The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Karen Pierce (United Kingdom):
The members of the Security Council welcomed the announcement by the Government of Afghanistan on 19 August of a second conditional ceasefire with the Taliban from the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
The members of the Security Council urged the Taliban to reciprocate without delay. They also reiterated their call upon the Taliban to accept the offer made by the Afghan Government in February this year to engage in direct peace talks without any preconditions and without the threat of violence, with the aim of an ultimate political settlement that leads to sustainable peace for the people of Afghanistan.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of an inclusive Afghan-led and -owned peace process for the long-term prosperity and stability of Afghanistan and expressed their full support for the Afghan Government’s efforts to that end.
The members of the Security Council emphasized the importance of holding peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018 and a presidential election on 20 April 2019. The members of the Security Council reiterated their continued support for the Afghan Government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts to develop sustainable democratic institutions and stressed the need to promote the full and safe participation in the elections of women, as well as members of minority groups, including ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, both as voters and candidates.
The members of the Security Council urged relevant actors to address outstanding electoral issues without delay and condemned any attempts to impede the work of the electoral institutions to hold timely and credible parliamentary elections in 2018. The members of the Security Council called upon all actors to allow the Independent Election Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission staff to continue their work.
The members of the Security Council recalled that the Afghan Government, political leaders and the Independent Election Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission carry the primary responsibility to create the necessary conditions for credible elections to take place. The members of the Security Council noted the introduction of a new voter registration system in Afghanistan and called on all actors to play a constructive role in the electoral process.
The members of the Security Council condemned the recent terrorist attacks, including those by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) affiliates, expressed their deep concern about the number of civilian casualties and continuous high level of violence in Afghanistan and underscored the importance of a secure environment for conducting elections.
The members of the Security Council called upon all parties to the conflict to comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law regarding the protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel, and encourages all parties to work together to facilitate humanitarian assistance.