The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Nicolas de Rivière (France):
The Security Council held a video conference on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on 25 June 2020. The members of the Security Council were briefed by Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan; Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
The members of the Security Council recognized that a sustainable peace can be achieved only through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process, reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and welcomed the efforts of all regional and international partners of Afghanistan in facilitating intra-Afghan negotiations.
The members of the Security Council welcomed steps taken so far by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban to move towards the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, most notably the partial implementation of commitments to release prisoners, facilitated through direct talks between the parties. The members of the Security Council called for the rapid release of remaining prisoners in the coming days and efforts to reduce violence in order to encourage a swift start to intra-Afghan negotiations.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the Security Council’s strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan. They welcomed the political agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, and expressed hope that it will pave the way towards timely intra-Afghan negotiations.
The members of the Security Council called for inclusive and meaningful peace negotiations with the participation of women and youth. They also underlined that the economic, social, political and development gains made in the last 19 years, including in the field of human rights, especially the rights of women, children and minorities, must be protected and built upon.
The members of the Security Council expressed concern over the recent increase in violence, which continues to take the lives of innocent civilians, among them women and children. The members of the Security Council stressed that any attack targeting civilians, hospitals, medical and humanitarian personnel and facilities is unacceptable, and that the perpetrators must be held accountable and reiterated that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. They strongly condemned the killing of two Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission employees in Kabul on 27 June and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. They also recalled resolution 2513 (2020).
The members of the Council expressed their serious concern over the presence of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other international terrorist groups in Afghanistan, condemned the recent barbaric and cowardly attacks by ISIL‑K [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant‑Khorasan] which resulted in a high number of victims and urged all sides in Afghanistan to take decisive actions against Al-Qaida, ISIL-K and other international terrorist groups. They reiterate that the soil of Afghanistan must not be used for terrorism to threaten the security of other countries.
The members of the Security Council expressed their concern over the significant increase in the cultivation, production, trade and trafficking of illicit drugs in Afghanistan which continue to pose a threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond, called upon States to strengthen international and regional cooperation to counter this threat and recognized the important role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in that regard.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of the Secretary-General’s call for a comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan, recognizing that the spread of COVID-19 is having a devastating impact in Afghanistan and that it requires the support of all Afghan parties and the international community to address short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic, including a safe and unhindered access to medical services and humanitarian aid.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the efforts of regional and international partners and organizations in advancing regional connectivity, development and reconstruction in Afghanistan, which is vital to ensuring stability and economic development in Afghanistan.