|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7267th Meeting (AM)
Impasse over Election Results in Afghanistan Takes Heavy Toll, United Nations
Envoy Tells Security Council, Citing Completion of Credible Audit
During Wide-ranging Debate, Country’s Representative Says ‘Time
To Move Past This Difficult Chapter and See New Government Start Its Work’
Protracted deadlock in Afghanistan over the result of presidential elections deepened a crisis that had already taken a heavy political, security and economic toll, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in that country told the Security Council today.
“There is quite simply no better way forward other than a Government of national unity led by an elected President, as certified by the Independent Electoral Commission, working in partnership with the new Chief Executive Officer,” said Jan Kubiš, the United Nations’ top official in Afghanistan, in a briefing, during which he introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation (document S/2014/656).
He said both candidates supported the idea of a unity Government in principle, but needed to resolve negotiations over its modalities quickly to ensure a legitimate, broadly accepted transition. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had given support at the request of both candidates and in line with its mandate to prevent conflict.
An audit, begun in July by the Independent Election Commission, was now complete, he reported, having detected and excised “significant” levels of fraud and having provided a “comprehensive and credible check” on the process.
Following the briefing, the representative of Afghanistan confirmed that every single vote cast in the presidential run-off had been evaluated in an effort to bring to an end the “protracted, complex, even at times messy” electoral process. The Afghan people had turned out in impressive numbers to cast their vote, defying terrorist threats and eager now to “move past this difficult chapter and see a new Government start its work, in the spirit of national unity”.
He believed that successful democratic transition was all the more vital in the light of the negative impact of the electoral impasse on economic growth, security, as well as in the political sphere, where a dangerous atmosphere of division and fragmentation had emerged. Conclusion of the process, he said, would reinvigorate wider reforms and the participation of all segments of society in the peace and reconciliation process.
Several speakers also voiced concern at the damaging effects of the electoral dispute on economic performance and the security situation, while stressing the need to speed up efforts in tackling Afghanistan’s long-standing challenges. The representative of the European Union Delegation, for example, said the Government must tackle challenges in a unified, robust way that served the needs of the entire population, and not vested interests.
Also acknowledging Afghanistan’s ongoing travails in finalizing the election results was the representative of the United States, who, at the same time, underlined progress made in the previous 13 years, evident in the patience, perseverance and commitment to political compromise shown by the candidates and their supporters as negotiations continued. High voter turnout also showed faith in democracy. Afghanistan had made significant socioeconomic gains, too, she noted, including the vastly increased access to education — especially for girls.
Australia’s representative was one of several delegates to welcome the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit declaration, which outlined the alliance’s support for Afghanistan beyond 2014 and the desirability of Security Council endorsement for the post-2014 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) successor mission. Australia, he said, would contribute $300 million over three years to help develop and sustain Afghan security forces.
UNAMA’s importance was also emphasized, not only its efforts in relation to the electoral crisis, but also its wider role in Afghanistan’s transition. The representative of France pointed to the more complex role it would assume over time, and he called on the Mission to build on its successes, particularly in the areas of human rights and rule of law. The drug trade also must be addressed as a threat to stability and progress, he said, stressing the importance of following up agreements to combat it, particularly by targeting financial flows.
The imperative of continued regional engagement was another prominent feature of the debate. The representative of Pakistan noted the increased security presence on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border during the election and voiced hope that cooperation would increase on combating terrorism, particularly in the context of recent cross-border attacks and accusations. Greater trust was needed on that front, he said, urging Afghanistan to take the lead on its reconciliation process, creating an atmosphere where refugees could return.
Also speaking were representatives of the Russian Federation, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, Chad, Jordan, Nigeria, Chile, United Kingdom, Rwanda, China, Lithuania, Argentina, India, Turkey, Japan, Iran, Germany, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Poland and Canada.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 12:50 p.m.
JAN KUBIŠ, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, said the “protracted deadlock” over the result of the presidential elections deepened a crisis that had already taken a heavy political, security and economic toll. “There is quite simply no better way forward other than a Government of national unity led by an elected President, as certified by the Independent Electoral Commission, working in partnership with the new Chief Executive Officer,” he said. Other options posed excessive risk and could undermine the country’s Constitution. Both candidates agreed on the idea of a unity Government in principle, but talks on its modalities were more difficult. Negotiations should be resolved quickly to ensure a legitimate, broadly accepted transition.
The new Government, he added, had a robust mandate to tackle the country’s many challenges, including a “burgeoning insurgency, a looming cash crunch and an expanding illicit — notably narcotics — economy”, and to ensure that Afghanistan remained a credible partner for international donors.
The United Nations had accepted its role in supporting the elections at the request of both candidates, he noted, adding that it had not sought the role per se, but took it on as part of its mandate to prevent conflict. With the completion of the Electoral Commission’s final adjudication session, the United Nations’ supervisory role was also complete. The audit had provided a “comprehensive and credible check” on the process, detecting and excising “significant” levels of fraud and showing the participation of millions of women and men in voting to support the peaceful, democratic transfer of power.
Civilians continued bear the brunt of the conflict, he said, pointing to a 15 per cent rise in casualties in the first eight months of 2014 compared to the same period last year. Sustained support would be required for the Afghan security institutions, and the new administration would have to act rapidly to conclude mutually agreed legal frameworks for continuing international assistance. He welcomed confirmation of the commitment by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit to continued support. Economic stagnation was accompanying the deadlock, with Government revenues dropping dramatically. Urgent action was required from the new administration to avoid a cash crisis and to continue the Government’s smooth functioning. Longer-term reforms were also necessary to address the fiscal gap.
He called on the new administration to set clear priorities and direction ahead of the London Ministerial Conference, which would reframe and refresh the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework. The focus should be on a pro-poor, rights-based agenda including policies that addressed youth. It would also be vital to undercut the ever expanding narcotics economy, including through intensified regional cooperation, which would also be essential in economic, infrastructure and security fields. He welcomed China’s strong lead in preparations for the Tianjin Conference on the Istanbul Process/Heart of Asia, urging continued momentum. The United Nations would continue its important role in Afghanistan and the region, in support of the aspirations of the Afghan people for a more prosperous and secure future.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan), praising the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for its support throughout the election process in his country, acknowledged that, despite the impressive turnout to vote on 5 April and 14 June, and the enthusiasm of millions who defied terrorist threats, “the elections turned into a protracted, complex, even at times messy process”. Following the joint declaration of the presidential candidates, however, the Independent Electoral Commission carried out the agreed audit comprehensively, which he called “an exercise unprecedented in scale and complexity”, with every single vote from the run-off evaluated.
He expressed appreciation to all domestic and international observers and staff who worked day and night to complete it. As the announcement of the final results was awaited, “the Afghan people are eager to move past this difficult chapter and see a new Government start its work, in the spirit of national unity”.
Given the negative impact of the election impasse, he said that Afghanistan’s future stability required addressing the steep drop in economic growth and the terrorist violence that continued to loom large despite the Afghan army’s demonstrated professionalism and courage. In addition, a dangerous atmosphere of division and fragmentation had emerged during the impasse, which must be replaced again with humility, reason and restraint.
He said, however, that the successful conclusion of the election process and the imminent democratic transition offered an opportunity to reinvigorate efforts towards wider reform, participation of all segments of society in the country’s future and further progress on the peace and reconciliation agenda. Averring that regional cooperation remained essential, he pointed to the upcoming Istanbul Process conference in China as an important step in that regard. Long-term partnerships with the international community were also important, he added, welcoming recent commitments by NATO in that context and looking forward to the related 25 November conference in London.
After 13 years of work and substantial gains, he said, the Afghan people yearned to live in peace and security. In that light, he concluded, it was crucial that Afghanistan did not again become a backdrop for political rivalries in the region and that the international community stood by the country to support the successful end of the election process.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) highlighted the timely, peaceful and credible resolution of the electoral process as vital to Afghanistan’s future stability and prosperity, while urging candidates to honour the outcome of the full election audit and work together to form a government of national unity. He welcomed the recent NATO Summit declaration, which outlined its support for Afghanistan beyond 2014, including the desirability of Security Council endorsement for the post-2014 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) successor mission. Noting the importance of developing and sustaining national security forces, he announced $300 million in assistance from 2015 to 2017. Afghanistan had implemented important legal reforms to combat terrorism financing, money-laundering and human trafficking, but further efforts to tackle corruption and promote fiscal sustainability were urgent.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) agreed with the concern over the protracted electoral “marathon”, and welcomed the completion of the audit. He called on the actors to resolve the matter and form a national unity Government through peaceful means, underlining the internal nature of the problem. He supported the active involvement of UNAMA and the continued support of other international actors, but added that the terrorist threat must be addressed specifically, including the activities of Al-Qaida. In addition, he said, any new forms of military presence must be approved both by the country and the Security Council. For that purpose, ISAF must report concretely to the Council on its plans. He also underlined the necessity of eradicating the drug trade in Afghanistan, which required collective efforts absent double standards. Coordinated efforts that included the region were essential to address all problems.
0LIVIER MAES ( Luxembourg), associating with the statement of the European Union Delegation, said it was critical that the wishes expressed by the courageous Afghan people who had voted en masse be heard. He called for a quick formation a unity Government and addressing the country’s problems. He welcomed agreements to extend security support for Afghanistan, as well as for assistance in addressing economic problems. He invited the incoming Government to make greater progress on the rights of women and children and the protection of civilians, the toll on whom had dangerously increased. All parties to the conflict must distinguish between civilians and combatants. Praising the work of UNAMA, he said it was critical for it to receive the necessary support for its continued efforts.
ALEXIS LAMEK (France), also associating with the statement of the European Union Delegation, said it was essential for the electoral process to be completed as expeditiously and credibly as possible. In the face of increased attacks by insurgents, he called on all partners not to be intimidated, and underlined that UNAMA would have a more complex role as the transition proceeded. In that connection, he called on it to build on its successes, particularly in the areas of human rights and rule of law. The drug trade must be addressed as a threat to stability and progress in many areas and must be eradicated. He reiterated the importance of following up agreements to stem that trade, particularly by combating financial flows.
PAIK JI-AH ( Republic of Korea) said the prolonged process to resolve the presidential election continued to affect the economic and political situation in Afghanistan. The results of the electoral audit should be accepted by both candidates, while negotiations on a Government of national unity should be resolved urgently. Both parties must assume responsibility for fulfilling the public desire for a peaceful and prosperous future. Continued violence must not be tolerated, he said, adding that the security situation was of great concern, especially the deliberate targeting of civilians and United Nations staff. The drawdown of ISAF forces underscored the need for substantial continued international assistance for the Afghan National Security Forces, as well as for other national institutions, through renewed financial commitments. In implementing the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, efforts had been made to combat the illicit economy by approving laws on money-laundering and terrorism. Those should be implemented as soon as possible, he added.
GOMBO TCHOULI ( Chad) said the election showed that Afghanistan was at a “massive turning point”. Hope had given way to disappointment, however, in the face of the political impasse, but UNAMA had played a significant role in defusing the situation by launching the audit. Both candidates had also made efforts to defuse the crisis, including by committing to a Government of national unity. The continued calm and support shown by religious and civil society groups was also contributing to a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Going forward, the country needed support to deal with security and humanitarian challenges and to tackle drugs, terror and extremism. Peacebuilding efforts launched regionally and internationally were having a positive effect and ISAF had shown remarkable results in combating drug trafficking. Prolonged security required resolution of the political situation, he said, condemning the terrorist acts and calling for accountability.
DINA KAWAR ( Jordan) said the national unity Government should be established as quickly as possible to address Afghans’ concerns for its future. Urgent cooperation was needed, while all stakeholders should respect the peaceful transition and avoid any escalation of violence. Transition would be challenging, as would the period thereafter, with significant international support needed throughout the process. The security sector particularly needed strengthening, and in that context, the international community should honour its commitments. Reform efforts were necessary, as was an update of development priorities, to ensure sustainable development and the strengthening of the economy. The rule of law and good governance should be improved, while efforts continued to tackle corruption and progress made on human rights. Reforms would aid regional integration as well as cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) said the participation of Afghans in the electoral process was a “milestone in the political evolution of the country” and an indication that it was on a path to peace and stability. Significant efforts should be made, however, to improve the electoral process. At the same time, she commended the Independent Electoral Commission on its work. Continued tension between the two presidential candidates was concerning, but their agreement in July and the communiqué issued in August were visible signs of a solution. Both candidates had agreed to a Government of national unity and they should respect those and place the people’s interests above their own. Following the audit, the country could see its first-ever democratic transfer of power, and in that context, it was disconcerting that the Taliban had tried to take advantage of the impasse and military drawdown to continue disruption. She suggested consideration of expansion of sanctions under resolution 1988 (2011) to include individuals responsible for the new wave of terror. Regional cooperation was vital.
CRISTIAN BARROS ( Chile) praised the bravery of the Afghan people in the recent elections and the important role the United Nations had played in supporting them. UNAMA had a continued critical role in supporting dialogue towards formation of a national unity Government. He stressed, however, that national reconciliation must be Afghan-led while supported by the international community. The effort to strengthen human rights must be accelerated, particularly in regard to stemming violence against women. Praising the work of UNAMA, he called for continued international support to the country beyond this year.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) recalled the conclusions and commitments made at the recent NATO summit, noting his country’s pledge of substantial continued support to the security sector. He praised UNAMA for its assistance to the election process and called on the Council to send a firm message to the candidates to act in the best interests of the Afghan people and facilitate the formation of a unity Government. He called for agreement on security arrangements for future United States and NATO involvement and Afghanistan’s stepped up peace efforts and other progress. UNAMA would be critical for all future international efforts.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda), noting the challenges facing Afghanistan on the eve of its transition, called on the presidential candidates to act in the best interests of the country and underlined the need for continued international support, particularly in the area of security. He condemned the continued violence of armed groups, saying it inhibited reconciliation. Regional cooperation was needed to counter narcotics and terrorism and to bring about development. With the drawdown of military presence, he called on UNAMA and the international community to continue supporting Afghanistan in meeting its multiple challenges.
WANG MIN ( China) welcomed the role of UNAMA in the election audits and expressed hope that the national actors would engage in dialogue towards a unity Government. He also welcomed international and regional support for an Afghan-led reconciliation process. International initiatives, he stressed, must take into account the wishes of the countries in its region. He welcomed stepped-up regional coordination in conjunction with the Istanbul process and other arrangements. China respected Afghanistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence and the path forward chosen by the Afghan people, and noted the appointment of the new Special Envoy to strengthen regional efforts.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) strongly urged the two presidential candidates to put the Afghan people’s interests above all else, work towards forming a Government of national unity, and avoid acts that could derail the nation’s historic transformation. She expressed concern over the rise in violence and civilian deaths and injuries this year due to escalating friction between anti-Government elements and the Afghan National Security Forces, terrorist acts and the use of improvised explosive devices. All parties must honour their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians, and perpetrators of violent acts against civilians must be brought to justice. Continued international aid was vital to sustain Afghanistan’s transformation. At the same time, she welcomed the Wales Summit Declaration on Afghanistan and stressed the urgent need to conclude the status-of-forces agreement. Lithuania’s financial support to the Afghan National Security Forces would continue beyond 2014. She encouraged the Government to continue efforts to implement the 2009 law and the national action plan to end violence against women.
FRANCISCO JAVIER DE ANTUENO ( Argentina) called on the presidential candidates to accept the result of the recount and allow Afghanistan to consolidate its transition and cement national unity. Afghanistan-Pakistan efforts to bolster mutual security were an excellent example of cooperation; more collaboration in other areas would be beneficial. The security situation had declined as the election process continued, with attacks against military targets and civilians, he noted, stressing that the Afghan security forces would need international support to ensure long-term peace and security. A stepping up of humanitarian efforts also was needed to combat malnutrition, particularly among children, and the Common Humanitarian Fund should focus on provinces where malnutrition was highest. The plan to stop recruitment of children by armed groups must be implemented, as well as efforts to prevent drug production and trafficking. Regional cooperation was vital in that regard to complement Afghan efforts, as was the United Nations.
SAMANTHA POWER ( United States) said that, with efforts ongoing to finalize the electoral results, it was important to recall the Afghan people’s efforts “to shape their country’s future”. Voter turnout showed great progress made in the previous 13 years, even if it had come at a high price. Access to education had expanded for Afghans, especially girls, with the latter group comprising one third of the 8.3 million students. Ten years earlier, only 10 per cent of Afghans could access basic health care, but now two thirds could, as Afghanistan leads the world on gains made in such areas as life expectancy and maternal health. Its independent media was growing and changing people’s lives for the better. She also commended the patience shown by the candidates and their supporters amid the electoral disputes. Negotiations had continued, with divisions avoided, and the message was one of perseverance in forging a durable compromise. The United States would align its development assistance with Afghanistan’s priorities and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, while UNAMA and NATO would remain partners, too. Going forward, NATO’s mission would be in full partnership with the Afghan Government, and she looked forward to developing a Security Council resolution to welcome the country’s decisions on that front.
ASOKE KUMAR MUKERJI ( India) said Afghanistan was poised at a “historic crossroads”, about to go through its first-ever democratic transfer of power. Nonetheless, the political impasse was concerning and he urged the candidates not to forget the threats that voters braved in order to turn out in large numbers to express support for democracy and the progress of the past 13 years. The transition would be the culmination of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process that also reflected the wishes of the international community. With the Indian-Afghan close holistic relationship, as noted by his Foreign Minister, India did not “have the luxury of an exit strategy in Afghanistan”. The recent attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, however, showed the continued fragility of the security situation. The most violent areas in the south, south-east and east required the most funding. The new administration would find it difficult to fill the funding gap, which had opened up with the protracted electoral process. India was ready to assist, while UNAMA’s role was significant in supporting political institutions and delivering humanitarian and development assistance.
SAHEBZADA KHAN ( Pakistan) stressed his country’s neutrality in the election process, noting that security had been increased on the mutual border during the polling. He pledged cooperation with whoever was elected and hoped, in particular, for increased cooperation in dealing with terrorists. In view of the recent months’ cross-border attacks and accusations, he urged greater trust. It was important, in that context, that the international community continued to support the Afghan national forces. An Afghan-led reconciliation process should also be supported, and an atmosphere must be created to allow the return of Afghan refugees. He appreciated China’s leadership role in regional coordination and stressed his country’s desire for a stable and democratic Afghanistan.
HALIT ÇEVIK ( Turkey) urged the international community to “keep investing in positive scenarios for Afghanistan at this vital juncture”. Welcoming the audit result of the presidential election run-off, he expressed faith in Afghanistan’s capacity to undertake a successful political transition and in the ability of all stakeholders to act responsibly, exercise self-restraint and demonstrate genuine leadership and partnership. The consequences of failed governance would be too great to bear. As international forces withdrew, regional cooperation was becoming increasingly vital to transform the region into a zone of peace, stability and prosperity. He welcomed the momentum created by the Istanbul process.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA ( Japan) praised the work of UNAMA and welcomed the role of United States Secretary of State John Kerry in facilitating recent agreements. Underlining the prodigious support extended by Japan in Afghanistan in past years and noting the provisions of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, he stressed that the international community’s ability to sustain support for Afghanistan required that the country deliver on its own commitments. “Long-term international support presupposes a credible and legitimate partner on the Afghan side,” he said. In that light, he expressed disappointment at the recurrent delays in the electoral process and hoped for a quick formation of a Government of national unity that would tackle the many challenges without delay.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, said the electoral process must be completed as transparently as possible. Both candidates must put Afghanistan’s national interests first and honour their respective commitments to create a Government of national unity. That new Government must tackle immediate challenges in a unified, robust way and not allow vested interests to divert its sense of purpose. Early signature of the Bilateral Security Agreement was critical for maintaining security and for a continued international presence to support Afghan endeavours. Neighbouring countries had an important role in ensuring that insurgents did not undermine hard-won gains and cause instability. The new Government must act quickly to improve confidence in the economy, overcome the “reform backlog” and tackle the current fiscal crisis. Rural economic development, the rule of law and consistent application of women’s rights laws must be made priorities.
AMIR HOSSEIN ZAMANINIA ( Iran) said that his country was eager to see a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan as its neighbour. The continuing engagement among the countries in the region in trade, economic exchanges and development projects must be strengthened. The recent visit by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific to Afghanistan was aimed at developing and strengthening bilateral relations in all fields, including security matters, counter-narcotics efforts, infrastructure, agriculture and the issue of Afghan refugees. International support for triangular counter-narcotics cooperation among Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan was also essential, not only to strengthening the security and stability of Afghanistan, but to alleviating the serious concerns of neighbouring States, as well as countries of transit and destination in drug trafficking.
HEIKO THOMS ( Germany), associating with the statement of the European Union Delegation, praised the bravery of the Afghan people and the support of UNAMA to the recent elections and audit, to which his country had substantially contributed. Following the current impasse, which he said verged on a State crisis, a new Government must be formed on a sound legal basis that reversed the setbacks that had resulted. The international community could then complete work on a framework for future support, which must be provided to address continuing challenges in security and other areas. In that context, the role of UNAMA would remain important. The Mission should work to extend its presence beyond Kabul, he added.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), also associating with the statement of the European Union Delegation, affirmed the continued friendship between his country and Afghanistan, as expressed by numerous partnership initiatives over the past 12 years, and its continuing commitment. He underlined the importance of resolving the election and noted with concern the increase in attacks by armed groups. Afghans, themselves, must initiate a return to the path of stability. “They know that the international community will support them,” he said, noting pledges reiterated by Spain at the recent NATO summit. In that vein, he looked forward to further discussions on international cooperation in improving Afghanistan’s economic situation, and strengthened regional cooperation in the framework of the Istanbul process.
INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy), associating with the statement of the European Union Delegation, expressed grave concern over the inconclusiveness of the Afghan elections and called for dialogue driven by the highest interest of the country to resolve it. In addition, the commitment of the presidential candidates must become concrete without delay. Due to the continued threats of the insurgency, he said that Italy, along with its partners, had confirmed its commitment to support the Afghan forces in the transition to the post-ISAF phase. He underlined, however, that Afghanistan should implement transparency and accountability criteria in the management of resources allocated to it. Prompt signature of future security agreements with the United States and NATO were imperative, he said, pledging Italy’s continued commitment to Afghanistan’s development and stabilization.
FRANTIŠEK RUŽIČKA ( Slovakia) strongly supported common European Union priorities in Afghanistan and pledged to fully participate in implementation of the Union’s 2014-2016 strategies. He called on Afghanistan’s political leaders to engage in dialogue and uphold declared commitments, and welcomed the presidential candidates’ joint statement of their commitment to form a Government of national unity. The parameters of post-2014 security support from the international community should be agreed as soon as possible. Slovakia would help finance training of the Afghan National Security Forces or provide direct financial aid. International support must be long-term and tailored to the Afghan people’s needs. Afghanistan was one of the top three recipients of Slovakia’s official development assistance (ODA), with a focus on improving education, modernizing the agricultural sector, and reforming the security sector.
BOGUSLAW WINID ( Poland) said that, two days ago, another Polish soldier died in Afghanistan, the forty-fourth since the beginning of his country’s engagement in ISAF. He condemned all acts of terror, especially directed at those working towards Afghanistan’s nation’s stability and security. On the presidential election run-off, he supported the compromise solution proposed by United States Secretary of State John Kerry as “a step in the right direction”, and urged all sides to accept the audit results. Since 2001, Poland had supported Afghanistan’s reconstruction through various international and regional mechanisms, mainly in the framework of the Istanbul Process. It had spent more than $26 million on nearly 200 projects, including the construction of roads, bridges, schools, power plants, and water and sanitary installations.
GUILLERMO E. RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada), expressed pride in the extensive cooperation between the international community and the Afghan people as shown by the support of the recent elections, in which his country had played its part. He urged all parties in the country to put aside their differences and work for a safer and more prosperous future. He affirmed Canada’s steadfast commitment to that effort. In order to ensure further support by the international community to security, he urged the Government to conclude agreements with NATO and the United States. In that context, he announced Canada’s additional contribution over three years to the NATO fund for the Afghan National Security Forces, building on the substantial contributions made in the past 12 years to promote security, rule of law and development. He called for greater accountability by the Government, an improved economic climate and a strengthening of human rights in the country.
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