10 March 2020
8742nd Meeting (PM)

Security Council Welcomes Significant Steps towards Ending War in Afghanistan, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2513 (2020)

United States Representative Stresses Her Country’s Ongoing Support for Afghan People, Citing Trillion Dollar Investment

The Security Council welcomed the significant steps taken towards ending the war in Afghanistan and opening the door to intra-Afghan negotiations enabled by the recent peace agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban.

However, the Council warned that easing the sanctions regime that the Council imposed on the country in 2011 will depend on the Taliban making sustained efforts to embrace peace.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2513 (2020), the 15-member Council called upon the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to pursue additional confidence-building measures — including by reducing violence and releasing prisoners — in good faith, thereby creating the conditions for a swift start to intra-Afghan negotiations leading to a durable peace.

Any political settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, young people and minorities, the Council affirmed.  It must also respond to the Afghan people’s strong desire to sustain and build upon the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001, including adherence to the rule of law and ensuring accountable and inclusive governance.

It went on to call upon all States to provide their full support to promoting the successful negotiation of a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement that ends the war for the benefit of all Afghans and contributes to regional stability and global security.

In addition, the Council expressed its readiness — upon the start of intra-Afghan negotiations — to review the status of individuals and groups designated in the sanctions established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011), “mindful that Taliban action, or the lack thereof, to further reduce violence, make sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations, and otherwise cease to engage in or support activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan, will affect the review”.

Signed in Doha, Qatar, on 29 February, the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the United States of America and the Taliban contains provisions for reducing violence and a ceasefire, the withdrawal of United States and other foreign forces, and negotiations — starting this month — between the Government and the Taliban.  It also contains assurances on counter-terrorism.  Annexed to resolution 2513 (2020) were the Agreement and the Joint Declaration between the Governments of Afghanistan and the United States.

In the ensuing discussion, several delegates insisted that a successful Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process must include women, youth and minorities.  They also called for an immediate reduction in violence and underscored the role to be played by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) going forward.  Some speakers welcomed the inauguration of Ashraf Ghani to a new term as President of Afghanistan on 9 March and — alluding to a separate ceremony by his political rival Abdullah Abdullah — warned against the establishment of parallel governmental structures.

The representative of the United States said her country’s Government will carefully monitor and assess whether the Taliban live up to their side of the bargain.  Citing challenges to the peace process, such as the high levels of violence on the Taliban’s part, she emphasized that more must be done to reduce violence against Afghan forces.  She also stressed her country’s ongoing support for the Afghan people.  “After almost two decades and more than a trillion dollars in investment in Afghanistan’s security and development, the United States is not walking away.”

The Russian Federation’s representative cautioned that the path ahead will be difficult, underlining the need for the parties to set aside parochial interests and political ambitions when intra-Afghan negotiations get under way.  The first step must be for all stakeholders to abandon violence and launch a concerted fight against terrorism, he stressed.

China’s representative called for an orderly and responsible withdrawal of foreign troops to avert a security vacuum and the potential resurgence of terrorist groups.  The focus for the future should be on reconstruction, increased investment in infrastructure, regional connectivity, sustainable development and the abandonment of violence by all, he added.

At the meeting’s outset, the Council observed a minute of silence in honour of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, who passed away on 4 March.

Also speaking today were representatives of Germany, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, France, Estonia, Belgium, Viet Nam, Indonesia and South Africa

The meeting began at 4:02 p.m. and ended at 4:46 p.m.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2513 (2020).

CHERITH NORMAN-CHALET (United States), recalling her country’s agreements with the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban on 29 February, said the international community’s support and engagement are critical to the next steps in the peace process.  Looking ahead, she called upon all parties to resolve political differences without resorting to violence and to focus on peace instead.  The United States will carefully monitor and assess whether the Taliban live up to their side of the bargain, she emphasized.  Citing challenges to the peace process, such as the high levels of violence on the Taliban’s part, she said more must be done to reduce violence against Afghan forces, pledging that the United States will continue to support Afghanistan and its partnership with that country’s Government and people.  “After almost two decades and more than a trillion dollars in investment in Afghanistan’s security and development, the United States is not walking away,” she said.

CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) expressed his delegation’s condolences for the most recent attacks in Kabul on 6 March, calling for those responsible to be brought to justice.  Germany’s goal is to maintain the achievements of the past 18 years, particularly in the areas of rule of law and the rights of women, children and marginalized groups, he said.  Calling upon all Afghan stakeholders to act responsibly in the interest of their country’s unity, he urged a speedy start to intra-Afghan negotiations, emphasizing that such talks must substantively involve women on both sides.  The Security Council and the United Nations must stand by the Afghan people, especially women, he added.

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom) said her delegation expects to see more confidence-building measures, including further reduction of violence.  It also expects President Ashraf Ghani, following his inauguration on 9 March, to unite Afghanistan and put together a negotiating team that includes women.  Afghan leaders must prioritize inclusivity, unity and peace, she said, emphasizing that the United Kingdom strongly opposes parallel governmental structure.  Through today’s resolution, she added, the Council has sent a clear message that it expects to see the effective and meaningful participation of women, young people and minorities in the peace process.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said today’s resolution opens a window of opportunity for national reconciliation, emphasizing that, now more than ever, the Afghan people need the collective support of the international community.  He expressed his delegation’s trust that the agreement between the United States and the Taliban will be a step towards a comprehensive peace process, while cautioning that the path will be difficult.  Recalling the role of the Moscow format for talks on Afghanistan, introduced in 2017, he emphasized that when negotiations get under way, the parties must set aside parochial interests and political ambitions for the long-awaited goal of peace.  The first step must be the abandonment of violence by all stakeholders and a concerted fight against terrorism, he stressed.  Going forward, Afghanistan will also require support from States in the region, especially its neighbours, he said.

JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) emphasized that any political agreement must protect the rights of women, youth and minorities.  Cooperation and input from the United Nations will be vital in tapping the potential for dialogue and in steering the conversation towards reducing violence and ultimately a ceasefire, he said.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said that her delegation voted in favour of the resolution in the hope that it will promote inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations leading to a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.  Emphasizing the importance of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process, she said that only through a whole-of-society approach can inclusive peace agreements bear the fruits of prosperity for all.  As a member of the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines welcomes the resolution’s recognition of women’s critical role in the peace process, she said, while stressing:  “We can and must go further than the words written on paper.”

ANNE GUEGUEN (France) said intra-Afghan negotiations must begin as soon as possible, emphasizing the importance of preserving the country’s advances in democracy and the rule of law since 2001.  She went on to call for inclusive participation in the negotiations, and for women to have an effective, meaningful role.  The peace process must be led by Afghans and all countries in the region must support the stabilization of Afghanistan, she stressed.

GERT AUVÄÄRT (Estonia) emphasized that his delegation opposes any action to establish a parallel government as well as the use of force to resolve political differences.  The rights of women and children are inalienable, a position that future negotiations must underscore.

KAREN VAN VLIERBERGE (Belgium) called for the prompt launch of an intra-Afghan dialogue that protects the rights of women.

DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam) expressed hope that the momentum generated today will contribute to long-term peace and stability for Afghanistan and its people.  Unity among Council members will send a strong message that they stand ready to help Afghans achieve peace, stability and development, he said.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), emphasizing that the peace process must be led and owned by Afghans, cautioned that the journey will not be short.  However, peace, stability and prosperity can be attained with good faith on all sides, including by reducing violence, he said.  Warning that nation-building will be elusive without a significant role for women and young people, he went on to stress that terrorist groups must no longer use Afghanistan to threaten other countries as well as the need to ensure stability once foreign troops are gone.

ZHANG JUN (China), Council President for March, spoke in his national capacity, urging all parties to work together in active implementation of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban.  Foreign troops must withdraw in an orderly and responsible manner, he said, cautioning against a security vacuum and the potential resurgence of terrorist organizations.  In that regard, support for building the capacity of Afghan security forces must continue, he emphasized.  He went on to express hope that the international community will respect the will of the Afghan people, saying the focus should be on reconstruction, increased investment in infrastructure, regional connectivity and sustainable development.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) said the recent progress demonstrates the need to make friends and pursue peace with enemies, emphasizing that nothing can take the place of negotiations.  A lasting solution lies in a home-grown intra-Afghan process, accompanied by all parties, including the United States, Europe, the Russian Federation, China and Afghanistan’s neighbours, he emphasized.

For information media. Not an official record.