and emphasizes that all efforts must be made to ensure the integrity, neutrality and transparency of the electoral process, including the detection and prevention of fraud.
“The Security Council calls on all stakeholders to engage with the electoral institutions and processes with patience and respect, refrain from any acts that incite imminent violence, civil disorder or lead to instability, and to channel complaints through the established institutional mechanisms in line with Afghanistan’s electoral laws and Constitution.
“The Security Council looks forward to the conclusion of the electoral process in accordance with the relevant laws and mandates of the electoral institutions and the orderly transition to a new administration and welcomes the ongoing support role of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
“The Security Council calls on all political entities to work together in accordance with the Afghan Constitution, with the aim of strengthening Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity in order to achieve a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Afghanistan.
“The Security Council condemns the actions of those who attempted to disrupt the elections, such as terrorist attacks against civilians, including election personnel and candidates, as well as attacks against election infrastructure. It condemns violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other violent and extremist groups and illegal armed groups aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country.
“The Security Council recognizes the sacrifices of the Afghan people and Afghan National Security Forces during the election period, and reiterates that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability.”
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2014/12 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.
“The Security Council recognizes the threat posed by the production, trade, trafficking of illicit drugs to international peace and stability in different regions of the world and the important role played by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in this regard.
“The Security Council expresses concern at the increase in poppy production, as noted in the UNODC Afghanistan Opium Survey 2013, noting the serious harm that opium cultivation, production and trafficking and consumption continues to cause to the stability, security, social and economic development and governance of Afghanistan, as well as to the region and internationally, and stresses the important role of the United Nations to continue to monitor the drug situation in Afghanistan. The Council encourages ISAF to further, effectively support, within its designated responsibilities, Afghan-led sustained efforts, including efforts by the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces), to address drug production and trafficking, in cooperation with relevant international and regional actors.
“The Security Council notes that, according to the World Drug Report 2013, Afghanistan remains one of the foremost source countries for opiates and cannabis resin.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Afghanistan’s peaceful future lies in the building of a stable, secure, economically sustainable State, free of terrorism and narcotics and based on the rule of law, strengthened democratic institutions, respect for the separation of powers, reinforced constitutional checks and balances and the guarantee and enforcement of citizens’ rights and obligations. The Council renews its commitment to assisting Afghanistan on its path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction.
“The Security Council welcomes the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan in fighting drug production in Afghanistan.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of a comprehensive approach to address the security, economic, governance and development challenges in Afghanistan, which are of an interconnected nature, and recognizesthat there is no purely military solution to ensure the stability of Afghanistan.
“The Security Council calls on the United Nations, with the support of the international community, to support the Government of Afghanistan’s National Priority Programmes covering the issues of security, governance, justice and economic and social development, and to support the full implementation of mutual commitments made on these issues at international Conferences, as well as on continuing implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy, and requests that UNAMA, in an increasingly enabling function, assist the Government of Afghanistan on its way towards ensuring full Afghan leadership and ownership, as defined by the Kabul Process.
“The Security Council reiterates its support for the Transition (Inteqal) process, which will entail the assumption of full responsibility by Afghanistan’s institutions in the security sector, consistent with the London, Kabul, Bonn and Tokyo Conferences and the NATO Lisbon and Chicago Summits.
“The Security Council stresses the central and impartial role that the United Nations will continue to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan by leading the efforts of the international community.
“The Security Council reiterates its concern about the security situation in Afghanistan, in particular the ongoing violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other violent and extremist groups, illegal armed groups, criminals and those involved in the production, trafficking or trade of illicit drugs, and the strong links between terrorism activities and illicit drugs, resulting in threats to the local population, including women, children, national security forces and international military and civilian personnel, including humanitarian and development workers.
“The Security Council notes with concern the existing links between international security, terrorism and transnational organized crime, money-laundering, trafficking in illicit drugs and illegal arms, and in this regard, emphasizing the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and in particular to close connections between international terrorism and illicit drugs. The Council welcomes the recent efforts carried out under the Russian Presidency in the Financial Action Task Force on identification of the illicit financial flows linked to Afghan drug production and trafficking.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need to enhance existing interregional and international cooperation and coordination mechanisms in order to develop an integrated, comprehensive and balanced response to the drug problem, including as part of a long-term security, development and institution-building agenda.
“The Security Council encourages an enhanced collaboration between all relevant entities, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the UN Police Division, and the UN Development Program in order to have an effective and detailed coordination mechanism to prioritize activities, support the National Drug Control Strategy and to ensure coordinated implementation of a United Nations’ comprehensive approach. It encourages the inclusion of combating drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in the work of all relevant United Nations entities involved in Afghanistan, in accordance with their respective mandates and actively maximizing synergies.
“The Security Council reaffirms specifically in this context its support for the implementation, under the leadership and ownership of the Afghan people, of the commitments set out in London (S/2010/65) and Kabul Conference Communiqués, and of the Afghanistan National Development Strategyand of the National Drugs Control Strategy as part of the comprehensive implementation strategy to be taken forward by the Government of Afghanistan with the support of the region and the international community and with a central and impartial coordinating role for the United Nations, consistent with the Kabul Process and in line with the National Priority Programmes.
“The Security Council, stressing the crucial importance of advancing regional and interregional cooperation, welcomes in this regard the continued commitment of the international community to support stability and development in Afghanistan, and calls on the Afghan Government, with the assistance of the international community, to accelerate the implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy, including through alternative livelihood programmes, encourages additional international support for the four priorities identified in that Strategy, and commends the support provided by the UNDOC to the Triangular Initiative and the Central Asian Regional Coordination and Information Centre within the framework of the Paris Pact Initiative and the Rainbow Strategy, the UNODC regional programme for Afghanistan and neighboring countries, relevant efforts by Istanbul Process on Regional Peace and Security, the European Union, through the EU’s Border Management Programme in Central Asia and Border Management in Northern Afghanistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan process, continued OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) engagement with Afghanistan, based on the 2011 Vilnus Ministerial Declaration, by means of implementation of the OSCE project at the OSCE Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe, inter alia, the training of Afghan law enforcement officers on combating illicit drugs at the Domodedovo Police Academy of Russia and their continued training in the United States’ Drug Enforcement Training Academy, the Siberian Law Institute and North-Western Advanced Training Institute of the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia.
“The Security Council calls upon States to strengthen international and regional cooperation to counter the threat to the international community posed by the production, trafficking, and consumption of illicit drugs originating in Afghanistan, with a view to its progressive elimination, in accordance with the principle of common and shared responsibility in addressing the drug problem of Afghanistan, including through strengthening the law enforcement capacity and cooperation against the trafficking in illicit drugs and precursor chemicals and money-laundering and corruption linked to such trafficking. The Council also encourages Member States to undertake further action, as well as to consider, on the basis of concrete proposals by UNODC and International Narcotic Control Board, through the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, possible new international initiatives aimed at strengthening the combat against illicit trafficking in chemical.
“The Security Council notes the ongoing importance of the counter-narcotics issue for the United Nations’ engagement in Afghanistan. It reiterates the need for the Council to be kept informed, including by the UNODC, of the threats of drug-trafficking and related transnational crime on situations on the Council’s agenda, notably when examining the mandates of peacekeeping operations and political missions.
“The Security Council reiterates its invitation to the Secretary-General to consider the threats resulting from drug trafficking and related illegal activities as a factor in conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated missions’ assessments, planning and peacebuilding support and to consider including in his reports, analysis of the role played by these threats in situations on the Council’s agenda.
“The Security Council welcomes further briefings on the situation of drug trafficking in Afghanistan, as necessary, by the Executive Director of UNODC.”
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