Stressing Need to Support Afghanistan in Addressing Challenges, General Assembly Adopts Resolution, Also Fills Subsidiary Organ Vacancies

GA/12219
27 November 2019
Seventy-fourth Session, 36th Meeting (AM)

Stressing Need to Support Afghanistan in Addressing Challenges, General Assembly Adopts Resolution, Also Fills Subsidiary Organ Vacancies

Delegates cautioned against record levels of violence in Afghanistan despite recently held presidential elections, as the General Assembly adopted its annual resolution on the situation in the country, and also filled vacancies in several of its subsidiary organs.

Adopting the draft resolution “The situation in Afghanistan” (document A/74/L.13) by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Palau, Russian Federation), the General Assembly pledged its support for the country and its people.  In addition, it urged all stakeholders to support the elections commissioners in delivering an election result that is credible and transparent and welcomed steps taken by the Government in enhancing the role of women in the peace process.  It called upon the Taliban to accept the Government of Afghanistan’s offer of direct negotiations without preconditions and without the threat of violence.

Also by the draft’s terms, the world body reiterated its serious concern about the security situation and stressed the need to continue to address threats caused by the region‑based violent extremist and other illegal armed groups and criminals, including those involved in the narcotics trade, the Taliban, including the Haqqani Network, as well as Al‑Qaida, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and their affiliates.

Some delegates pointed out that after more than 15 years of universal approval, this is the second year in a row that the draft resolution failed to be adopted by consensus.

The Russian Federation’s representative, explaining his country’s position following the adoption, said the draft resolution “denies objective facts”.  For the second year, despite active efforts, his delegation’s assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan was ignored, and negotiators worked to smother the people speaking against the consensus.  Specifically, the terrorist and narcotics threat to Afghanistan was ignored, he said, adding that there should be no disconnect between United Nations decisions and regional reality.

The representative of Germany, in introducing “L.13”, said that in the last six months alone, there have been high‑profile attacks in Afghanistan, reflecting a fragile security landscape.  However, despite setbacks during the presidential elections in September, there are promising attempts to advance the peace process.  “An inclusive Afghan‑led and Afghan‑owned peace process involving all parts of Afghan society including the Taliban is the only path towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict,” he said.

Throughout the morning‑long annual debate, delegates observed the positive implications of the recent presidential elections.  The representative of the Maldives said the Afghan people selected a path for peace over extremism, anticipating that all stakeholders will engage constructively.

In a similar vein, the delegate from the European Union said the legitimacy of the presidential elections will be linked to the ability of Afghanistan’s electoral management bodies to fulfill their mandates impartially, efficiently and transparently.

Afghanistan’s representative said that:  “Through their votes, the people of Afghanistan proved once again that no threat can affect their strong will for consensus.”  In addition to the presidential elections, she said, negotiations will have the support of the 4.6 million Afghans who voted in parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018, adding that “their vote was their power to say ‘no’ to terrorism, and ‘yes’ to peace.”

Pakistan’s delegate echoed concerns raised about the still fragile security situation, saying his country enjoys a close relationship with Kabul and supports its vital pursuit of peace and stability.  Pointing out that Pakistan has lost over 80,000 civilians and soldiers in the “war on terror”, he recalled that his country was opposed to the foreign intervention in Afghanistan from the outset.

Numerous delegations called for a resumption of peace talks, including between the United States and the Taliban.  “Only a political process can deliver a just and lasting peace,” said the United Kingdom’s representative, adding that a deal between the United States and the Taliban is crucial to unlocking intra‑Afghan negotiations with the Government of Afghanistan.

Iran’s delegate said that no outside country has the right to decide Afghanistan’s future, and any unilateral and non‑transparent peace talks that exclude the country and neighbouring nations have little chance for success.

Throughout the morning meeting, delegates highlighted the important role women are playing, with Indonesia’s representative saying they have gained significant representation in some Government and private organizations.  He, like others, also expressed support for their robust participation in the peace process and nation‑building.

Many representatives agreed that any peace agreement must be led by Afghans, inclusive of all the country’s people, and forefront their economic, social and security needs.  Italy’s delegate said any peace agreement must have “the full buy‑in of all layers of Afghan society” to succeed.

Many delegates shared condolences for the United Nations worker killed in an attack on his vehicle in Kabul on 24 November.

For the matter, the Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary‑General titled “The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security” (document A/74/348).

In other business, the General Assembly filled vacancies on the following subsidiary organs:  Committee for Programme and Coordination, Committee on Conferences, Joint Inspection Unit, Committee on Contributions and the United Nations Staff Pension Committee.

Also speaking today during the debate on Afghanistan were representatives of Australia, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Turkey, China, Egypt, United States, India, Qatar, Canada, Norway and Bangladesh.

The representative of Afghanistan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 December to consider the question of Palestine.

Elections and Appointments

The General Assembly took up several reports containing notes of the Secretary-General on filling vacancies on several of its subsidiary bodies.

It first considered vacancies on the Committee for Programme and Coordination, outlined in a note by the Secretary‑General, contained in document A/74/446, and declared those nominated by the Economic and Social Council, namely, China, Comoros, Liberia, Mauritania, Republic of Korea and Uruguay, elected members for a three‑year term of office beginning on 1 January 2020.

As of 1 January 2020, the following States will remain members of the Committee:  Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Cuba, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States.  The Economic and Social Council postponed the nomination of one member from among the Asia‑Pacific States for a three‑year term beginning on 1 January 2020 and expiring on 31 December 2022.  The Assembly will act on that vacancy following the Council’s nomination of a candidate.

Turning to the Committee on Conferences, the Assembly had before it a note of the Secretary‑General, contained in document A/74/123.  It took note that the Assembly President, following consultations with the chairs of regional groups — had already appointed Algeria, Austria, China, Comoros, Jamaica, Japan and the United States for a period of three years, beginning on 1 January 2020.  The terms of office of the representatives of Austria, China, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Morocco and the United States will expire on 31 December 2019.

Turning to the appointment of members of the Joint Inspection Unit and a  related note of Secretary‑General, contained in document A/74/84, the Assembly took note of the following endorsed candidates:  Eritrea for a vacancy among the African States; Republic of Moldova for a vacancy among the Eastern European States; and Germany and Spain for two vacancies from among the Western European and other States.  The Assembly is required to fill vacancies that will arise from the expiration of the terms of office on 31 December 2020 of Aicha Afifi (Morocco), Petru Dumitriu (Romania), Jeremiah Kramer (Canada) and Gönke Roscher (Germany).

The Assembly noted that candidates should have experience in at least one of the following fields: oversight, audit, inspection, investigation, evaluation, finance, project evaluation, programme evaluation, human resources management, management, public administration, monitoring and/or programme performance, alongside knowledge of the United Nations system and its role in international relations.  Therefore, Eritrea, Germany, Republic of Moldova and Spain will be requested to submit the names of candidates and the curricula vitae highlighting relevant qualifications.  After holding consultations, the President will submit the proposed candidates’ names to the Assembly for appointment.

The Assembly then took up notes of the Secretary‑General, contained in documents A/74/525/Add.1 and A/74/545*, pertaining to recommendations made by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to fill vacancies on two subsidiary committees.

It then appointed Mohamed Mahmoud Ould El Ghaouth (Mauritania) as a member of the Committee on Contributions for a three‑year term beginning on 1 January 2020, and Tomoya Yamaguchi (Japan) as a member of the United Nations Staff Pension Committee for a term of office beginning on 27 November 2019 and ending on 31 December 2020.

Situation in Afghanistan

JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, introduced the draft resolution “The situation in Afghanistan” (document A/74/L.13).  Re‑introduced annually since it was first tabled in 1980, the draft resolution calls for a range of actions.  Having served as the resolution’s facilitator since 2002, his delegation has adapted the text to changing circumstances with a view to increasing its effectiveness.  Recalling recent events, he said that despite setbacks during the presidential elections in September, there are promising attempts to initiate a peace process.  Unfortunately, preliminary voting results are still not in, with no clear date for their announcement, making it difficult to put anything definitive into the draft resolution.  No consensus has been reached after holding nearly a dozen meetings, so a vote must be called, he said, adding that “this resolution remains first and foremost an important expression of support for Afghanistan.”  Outlining the current situation, he said that in the last six months alone, there have been a number of high‑profile attacks in Afghanistan, reflecting a fragile security landscape.  In November, a United Nations aid worker from the United States was killed in Kabul alongside a great number of civilian deaths.  Germany continues to support the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, but this must be matched by civilian development and diplomatic efforts to reach a political solution.  “An inclusive Afghan‑led and Afghan‑owned peace process involving all parts of Afghan society including the Taliban is the only path towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict,” he said, pointing out that “L.13” would have the Assembly call on all parties to the conflict, particularly the Taliban, to enter into direct talks without preconditions.

ADELA RAZ (Afghanistan) outlined several major developments in her country since the Assembly last took up the topic in 2018, including the convening of presidential and parliamentary elections and the implementation of a reform agenda aimed at achieving self‑reliance.  Against the backdrop of ongoing serious security threats, 4.6 million Afghans voted in parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018, with a largely young and gender‑diverse Parliament inaugurated shortly thereafter.  “Through their votes, the people of Afghanistan proved once again that no threat can affect their strong will for consensus,” she said.  Once again, on 28 September, millions of Afghans participated in presidential elections.  “Their vote was their power to say ‘no’ to terrorism, and ‘yes’ to peace,” she said, expressing gratitude to the 70,000 Afghan soldiers who kept voters safe and the support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops over the years.

Recounting efforts to advance negotiations following President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional offer for talks with the Taliban, she said the success of every peace deal lies in its sustainability and durability.  In April, a five‑day Consultative Peace Jirga — with 30 per cent female representation — met to develop a road map.  Women’s constitutional rights are a critical feature of the new Afghanistan.  Describing the courage and increasing capability of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, she said terrorist groups have resorted to more cowardly terror attacks on civilians in recent months.  Such attacks, including on hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure, are violations of international law and must be immediately stopped by the Taliban.

Among other persistent challenges that continue to threaten the country’s peace and security, she cited the presence of regional and transnational terrorist groups, including the Taliban, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al‑Qaida affiliates.  The Government is implementing a reform agenda according to commitments made under the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework and the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework.  Outlining other threats, she highlighted the close link between terrorism and illicit drug production and trafficking.  A regionally comprehensive and collaborative effort is needed to counter the narcotics trade and market.  Despite these challenges, she recalled the much darker days of her country’s past and 18 years of efforts to rebuild from the ruins.  “Today is the brightest and the most fortunate future that I had ever dreamed,” she said.

DAVID GREGORY YARDLEY (Australia) welcomed recent confidence‑building measures taken by the United States and the Government of Afghanistan.  Expressing disappointment that the Taliban continues to resist talks with the Government, he said a sustainable political settlement would not be viable without such meetings.  Noting the links between conflict, humanitarian need and development, he called on international partners to coordinate closely and draw on collective experience to support Afghanistan through its transition to peace, also highlighting the important role of Afghan women in related dialogue.

GUILLAUME DABOUIS, European Union delegation, said the suspension of bilateral talks between the United States and the Taliban in September led to a postponement of the next phase of the process, namely intra‑Afghan negotiations between the Government and the Taliban.  Noting that the resulting pause is being used to prepare for the launch of genuine peace processes, he said direct intra‑Afghan talks are the only way to achieve lasting security.  Expressing support for the resumption of talks between the United States and the Taliban, he also voiced support for an immediate ceasefire, warning that “too many opportunities have already been missed through the last 18 years”.  The international community can play a supportive role, but must respect the principles of Afghan ownership and leadership of the process.  Meanwhile, all efforts must consolidate rather than erode the progress made in recent decades, and the pursuit of peace must not come at the expense of Afghanistan’s fundamental values and democratic development.  The legitimacy of the 28 September presidential elections will be linked to the ability of Afghanistan’s electoral management bodies to fulfill their mandates impartially, efficiently and transparently, he added, outlining the European Union’s long history of political, developmental and institutional support to the country.

SAUD HAMAD GHANEM HAMAD ALSHAMSI (United Arab Emirates) said that his delegation continues to support NATO efforts in Afghanistan, with a diplomatic solution being the only lasting road to peace.  Ongoing terrorist attacks in Afghanistan are deeply concerning, with July being the bloodiest month ever, he said, rejecting all acts of extremism.  Since 2014, his delegation has provided support to Afghanistan, including $215 million for development efforts.  Calling on other countries to refrain from using Afghans in other proxy wars, he said these States should instead help to provide them with a decent life.  For its part, the United Arab Emirates will continue to support Afghanistan in all multilateral fora.

FARZANA ZAHIR (Maldives) said Afghanistan has considerably improved its investment environment and its place in the business rankings of the World Bank has climbed, signalling increased self‑reliance.  Regional economic growth and integration would benefit from partnerships, including with members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).  Following the recent elections, when the Afghan people selected a path for peace over extremism, she said Maldives anticipates all stakeholders to engage constructively.  The creation of a technical committee to review the Elimination of Violence against Women Law of 2009 is an encouraging step, as is their greater participation in peace negotiations, peacebuilding and conflict prevention.  Condemning the deeply concerning sustained attacks by the Taliban, she called upon the United Nations and its Member States to help Afghanistan along its journey to peace, development and self‑reliance.

FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOĞLU (Turkey) said “L.13” recognizes progress achieved.  Commending the conduct of recent elections, he highlighted a need to redouble peace efforts.  Pledging support to every initiative aimed at ending violence, he said all efforts should be closely coordinated, with lessons drawn from previous talks.  Premature legitimacy should not be granted to the Taliban.  Noting the importance of regional cooperation towards peace and prosperity, he said the Heart of Asia‑Istanbul Process could be better utilized to facilitate peace and post‑conflict initiatives in this context.  Women’s participation in all processes is also needed to help to preserve gains women and girls have made at great cost over the past 18 years.  The international community has a responsibility to help Afghanistan’s people achieve the future they deserve, he said, reiterating his country’s support.

MARIA ANGELA ZAPPIA (Italy), associating herself with the European Union, reaffirmed her delegation’s full support to United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).  The international community’s partnership with Afghanistan remains crucial, as the country continues to face daunting security challenges.  As a framework nation of the NATO Resolute Support Mission, Italy trains, advises and assists the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.  A negotiated solution through an Afghan‑led, Afghan‑owned reconciliation process is the best path to enduring peace and stability, she said, adding that inclusive intra‑Afghan negotiations should begin as soon as possible, with “the full buy‑in of all layers of Afghan society”, including women.  Condemning the insurgency’s attempts to disrupt recent elections, she expressed hope that “definitive results” will be announced soon.  Turning to reforms, she looked forward to the next international pledging conference in 2020, highlighting a need to strengthen measures to fight corruption.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), echoing expressions of concern about the still fragile security situation, said his country enjoys a close relationship with Kabul and supports its vital pursuit of peace and stability.  Recalling that Pakistan has lost over 80,000 civilians and soldiers in the “war on terror”, he said his country was opposed to the foreign intervention in Afghanistan from the outset.  Indeed, peace can only be achieved through an inclusive intra‑Afghan negotiation process.  Pakistan responded to the United States request to help launch direct talks with the Taliban, and when that process broke down, it hosted a meeting of the Taliban Political Commission and helped to ease tensions by facilitating the release of American and Australian prisoners.  These efforts have now led to a resumption of direct talks between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar, he said, expressing hope that they will result in a fresh round of peaceful, direct dialogue and ultimately a peace agreement.  The support of the major Powers and regional States will be crucial in this regard, he said, adding that any peace agreement must ensure that terrorists are forbidden from operating out of Afghanistan.

ZHANG JUN (China) said that at this critical stage, with pending election results and a grim security situation, his delegation supports an inclusive, Afghan‑led solution and calls for continued negotiations between the Taliban and the United States.  A future political framework must be supported by all, and China will use all its channels to help Afghanistan to achieve peace and reconciliation.  Commending the Government of Afghanistan and its security efforts ahead of the announcement of final election results, he said all parties should resolve their differences through dialogue.  Expressing support for Kabul’s efforts to boost national security forces, he said terrorist groups, primarily funded through drugs, are still active, including the horrible attack on a United Nations vehicle.  All foreign forces should withdraw, he said, calling for the international community to support Afghanistan’s security efforts.  His delegation is working through bilateral channels to support Afghanistan’s counter‑terrorism capabilities and supports the country’s socioeconomic development.  Afghanistan’s use of its own natural advantages, alongside regional cooperation, can help its people, reduce poverty and boost trade.

MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran) said recent successful elections were a positive step that can promote Afghanistan’s rule of law and democratic foundations.  Peace must be achieved through an inclusive Afghan‑led and Afghan‑owned process involving all factions, including the Taliban.  No outside country has the right to decide Afghanistan’s future, and any unilateral and non‑transparent peace talks that exclude the country and neighbouring nations have little chance for success.  Iran’s support for “L.13” must not be perceived as agreeing to the continued presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan, and all such groups should withdraw responsibly.  Prior and concurrent to them leaving, Afghanistan’s military and security forces should be strengthened, as they are essential to combating terrorist groups, such as Da’esh.  Iran is ready to support these efforts, given its experience in helping Iraq and Syria to defeat Da’esh and in combating drug trafficking.  He also said the United States illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran are hurting more than 3 million Afghan refugees his country is hosting.

MUHSIN SYIHAB (Indonesia), noting that women have gained important representation in some Government and private organizations in Afghanistan, expressed support for their robust participation in the peace process and nation‑building, saying that Jakarta will host a dialogue for Afghan women in November.  Turning to the security situation, he condemned the recent attack on a United Nations vehicle in Kabul and called on the Government to use its capacities to protect the public.  Regarding socioeconomic development, he highlighted the importance of easing access for Afghan products and services in international markets, recalling that drought, displacement, natural disasters and economic decline have put added strain on national capacities.  The world must elevate its support, he said, adding that the success of the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework and other mechanisms can spur a transition to a sustainable and broad‑based economy if implemented effectively.

MOHAMED KAMAL ALI ELHOMOSANY (Egypt) said Afghanistan’s strategic importance makes today’s discussion salient, as the country has been plagued by violence and instability for years.  Calling upon Afghan parties to work towards achieving peace through the ongoing peace process, he said recent elections are a positive step towards rebuilding institutions.  Egypt has always stood by Afghanistan’s people and supports capacity‑building efforts in such areas as counter‑terrorism, human trafficking, border protection and in the judicial sphere through training Afghanistan’s judges.  In addition, Egypt is fighting radicalization and promoting moderate Islam through awarding scholarships for Afghan students at Egypt’s universities.

CHERITH NORMAN-CHALET (United States) said her delegation remains committed to Afghanistan’s security while seeking a durable peace through a political settlement in which Kabul plays its rightful role contributing to international security and ensuring that its territory is no longer exploited by terrorists.  She condemned the recent attack on a United Nations vehicle, which killed one person from the United States.  The people of Afghanistan have called for a peaceful, democratic future, she said, calling on the Taliban to stop committing acts of violence.  She also called on all parties to initiate and adhere to a ceasefire and on the Government of Afghanistan to appoint a representative negotiating team that reflects the country’s diversity.

VIDISHA MAITRA (India) said that the consensual adoption of the resolution demonstrates the international community’s solidarity with Afghanistan.  Afghanistan’s Government and security forces should be commended for the way in which the presidential elections were conducted.  Whatever the result, hopefully they contribute to the strengthening of an inclusive democratic system in Afghanistan.  Her delegation does not believe in advocating prescriptions, as Afghans and their elected representatives should have the leading voice in deciding their future.  Afghanistan lost more lives to terrorism than any other country in 2018, he said, pointing to the more than 7,000 deaths, with the Taliban responsible for most of them.  Equally concerning are deepening links between organized crime, narcotics trafficking and terror financing.  India is engaged in connectivity projects in the region, including the Chabahar Port project.  “The courage and resilience of the Afghan people are a source of pride for our region,” she said.       

JAMES ROSCOE (United Kingdom), expressing condolences for the United Nations staff member who died earlier this week, said that the Organization is vital for Afghanistan’s security, development and democracy.  While supporting many aspects of the resolution, he called for a shorter text next year, which would have more impact by focusing on key priorities.  “Only a political process can deliver a just and lasting peace” in Afghanistan, he said.  A deal between the United States and the Taliban is crucial to unlocking intra‑Afghan negotiations between Afghanistan’s Government and the Taliban.  But for that to happen, violence needs to be reduced in order to build confidence and create an environment conducive to negotiations.  September’s elections demonstrated once again the bravery of Afghans and their desire for democracy, but it is regrettable that a preliminary result has still not been announced.  The United Kingdom believes that it is unacceptable that the Independent Election Commission has been prevented from conducting recounts in seven provinces.  All political leaders must respect the independence of the electoral management bodies, he stressed.     

ALYA AHMED SAIF AL‑THANI (Qatar) said the Assembly’s annual meeting reflects the international community’s commitment to supporting peace, good governance, human rights and development in Afghanistan.  Measures are needed to build confidence between the Afghan parties and overcoming the many challenges they face, she said, citing and condemning the ongoing terror attacks across the country.  For its part, her delegation continues to take actions aimed at bringing the parties together and laying the foundations for peace.  Qatar, alongside Germany, hosted an Afghan peace conference in July, with representatives from across the strata of Afghan society, including many women, which resulted in a joint statement in support of peace.  Among other mediation support, Doha has also hosted several rounds of talks between the United States and the Taliban.

ANTHONY JOHN HINTON (Canada) strongly supported references in the resolution that highlight the meaningful participation of women in peace processes, while also noting the urgency of eradicating sexual and gender‑based violence.  An inclusive and sustainable political settlement in Afghanistan that protects civilians is also urgently needed.  This is a critical moment for the international community to reinforce its support for the people of Afghanistan, he said.  An Afghan‑led peace process that brings peace to all members of society regardless of religion, ethnicity or gender is essential.  It would therefore be unfortunate if the resolution before the Assembly is not adopted by consensus for the second year.  Canada encourages all delegations to continue expressing collective support for Afghanistan’s Government and people, and to work to further build consensus in 2020.

MONA JUUL (Norway), expressing concern about recent spikes in violence and high levels of civilian casualties, urged all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law.  Welcoming progress in talks between the United States and the Taliban, she said an inclusive peace process must ensure the participation of women and civil society.  She welcomed such dialogues and conferences, including the Germany‑Qatar co‑facilitated meeting in July and Chinese‑Russian efforts.  Elections in 2018 and 2019 have shown that “only limited progress has been achieved” in an ensuring credible, inclusive, and transparent electoral process, as the National Unity Government committed to do at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in 2016.   “It is incumbent on all actors, including all candidates, to conduct the next steps in the electoral process in a responsible and transparent manner,” she said.  Turning to other issues, she said gains in girls’ education must be preserved, and Afghanistan must be able to defend itself without the need for a continued foreign military presence.  In anticipation of a new pledging conference, she called for an open‑minded discussion on the approach and composition of development assistance.

TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh) advocated for an Afghan‑owned and Afghan‑led peace process, with meaningful support from the international community.  His country stands beside Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism, maintaining a zero‑tolerance policy for terrorists and violent extremists on its own soil.  Bangladesh attaches the highest importance to its relationship with its neighbours in South Asia, he said, underlining a strong shared history and traditions.  Citing remarkable recent socioeconomic development progress in Bangladesh, he said the country stands ready to support Afghanistan in such areas as women’s empowerment, basic education, community health care, sanitation, human resources development and humanitarian assistance. 

The Assembly then took up the draft resolution “The situation in Afghanistan” (document A/74/L.13).  By its terms, the Assembly would call upon all Afghan and international parties to support peace efforts, and encourage women to play a vital role in the peace process.  The Assembly would also call upon the Taliban to accept the Government of Afghanistan’s offer of direct negotiations without preconditions and without the threat of violence.

The representative of Afghanistan, speaking on a point of order, called it “unfortunate” that the draft resolution did not reach a consensus.  Noting that her delegation engaged in good faith through all negotiations on “L.13”, she said Afghanistan believes that all Member States will support her country.  The draft resolution should reflect the overall efforts of the Government to address national challenges.

The representative of Germany, speaking on a point of order, associated himself with the statement just made by the representative of Afghanistan.

The Assembly then adopted “L.13” by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Palau, Russian Federation).

The representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his delegation’s position, said Moscow has friendly relations with Kabul.  Highlighting that there is no military solution to the conflict, he said “L.13” should consider the current state of affairs of Afghanistan and promote a long‑term solution.  The existing draft resolution “denies objective facts”, he said.  In addition, for the second year, he said the Russian Federation’s assessment of the situation was ignored during negotiations, despite active efforts.  Moreover, negotiators worked to smother delegations speaking against the consensus.  The realities on the ground should be accurately reflected in “L.13”, which also ignored the current threats of terrorism and the narcotics trade, he said, adding that there should be a clear link between United Nations decisions and regional realities.  The deviation from realistic facts does not help anyone, and a more concise draft resolution would better achieve consensus.

The representative of China said “L.13” will demonstrate support for the people of Afghanistan and enhance regional cooperation.  China is not fully satisfied with some language, particularly the inability of the draft to properly outline Afghan’s actual situation.  Still, China demonstrated its flexibility by casting a favourable vote, he said, encouraging future facilitators to foster a consensus so that the draft resolution does not need to be voted on.

Right of Reply

The representative of Afghanistan, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to his counterpart from the Russian Federation, saying that the utmost efforts were made to incorporate the comments of all stakeholders into this session’s negotiations.  The Government of Afghanistan is eager to begin direct talks with the Taliban and welcomes all international support for this process.  Language proposed by the Russian Federation on narcotics was incorporated into “L.13” in an effort to achieve consensus.  She underlined a need for a holistic approach that reflects the entire narcotics value chain, including the question of demand and the supply of precursor chemicals from outside Afghanistan.  More broadly, she said, only genuine cooperation and confidence‑building will finally put an end to the conflict.

For information media. Not an official record.