The situation in Afghanistan.
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Wang Yingfan
|Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Afghanistan
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Afghanistan, Canada, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Spain and Turkey, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice. I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Members of the Council have before them document S/2002/569, which contains the text of a draft resolution prepared in the Council’s prior consultations.
I shall now give the floor to Mr. Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
Mr. President, I thank you for this opportunity to provide an update on recent events in Afghanistan at an open meeting of the Council.
The emergency loya jirga process, which is to take place in less than three weeks, is the most important political event in Afghanistan since the formation of the Interim Administration last December.
The loya jirga constitutes a pivotal test for the Bonn process. The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), especially pillar I of the Mission, has been focusing most of its resources on ensuring that the loya jirga is held on time and under as free and fair conditions as circumstances allow. Those circumstances are difficult, both logistically and politically. Phase I of the loya jirga process requires the holding of about 380 district assemblies around the country. Many of those districts are remote. Many are under the control of commanders or are split between armed factions that continue to fight each other. The village assemblies will select electoral colleges of between 20 and 60 members, depending on the size of the district. In Phase II, these colleges will elect by secret ballot representatives to the loya jirga. Phase III will be the holding of the loya jirga itself. The loya jirga members will be the approximately 1,000 representatives elected in Phase II, as well as about 500 representatives of special interest groups, such as intellectuals, women, refugees, nomads and the diaspora, who will be selected by their peers and confirmed by the Loya Jirga Commission.
The members of the Special Independent Commission for the Convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga are currently deployed in all eight regions of the country to organize and supervise the Phase I district assemblies. They are supported by five two-person teams per region. Twenty-three international monitors of five different nationalities are also deployed across the country to follow the assemblies. A complex air operation involving five helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft has been set up to assist the members of the Commission and the monitors.
As we meet, Phase I has been completed in about 300 of 380 districts. Preparations continue for Phases II and III. In Kabul intense preparation is ongoing for Phase III. This includes the physical rehabilitation of the site and the coordination of security arrangements. We are pleased with the progress and are confident that the loya jirga will proceed on schedule.
As expected, Phase I has been less than perfect. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and international monitoring teams have heard of many cases of intimidation by local military or political leaders. In some districts, the inability to conduct a minimally fair selection exercise may lead either to the Loya Jirga Commission selecting the district representatives, as it is empowered to do under article 7 of the rules and procedures that were adopted by the Commission itself, or, in the worst case — that is to say, if selection under article 7 might put in personal danger the person who is selected — to declare the district “unelectable”, in which case it will not be represented at all.
Although Phase I has so far not been perfect, it has, nevertheless, in many ways, been better than expected. For example, turnout at most assemblies was in the thousands. Often, this compelling popular support was sufficient to resist intimidation or to successfully contest pre-rigged outcomes. While the process in some districts heightened tension, as had been predicted, in most cases this tension was contained. In at least one case — Qarabagh district in Ghazni province — rival factions that had been vying for control of a district agreed to withdraw from their positions in order to hold the assembly. They also agreed to the establishment of a neutral security force in the centre of the district. So, in this case, the loya jirga process actually improved security.
It is our belief that the process so far has demonstrated the capacity for reconciliation and compromise among Afghans, as they realize the importance of not losing this opportunity for peace and reconstruction.
There is a general understanding that the loya jirga is an important event for Afghanistan’s future and, above all, that it is too important to be discarded for its imperfections.
Many of the obstacles in Phase I of the loya jirga process were caused by the uncertain security situation. It is clear that different parts of the country remain under the sway of different commanders. Some are loyal to members of the Interim Administration, which does not necessarily make them loyal to the Interim Administration itself, and this is an important distinction. Some, like Bacha Khan Zadran in Gardez, actively oppose the Interim Administration. The Administration is therefore in a position of having to assert its authority with little capacity to do so.
Helping the Afghans develop that capacity was the subject of the recent security donors conference in Geneva on 17 May. This meeting brought together around 40 potential donors. Its purpose was to secure real financial commitments for security-sector reform.
The delegation of the Interim Administration, headed by Foreign Minister Abdullah, presented an operational paper on the new Afghan Armed Forces. This new army would be 80,000 strong and would cost around $300 million in the first year. It would be overseen by a civilian-controlled National Security Council.
The German Government presented proposals for rebuilding the police force. Germany stressed that it was essential to create a functioning judicial system at the same time as the police was rebuilt. Otherwise, the police would operate in an institutional vacuum. Italy and UNAMA presented papers on the judicial sector. It is clear, however, that faster progress is required in this area. We hope that the imminent establishment of the Judicial Commission by the Interim Administration, which is something that needs to happen before 10 June to comply with the Bonn Agreement, will help speed up movement in this sector. UNAMA is working closely on this with the Administration.
At the Geneva conference, the United Kingdom presented a strategy paper for coordinating assistance to combat illegal narcotics in Afghanistan. Both the Interim Administration and the United Kingdom agreed that this year’s poppy eradication programme had demonstrated the determination of the Interim Administration to address this problem, which affects the entire international community in a serious way.
Finally, UNAMA presented a paper on demobilization and reintegration, estimating that a programme addressing 200,000 combatants would cost around $80 million. Japan agreed to join the United Nations as the lead actor in this sector.
Overall, the Geneva conference was viewed positively by its participants. A number of countries other than those already mentioned pledged funds and other support or said they were actively considering doing so.
This moment in Afghanistan’s history presents an unusual challenge to the international community. As was reiterated several times at the Geneva conference, the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the creation of a viable political system there requires the development of an Afghan security sector that is controlled by and responsible to the State. In the long run, this is the cheapest option for the donors. In terms of ensuring sustainability, it is the only option. We would therefore want to urge donors to consider the initiatives presented at the Geneva conference and to consider how they might contribute to their financing and implementation.
While the outcome of the Geneva conference is very encouraging, the creation of new Afghan security institutions is going to take time. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to remind the Council that the security situation in Afghanistan, in particular outside Kabul, remains a major concern.
Last week during informal consultations, I briefed the Council about the worrying situation in Mazar-e-Sharif where UNAMA has successfully brokered a separation of forces agreement between rival warlords. The situation there remains fragile. So does the overall security environment in other parts of the country, in particular in the east and south of Afghanistan.
In view of the absence of an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beyond Kabul, the United Nations and the Interim Administration continue to believe that the international community should address these legitimate security issues as quickly as possible. I am sure that the international community is fully aware that all its political and financial efforts in support of a new Afghanistan would be seriously compromised by a lack of tangible progress in the security environment. For example, we cannot expect a sustained reconstruction process to be launched in Afghanistan without real improvements in security outside Kabul and its environs.
I turn now to the issue of relief and recovery. United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations continue to deliver on the relief operation, but they are also giving increasing emphasis to programming for recovery and reconstruction. Since last September, the World Food Programme (WFP) has provided more than 455,000 metric tons of food to more than nine million Afghans, many of whom will be dependent on food aid for some time. However, due to insufficient funds, WFP deliveries in April and May have fallen short of targets by about 80,000 metric tons. All donors are urged to continue funding this and other vital life-saving operations.
I can also report good progress on refugee returns. On 16 May, the number of Afghans returning in a single day from both Iran and Pakistan topped 20,000 for the first time. The total number of refugees whom the United Nations has assisted in returning since the start of this year now stands at 625,000, with an undetermined number of others who have returned on their own. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working with non-governmental organizations to rebuild 7,400 houses for the neediest returnees and is continuing to provide repatriation packages to ease the difficulties of the transition.
The United Nations continues to make progress in reconstruction and development assistance. In this endeavour, it is the philosophy of the Organization to work closely with the Interim Authority, in particular with the Afghan Assistance Coordination Authority. The United Nations intends, in the coming weeks, to articulate clearly to the Interim Authority and its successor Transitional Administration its transition strategy for national and sub-national capacity-building. This strategy will be based on genuine partnership between the Government and the United Nations on a number of levels.
First, we will focus on Government and civil society capacity-building at all levels of our regular operations, but also with regard to a series of projects to support the Interim Administration’s capacity in specific areas.
Secondly, we will work in partnership in programming, particularly to ensure that equitable and needs-based programming is applied across the entire country. In cooperation with UNAMA, the Afghan Assistance Coordination Authority has drafted a national development framework that sets out a broad strategy for economic reconstruction and development. The next step, which we expect to be completed by the end of this month, is the elaboration of a national development budget that articulates priority needs and ensures that different programme areas inform each other. This budget will also help the United Nations to identify and support optimal levels of funding for both humanitarian and development work.
The third key area of partnership can be found in our work in the provinces. It is incumbent on the United Nations to support Government objectives in improving the lives of millions of war-affected Afghans by bringing real change in villages and towns across the country. A strong element of decentralization will be critical in ensuring that the new area development programmes are successful. These programmes have already been launched in both Kandahar and Herat, tailored specifically to the needs of those areas. This model is being rapidly replicated in all priority areas around the country.
The partnership between the Government and the United Nations must be based on a shared vision of transition and recovery and Afghan self-reliance. The United Nations and the Government must work together to address common problems and to produce durable common solutions. At present, millions of people continue to depend on United Nations and non-governmental organization programmes. For the immediate future, therefore, a large-scale presence and funding requirement will continue to be necessary. In the medium-term, however, the United Nations will progressively reduce its presence. We will assign more funding to recovery and reconstruction projects, and, above all, we will support the Government in meeting its challenges and its responsibilities.
I am also pleased to report on the conference recently held in Tehran on trade and private-sector cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. The conference also addressed the rebuilding of Afghanistan through the creation of a vibrant private sector, and it emphasized the need to expand trading opportunities as a key driver of this rebuilding. Following the conference, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement that established a tripartite commission to develop private-sector development and trade between the three countries. We have often emphasized the importance of political cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbours. It is appropriate here to note the importance of economic cooperation as well.
In conclusion, let me say that more progress has occurred in Afghanistan in the past six months than anyone would or could have predicted a year ago. It is too early to take the Bonn process for granted. It is too early to assume that it is cemented firmly into the destiny of the country. At the same time, each day of progress seems to make the process more and more irreversible. We will be following events closely in the lead-up to the loya jirga. We look forward to its successful conclusion, and we look forward to a smooth transition to the next phase of the Bonn process, a phase in which, we hope, reconstruction activities will pick up in earnest.
In a few days’ time, the loya jirga will be opened. Clearly, this is a very important stage, as Sir Kieran has just said, in the implementation of the Bonn and Petersburg Agreements — that is, the implementation of the reconstruction of and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Clearly, as Sir Kieran has told us, we have to be very careful with regard to the approach to this crucial stage. Reconciling all Afghans after decades of war is not an easy exercise. Therefore, we have to be particularly careful about the security conditions prevailing in Afghanistan. There is good security, of course, in Kabul, but as Sir Kieran has just said, we have seen some incidents in the provinces. Just last Sunday someone was assassinated in a village in Ghowr Province; he was a member of the electoral college just elected a few hours before. This means that we have to remain very vigilant and very careful about this.
In view of this security challenge, the international community can take a number of actions and is already taking action in some areas. I note at least three areas.
The first, a priority, is training the army and the Afghan police force. The effort of the international community here is well coordinated now, thanks to some pilot donations by the United States for the army and by Germany for the police force. As was indicated by Sir Kieran, now there is a mechanism for coordination between contributors and the Afghan Authority. On 17 May in Geneva a meeting brought together all States interested in security matters. Substantial contributions were pledged at that conference, and France will be responsible for training two battalions for the future Afghan army. This training will start on 1 June for the first battalion and in mid-September for the second battalion. We will be deploying a total of 55 trainers to help in this training exercise. This is in addition to the other contributions made by France in the area of security — that is, the participation of 409 French soldiers in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as well as my country’s contribution to the Enduring Freedom operation.
Clearly, in the area of training, there is a problem of delay in timing. These Afghan units are not yet fully operational, apart from one Presidential Guard battalion, which we think should be able to be used to guarantee a secure environment during the loya jirga. This is the Presidential Guard trained by the United Kingdom.
But other security instruments must continue to be used. The second vital instrument is ISAF, whose role in ensuring security in Kabul is crucial, because it is in Kabul that the headquarters of the transitional institutions are installed. It is excellent that all the conditions for the extension of ISAF are now in place, before the opening of the loya jirga.
Thanks to the contribution of Turkey, it is now possible for Turkey to take over the command of ISAF after the role played by the United Kingdom during the first six months of the existence of ISAF. This means that today we can renew our authorization — identical to the Council’s original authorization — to extend ISAF for six months from 20 June. We will be adopting a draft resolution along those lines today, and this is something we welcome. In addition to ISAF, of course, there is the indirect security role played by operation Enduring Freedom.
Finally, there is international aid. International aid, particularly aid for reconstruction and recovery of Afghanistan, contributes, directly and indirectly, to strengthening security for the Afghan people. Our aid towards recovery and reconstruction is conditional on respect for human rights and on the strengthening of the authority of President Karzai throughout all the provinces of Afghanistan. This is provided for in resolution 1401 (2002), particularly in its paragraph 4. Of course, aid efforts still must be fully coordinated. This role is being played by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi in Kabul on behalf of the international community.
Of course, it also remains to be seen whether the aid will actually be disbursed. Pledges were made in Tokyo amounting to $1.8 billion, but the donors must now meet their commitments. We note one important aid programme, which is the combat against the drugs trade and assistance in planting substitute crops. That is another priority for international aid.
The Afghans and the international community have accomplished a great deal in just six months. Nonetheless, much remains to be done. We have every confidence in the Afghans and in their ability to come together in this crucial stage of the loya jirga to rebuild their country with the full support of the international community.
I am grateful to Under-Secretary-General Prendergast for his detailed briefing, covering very clearly the challenges facing the international community in Afghanistan, including political, security and humanitarian assistance.
My delegation associates itself fully with the statement to be made shortly by the Permanent Representative of Spain on behalf of the European Union.
It is less than six months since Afghan representatives achieved the Bonn Agreement. Given the extraordinary challenges at that point, the Afghan Interim Authority, under the chairmanship of Hamid Karzai, has begun well the very difficult work of coordinating reconstruction, establishing political institutions and giving voice to many silenced Afghans.
However, there are serious obstacles and tasks ahead, and there are those who may well continue to seek to destabilize the Agreement and the institutions it has established. We must continue to ensure that those who seek to disrupt the building of durable peace in Afghanistan do not succeed. For this, the interim Government must be able to extend its reach throughout Afghanistan, enhancing its legitimacy and asserting the need for a viable central authority.
There is positive progress on the emergency loya jirga process to date. The loya jirga must take place in a secure atmosphere, without interruption. All actors must provide maximum assistance to the Interim Authority and to the United Nations to ensure its success. There are continued reports from some sectors that there have been instances of pre-selection and intimidation. We are very concerned at a possible political motivation behind the death of a recently selected delegate in Ghor province.
On a more positive note, while the small number of female delegates selected at the district level indicates that progress thus far towards ensuring the full participation of women in Afghan society will be slow, we are pleased that at least one woman has already been selected, through the regional process, to participate in the final stage of the emergency loya jirga. Although this may be a single first step forward at this point in this area, it is an important signal of the desire for change and progress in Afghanistan, and we hope that more women will be selected in the coming days.
The success of the emergency loya jirga, and the selection of a transitional Government, will mark an extremely important stage in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement, and in Afghanistan’s transition to a more representative form of Government. The success of this process would have a profound impact on the reconstruction effort already under way in Afghanistan. It is essential that donors make every effort to disburse the very generous pledges made at the Tokyo reconstruction Conference so that the dividend of peace can clearly be verified by the Afghan people.
Ireland fully supports the draft resolution due to be adopted today, which will extend the mandate, without change, of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for a further six months. ISAF had an immediate and positive impact in Kabul even before it had reached its full strength. ISAF’s presence has restored much of Kabul’s bustle and energy, and the stability of Kabul and its surrounds have facilitated the commencement of the reconstruction effort. The security situation in other parts of the country remains considerably more fragile, and, as Under-Secretary-General Prendergast and others have pointed out, ways must be found to ensure that the benefits of stability are not restricted to Kabul and its immediate environs.
We are grateful to the United Kingdom for acting as lead nation in ISAF over the past six months, and for the tremendous effort of all ISAF participants, in ensuring successful deployment and immediate effectiveness on the ground. We warmly welcome the decision of Turkey to take over the lead-nation role for a period of six months.
The extension of the ISAF mandate signals clearly the international community’s continued engagement in Afghanistan. However, while providing a secure environment for the reconstruction of Afghanistan is essential, we must not lose sight of the fact that Afghanistan is still experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis. Before reconstruction can go forward, basic humanitarian needs must be met.
We have reports that a number of key United Nations agencies, as well as other organizations, are on the brink of severe funding shortfalls. We cannot now allow funding shortfalls to place the heroic achievements of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, among others, in jeopardy. The World Food Programme made extraordinary efforts last autumn and winter to ensure that famine did not strike in Afghanistan. Now, the WFP is faced with the possibility of a break in its food supplies just before this year’s harvest. We urge Member States to disburse their contributions to these key humanitarian agencies as soon as possible, so that the achievements to date in the humanitarian field are not reversed.
Under-Secretary-General Prendergast’s report of refugee-return levels is very heartening. However, we must bear in mind that that this positive process creates its own challenges, including in the area of the humanitarian needs of large numbers of these happily home-bound Afghan people.
More widely, the effective functioning of the Afghan Interim Authority and its successor institutions depends for the foreseeable future on sustained external support. It is in the interests of the international community to ensure the stability and effectiveness of Afghanistan’s institutions so that there is no risk of a return to the vacuum that proved to be so destructive in the past.
We welcome the news that work is proceeding on the creation of a Human Rights Commission. We believe it is essential that this Commission, as well as the Judicial Commission, be established as rapidly as possible. We look forward to the outcome of the human rights workshop to be held over the coming days.
Human rights must continue to be placed at the forefront of United Nations efforts in Afghanistan. While there have been strongly positive developments with regard to the rights of women and girls, very serious problems remain. We are especially concerned at reports of abuses against ethnic Pashtuns, which have continued over a number of months and have provoked further population flows. It is essential that ethnic Pashtuns be able to participate fully in the emergency loya jirga.
Ireland is also greatly concerned by reports of serious human rights abuses in Shibergan prison. The conditions in the prison are clearly unacceptable, and it is essential that those detained there be treated humanely and be provided with adequate medical care, pending the rapid resolution of their status.
None of us underestimates the great challenges that lie ahead as we move towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the establishment, next month, of the Transitional Government. We have made great strides in just six months, but we must sustain our commitment so that our combined commitment and determination will overcome any reversals that may lie ahead.
I would like to thank Sir Kieran Prendergast for his briefing today and to note that we are particularly pleased to formalize the resolution extending the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for another six months.
As we all know, the war on terrorism will be a long one. An earlier arena of that struggle has been and is in Afghanistan. The United States is committed to stay until the mission is done, and the United States is pleased to join with the United Nations to support a free, stable, durable Afghanistan. In that context, I also welcome Turkey’s commitment to assume the command of ISAF, and I thank the United Kingdom once again for a job well done.
Despite the considerable activity and commitment on the part of the international community, we all recognize that there is much that remains to be done in Afghanistan. Last week, together with Mr. Brahimi, we held security discussions in Geneva with 45 nations, including the Afghanistan Interim Authority and United Nations representatives. Participants used the meeting to review existing efforts to assist the Afghanistan Interim Authority with security and to coordinate continued international efforts. Since we last met, we have made progress on a number of initiatives. We continue to believe that capable and transparent Afghan institutions are the key to long-term security for the Afghan people.
To that end, United States efforts to begin training the Afghan national army are well under way. At the end of April, 140 United States Special Forces troops, with the mission of training the Afghan army, arrived in Afghanistan, and they have gotten down to the business of standing up a national army. A total of 1,800 sets of uniforms from the United States arrived in Kabul last week and were issued to soldiers immediately. The first battalion of the Afghan national army is presently attired and has the personal equipment necessary to proceed with their training course. Training of the first contingent of troops has already begun.
We welcome the arrival of French trainers to Kabul. The French will train the second battalion starting on 1 June, as well as one additional battalion later in the training programme. Beyond the effort of training the troops, we are working intensively to ensure that they get paid, and we welcome the establishment of the United Nations Trust Fund, which will facilitate salary payments.
I would like to comment, in brief, on one of the most critical milestones ahead: the loya jirga. As Under-Secretary-General Prendergast has reviewed for us this morning, there is forward movement taking place on the ground in Afghanistan. There have been isolated problems, but clear and steady progress is being made. We share the view that a successful and transparent loya jirga process is critical to the ultimate success of the Bonn process. I know that Mr. Brahimi’s shop is working very hard to address the enormous logistical and other challenges that the loya jirga will bring, both in Kabul and in the nine regional jirga sites.
The United States is contributing funding and other support for the loya jirga. We are contributing $3 million for air operations, $500 for Radio Kabul and public dissemination of Chairman Karzai’s message on the loya jirga, and our funding monitors as part of a broader, $1.2 million grant to the Asia Foundation. We also have sent two logisticians to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to offer logistical support for this enormous effort to move people around the country.
The loya jirga will not take place in a security vacuum. Clearly, the situation is still very fluid, and the United States will remain focused on this issue. To that end, the United States continues to monitor and to examine very closely the security situation on the ground beyond Kabul, and we believe that the United States and coalition efforts to address the security imperatives beyond Kabul have been successful to date. We continue to envision potential security concerns outside Kabul being addressed as necessary by coalition and Operation Enduring Freedom forces.
Finally, I would simply like to note the excellent work being done by Mr. Brahimi and his Deputy, Mr. Arnault. The truce brokered by Mr. Arnault in the north between Dostum and Atta is a nice example of Mr. Brahimi’s effectiveness. It also represents the way forward, one step at a time.
President Bush made a speech recently in which he outlined our efforts in the war against terrorism. He said that we expect certain parties to try to undermine Afghanistan’s efforts to build a lasting peace. We know that not only from intelligence but also from the history of military conflict in Afghanistan. It has been one of initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We are not going to repeat that mistake. We will stay until the mission is done.
We know that true peace will be achieved only when we give the Afghan people the means to achieve their own aspirations. Peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan develop its own stable Government. Peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan train and develop its own national army. And peace will be achieved through an education system for boys and girls that works.
We are working hard in Afghanistan — we are clearing minefields, we are building roads, we are improving medical care — and we will work to help Afghanistan to develop an economy that can feed its people without feeding the world’s demand for drugs. By helping to build an Afghanistan that is free and is a better place in which to live, we are working in the best traditions of America and, I hasten to add, in the best traditions of the United Nations.
At the outset, I should like to thank Sir Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for his useful and comprehensive briefing on the situation in Afghanistan and the developments taking place there. Those developments coincide with the approaching end of the term of the Afghanistan Interim Authority, in accordance with the Bonn Agreement.
Afghanistan is now preparing to elect a loya jirga, which will establish the Afghan Transitional Authority. That will be an important political achievement for the country, which has suffered for more than 20 years as a result of bloody conflicts and insurmountable difficulties that require, first and foremost, focused Afghan efforts as well as international efforts to solve them.
Despite the importance of convening the loya jirga, which lies at the very heart of the political situation, security concerns remain in Afghanistan, as was mentioned by Sir Kieran Prendergast in his briefing. This indicates that there are pockets of Al Qaeda and Taliban resistance, as well as confrontations between political and military groups, including ethnic confrontations. Serious human rights violations are clearly taking place. We believe that this problem will take a long time to solve because it is a chronic social issue.
We all know that the political process and economic and social development are important factors in alleviating the security situation in Afghanistan, particularly given that security goes hand in hand with the political process. Thus, the international community’s efforts in this field are extremely significant and decisive. We believe that we must focus on the following issues.
First, assistance is needed in the building of the national Afghan army and in the establishment of an effective security force provided with the necessary equipment, materiel and training. Only thus will Afghanistan be able to address its own security issues and to reintegrate ex-combatants into Afghan life. Reintegration is one of the most important factors. In this respect, we wish to pay tribute to the efforts of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to reintegrate some 200,000 ex-combatants.
Secondly, problems persist with respect to refugees and the humanitarian situation. Since financial assistance has been insufficient to address these questions, we must take swift and effective measures to prevent their resurgence. We believe that the financial resources currently available are wholly inadequate to the necessary solution.
Thirdly, we must strive to stimulate economic development, particularly in areas where the cultivation of opium poppies is widespread, as was mentioned by Sir Kieran Prendergast. We must find alternative sources of income for farmers so that we can help them to eliminate opium. Such efforts need the generous assistance of the international community if they are to be implemented successfully. We therefore call on the countries that made pledges at the donor conferences in Japan and Geneva to honour those pledges as soon as possible. In this way, Afghanistan will be able to make progress in the reconciliation process, provide security for Afghans throughout their country and achieve development and stability.
In conclusion, I thank the United Nations and all parties that have helped Afghanistan and its people to overcome their problems and find their own way in all walks of life. Only thus will every group avoid being marginalized. This can be done if there is a genuine will to lead the country towards an overall peace.
I, too, wish to thank Sir Kieran Prendergast for his briefing at this meeting. We note with great interest the important progress that has been made in the political process and in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and other political aspects. We also wish to highlight the importance of compliance with the Agreement at each of its stages.
I should like to make special reference to the emergency loya jirga, which is scheduled to take place in a little over two weeks. We agree that the success of that great event will depend largely on the work of the local shuras in selecting representatives. In this connection, we regret the assassination of Mr. Mohammed Rahim after his election as representative for Chaghcharan, in Ghowr province, and we express our deep concern over the meaning and political implications of this fact for the future of Afghanistan and the success of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
The murder of Mr. Rahim is another warning about the importance of security in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement. We endorse the fundamental principle that this is an area for which the Afghans themselves should have basic responsibility. In that respect, I must say that, in the international community’s struggle against terrorism, we must ensure that the legitimate authorities of Afghanistan gain control of their territory in order to guarantee, inter alia, the eradication of terrorism from Afghan soil. In a country with a recent and long-standing history of conflict characterized by the existence of regional militias, it is clearly necessary to establish a national armed force that answers to the central Government and consolidates its control. This will be a very delicate task because it will involve the integration into a unified force of personnel of different ethnic groups who previously followed the orders of various local leaders.
Notwithstanding this reaffirmation of the responsibility of the Afghans themselves, we remain regretful that it has not been possible to extend the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to other regions in response to the repeated calls of the Interim Authority, UNAMA representatives, the Secretary-General in his most recent report and, most recently, the World Bank.
Besides Sir Kieran’s reaffirmation of this necessity, it is obvious that it will take time, perhaps considerable time, to establish the Afghan forces. The resulting vacuum could be prolonged, creating conditions greatly hindering implementation of the Bonn Agreement, even bearing in mind the considerable efforts and cooperation made in the preparation and training of the Afghan forces.
Given the existing security conditions and having seen the local and international inability to respond appropriately to those conditions, the Security Council is faced with the responsibility of contributing through its actions to maintaining the political credibility of the process and to protecting the legitimacy of the national Government that will be installed following the conclusion of the assembly.
We have expressed our support for the six-month extension of ISAF’s mandate. We welcome and thank the countries that have contributed troops to ISAF, in particular, the United Kingdom. We would also like to thank the Government of Turkey for assuming command of ISAF for the next six months.
With respect to the draft resolution, I would like to mention that in the sixth preambular paragraph, we welcome the letter from the Foreign Minister of Turkey to the Secretary-General of 7 May 2002. It is interesting to note that the resolution includes mention of the relationship of coordination that should exist between ISAF and the military operation that has been conducted on Afghan territory since 8 October — over 10 months ago. It is interesting because the text of the letter has elements which should, of course, be recognized as of great importance to the ISAF operation and to the simultaneous existence of the two operations.
We are also very attentively following the programmes to which important actors of the international community have committed themselves, such as programmes on the control of drug production and of drug trafficking. We will wait for the reports on this issue from the United Kingdom delegation, as they are the leaders of the project.
I would like to conclude by saying that we must support ISAF’s programmes to demobilize and reintegrate approximately 200,000 ex-combatants and must support and encourage the hundreds of humanitarian workers who contribute daily to improving the living conditions of the Afghan people.
The situation in Afghanistan is complex. The political forces advocating inter-ethnic reconciliation, democracy and respect for human rights — ideals that were expressed in the Bonn Agreement — coexist with sinister forces advocating anarchy and extremism. For that reason, the international community must give its firm support to the building of the national institutions, as was expressed by the Afghans themselves — which Sir Kieran Prendergast stressed in his presentation.
Mexico welcomes the progress made by the Interim Administration. We are delighted that the schools have reopened and that the process of convening an emergency loya jirga is under way. We note with celebration the advances of Afghan women in the country’s public life and in other aspects that, in other countries, would seem quite unremarkable but, given the circumstances in Afghanistan seem quite extraordinary. We consider that the Security Council must be unanimous in its support of Afghan women through the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). We must give our support so that these women can reach positions of leadership in their country.
We view with admiration that approximately 700,000 refugees have returned to their homes, which is approximately half the target of 1.2 million foreseen for this year. Those statistics reflect not only the effort and support of the international community but also the Afghan people’s greater overall expectations for the future. We must not allow the hope of an entire people to vanish.
However, we are concerned that there are still problems that threaten security and the democratic project that is just beginning to crystallize.
Despite the efforts and resources expended, the problem of drug production and trafficking continues to exist. The production of drugs is not just a problem of public health but also corrupts society, promotes violence and the illicit trade in arms and generates great quantities of resources that can be used to finance political groups whose sole aim is destruction and terror.
In this context, much remains to be done, and the responsibility, it must be said, falls not only to the Interim Administration. The problem of drug trafficking has two main elements: production and consumption. Countries where drug consumption is widespread also have a responsibility to prevent the criminal networks created by the sale of heroine in urban centres from subjecting Afghan farmers to extortion and pressure on the part of traffickers who foment the illicit crops — especially when we have been informed that it is precisely those criminal networks that substantially contribute to financing terrorism.
Additionally, the presence of hold-outs of Al Queda and the Taliban contribute to prolonging a climate of insecurity in the country and the region. At the same time, rival factions fight for political power in some areas of the country, and some even threaten to destabilize the Interim Administration. Faced with this situation of insecurity, the Council’s response has been to strengthen the defence capacity of the Afghans.
In this context, Mexico wishes to recognize the work carried out in recent months by the United Kingdom at the head of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). We also wish to thank Turkey, who will soon assume that responsibility. We are ready to vote in favour of the draft resolution before us to extend the mandate of ISAF by six months.
The convening of an emergency loya jirga will be a watershed in the history of Afghanistan because it will produce the basic agreements that will define the structure of political power in the country and determine its destiny.
According to the timetable established by the Bonn Agreement, the convening of the emergency loya jirga will signal that we have completed a quarter of the actions scheduled for Afghanistan. We therefore call on the international community to redouble its efforts for Afghanistan and not to celebrate too early and later fall to indifference. A strategic a strategic association has been formed in Afghanistan between donor countries, the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions and non-governmental organizations to support the Afghan people in their quest for lasting peace. The international community must be persistent in this effort in order to consolidate the process of laying the groundwork that will enable the sustainable economic development of Afghanistan on a democratic basis.
Mexico wants to see a democratic Afghanistan that respects human rights, with an economic future free from drug trafficking. We do not want Afghanistan to fall once again into anarchy provoked by domestic wars or for it to be a shelter for terrorists once again. The Afghan people deserve a better future.
We are grateful to Under-Secretary-General Prendergast for his briefing on the situation in Afghanistan. We agree with his assessment that on the whole the peace process is moving forward. The Bonn Agreement is being successfully implemented. Preparations for holding the all-Afghan Special Independent Commission for the Convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga are under way, and it will elect the interim government in June.
Of course, not everything is going smoothly. A lot remains to be done, including securing participation in the assembly of the representatives of all segments of Afghan society and adequate representation of all ethnic groups of the country.
We learned with regret of the death in Ghowr province of the candidate elected to the loya jirga, Mr. Rahim. That assassination clearly shows that there are still forces in Afghanistan that want to undermine the peace process. The information that we receive confirms that in a number of regions of Afghanistan, particularly in the eastern part of the country, there are groups that are unhappy with the current regime and are biding their time, waiting to emerge from the underground and actively join the struggle for power.
In this connection, I wish to reiterate once again our appeal regarding the need to exclude the Taliban and their followers from participation in the future organs of State power. Clearly, after the loya jirga is held, there will be people who are not happy about the results of the elections to the interim government. But it is important that that opposition remains within the law and does not take up arms and create a coalition of malcontents. In our view, Afghanistan’s neighbours could play a great role in preventing this kind of scenario. They have enough leverage on the provincial leaders for that. The potential of these countries should not be underestimated and, particularly, they should not be treated with disrespect.
We agree that the security situation in Afghanistan remains acute. We receive regular reports. Today, once again, we heard this in Sir Kieran’s briefing with regard to emerging pockets of conflict. Various ethnic groups, residual Taliban and members of Al-Qaeda terrorist groups participate in them.
We attach great importance to the work of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in discharging the mandate adopted in Security Council resolution 1386 (2001). Today the Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of this Force. We believe that ISAF is playing an important role in establishing tranquility in Kabul. We hope that it will provide meaningful support and assistance in establishing the normal functioning of the new transitional Government of the country.
We need to focus over the long term on creating a truly Afghan army. During the Geneva donor conference specific thoughts were expressed regarding the reform of the Afghan security sector. We welcome the willingness of the international community to provide assistance to the Afghans in creating their army and security force. For its part, Russia has often said that it would be willing to develop military and technical cooperation, including participation in helping to build a national armed force and the law enforcement organs of Afghanistan. Again, we reaffirm that work in this area should not become an arena for competition, rivalry or any clash of interests. Otherwise, the long-term prospects for the peaceful rebuilding of Afghanistan could once again come to naught.
We are convinced that the United Nations should play a central role in establishing broad, international interaction and coordination throughout the territory of post-conflict Afghanistan. We attach great importance to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), as well as the work done by the United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mr. Brahimi. They must provide this kind of coordination and interaction in their day-to-day activities.
Russia will continue to lend assistance for the economic recovery of Afghanistan. During the first stage of the humanitarian operation, we gave Afghanistan assistance totalling more than $12 million. The new stage will see the participation of Russian specialists and companies in rebuilding and repairing more than 140 industrial and agricultural facilities that were built in Afghanistan from 1960 to 1980 with the assistance of the Soviet Union.
I also wish to thank Sir Kieran Prendergast for his exhaustive and detailed briefing.
As an associate member of the European Union, Bulgaria aligns itself with the statement that will be made later by the representative of Spain on behalf of the European Union. I would like to make a few comments in my national capacity.
The prospects before Afghanistan for a better future are much better than they were six months ago. The results of the first stage of preparing the loya jirga are encouraging. The efforts of the Special Independent Commission for the Convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga are a clear success. The role played by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, in this success is to be commended.
It is true that the process of selecting the members of a loya jirga is taking place in often difficult conditions, especially outside of Kabul. There are political murders and threats, but, nevertheless, the Afghans have proven their willingness to regain control of their country. Bulgaria will continue to accompany them in this path. My country hopes that the emergency loya jirga will play the essential role expected for the development of a viable political process in Afghanistan. We would like to see all of the ethnic and religious communities of the country represented within this traditional Afghan institution. We would also like to see the largest number of women possible as members of the loya jirga.
The crucial elements in the international community’s general strategy to normalize the situation in Afghanistan are security and stability. From this point of view, Bulgaria will work with the other members of the Council and with countries that are taking part in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to ensure that that process of normalization and return to full security will be accelerated. My country will support the adoption of the Security Council resolution on the extension of ISAF.
We would like once again to thank the United Kingdom for having organized and led the International Force, and we would also like to thank Turkey for having decided to assume the command of ISAF for the next six months.
My country is also pleased with the results of the meeting on the reform of the security sector in Afghanistan organized under the leadership of the United States in Geneva on 17 May. We greatly appreciate the willingness of the United Kingdom, of Germany and of Italy to play a leading role in the areas of the fight against drug production and trafficking, police and the judicial system.
Bulgaria played an active role in the two meetings in Geneva. My country will continue to provide assistance to establish the security sector in Afghanistan on a bilateral basis, as well as through ISAF and the mechanisms established at the Geneva meetings.
Respect for human rights is crucial for any democracy. The emerging Afghan democracy can only be stable if we respect this principle. The other aspect that seems to be very important to us in the new reality which is emerging in Afghanistan, and one with which the new Afghan institutions should deal, is the status of women, their access to health, education, employment and participation in political and social life.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the appeal launched by the European Union to all of the Afghan leaders to grasp this unique opportunity and to fully support the constitutional process that will begin with the emergency loya jirga in order to reach an agreement on common national institutions based on Afghan traditions and on democratic values, on respect for human rights and on the multiparty system.
I would like to thank Sir Kieran for his excellent briefing and to convey my Government’s appreciation for the work of Special Representative Brahimi and his staff in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
As Chairman of the Afghanistan Support Group, Norway remains in continuous contact with Mr. Brahimi and the Afghan interim authorities in Kabul in order to make the Support Group’s support for the peace process as efficient and constructive as possible.
Among our main goals is that of promoting a comprehensive and coherent approach, bridging the gap between humanitarian assistance and the long-term national rehabilitation and reconstruction process. Norway fully supports the efforts of Mr. Brahimi and UNAMA to ensure coordination of donors and the United Nations system.
In the immediate term, our common concern must be to do what we can to ensure that the emergency loya jirga process proceeds as peacefully and smoothly as possible. This week, Norway transferred a contribution of $500,000 for the loya jirga process into the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Trust Fund.
We fully support Sir Kieran’s message on the urgent need for funding. My Government has so far disbursed $15 million, out of the $40 million that we pledged at the Tokyo conference in January. The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Mr. Petersen, has written to Afghanistan Support Group colleagues and stressed that it is absolutely necessary that the donors speed up disbursements of pledges made at Tokyo so as to bolster stability by improving the living conditions of the Afghan people.
As part of our efforts to strengthen security in Afghanistan, Norway believes that the adoption today of a resolution extending the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by another six months is a very important measure. We commend the United Kingdom’s lead role in ISAF and welcome Turkey’s decision to take over the lead after the United Kingdom. I am pleased to confirm that Norway will continue to contribute military forces to ISAF, as well as to the United States-led coalition’s operations in Afghanistan, also in the coming six months.
Norway will also play an active role in the German-led efforts to establish a civilian police force in Afghanistan. We will contribute both with police instructors and financial resources, at a value of up to one million Euros.
As Sir Kieran indicated, international aid to mitigate the humanitarian crisis must remain a priority. Through the Afghanistan Support Group, we will work for relief operations to be continued and expanded to meet the increasing need for assistance. Also, we must turn increased attention to the need for mine clearance, and to providing shelter and work for the returning refugees and internally displaced people.
The challenges are many, but with the sustained commitment of the international community and the constructive cooperation of the States of the region, we are convinced that we can succeed in creating a more stable and peaceful Afghanistan in the long term. Today’s resolution is an important step in this process.
Let me first of all convey my deep appreciation to you, Sir, for holding this public meeting on Afghanistan. I thank Sir Kieran Prendergast for his informative briefing today.
We have noted the general improvement of the situation in the country and welcome in particular the positive efforts of the Afghan Interim Administration, under the leadership of Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi and Chairman Hamid Karzai.
The political situation looks much brighter since the conclusion of the Bonn Agreement, thanks to the positive attitude and conciliatory approach of the parties involved in the peace process. We note with satisfaction the manner in which arrangements are being made for the organization of the loya jirga early next month. We are confident that this traditional political process will help in the formation of a new government and take the country one step further towards a stable democracy based on the principles of non-discrimination and fair representation of all ethnic groups.
Political stability and social harmony are extremely important factors in the decisions of multilateral and bilateral donors. In his observation last Sunday, Mr. Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), rightly stressed the need for a viable and rule-based Afghanistan for instilling confidence in the donor community. We do hope, however, that donors will take account of the special situation of Afghanistan, and the amount of $4.5 billion pledged over five years for reconstruction at the Tokyo donors Conference will not be withheld for any special reason. At the same time, we hope that the necessary mechanisms for accountability and transparency will be put in place in Afghanistan for the proper utilization of these funds.
The recent meeting on the security sector, held in Geneva last week, underscored the importance the international community attaches to the security concerns in Afghanistan and confirmed its strong commitment to the maintenance and promotion of security in Afghanistan. We commend and support in this respect the Interim Administration’s decision to create a new Afghan armed force and develop a strategy for the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. But, until this process is completed, Afghanistan will continue to require the support of the international community.
My delegation therefore extends its full support to the draft resolution on the extension of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for a period of six months. Maintenance of peace and stability is imperative for Afghanistan to succeed, whether in Kabul or beyond it. Training the Afghan army and the national police, we all recognize, will take some time, and until such time the Afghan Interim Administration should be fully supported.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan — the result of more than two decades of war and political turmoil and further complicated by natural disasters such as earthquakes, severe drought and heavy flooding — continues to deserve special attention. The plight of refugees and internally displaced people should be urgently addressed. We commend the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other United Nations agencies for their relentless efforts to extend the basic necessities to these needy people, especially in the highly volatile and difficult environment. For the maintenance of social stability, it is important that the international community continue to be engaged with a view to improving the life of these refugees and internally displaced persons. We commend the constructive role played by neighbouring countries in this regard.
My delegation strongly supports the efforts made by the organizations and agencies to address the problem posed by poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. We believe that continued support should be extended to the poor peasants who have agreed to stop the poppy cultivation and move towards food production.
Before concluding, I wish to express my delegation’s particular appreciation of the good work being done by the United Kingdom as the head of ISAF. The task ahead remains challenging and daunting, but we are confident that ISAF, under the command of Turkey as of next month, will continue to provide much needed support for the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
We are very grateful to Sir Kieran for the updated information that he gave us this morning. We would also like to welcome here Ms. Ogata for her action in favour of humanitarian issues.
We all agree that the current meeting of the Security Council is taking place at a crucial time in the evolution of the political process that has emerged from the Bonn Agreement. The main task before us at this pivotal period is to consolidate the gains through lucid consideration of the problems that remain in order to find appropriate solutions to them.
The progress achieved since the establishment of the Interim Authority is the result of the combined efforts of the international community and of the Afghan people themselves. This progress deserves to be welcomed and encouraged in so far as the success of the programme for reconciliation, rebuilding and development of Afghanistan will undoubtedly be another sign of the willingness of the United Nations, and of the Security Council in particular, to fulfil their basic responsibilities for maintaining peace and security in the world.
The challenges to be met are still numerous and particularly involve security, the humanitarian situation and development. It should be noted that the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has done a remarkable job under the command of the United Kingdom, thanks to the combined will of the countries that take part in it, whose contribution we welcome.
We welcome in advance the extension of the International Force’s mandate for another six months. We express our gratitude to Turkey for having accepted the command of this Force. Indeed, the return of peace to Afghanistan is possible only if the last hotbeds of destabilization are eliminated by ending the struggles between rival armed factions and eradicating the last Al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds. We must point out the need to accelerate the training and equipping of the Afghan security forces, which in the short term could play this essential role.
The effective implementation of the arrangements in the Bonn Agreement depends largely on how this action will be carried out. My delegation would like to welcome the commitment of all the countries that will provide training to the Afghan armed forces and police.
In the humanitarian sphere, my delegation notes that the situation remains troubling. The massive return of refugees exerts increasing pressure on the existing weak infrastructures and accentuates the enormous needs of the population. We urge the community of donors to step up their efforts to increase the necessary financial flows to meet these needs if we want to avoid a catastrophe, which would worsen the already precarious situation in Afghanistan. This assistance, once made available, would enable the Afghan people to devote their attention to rebuilding their country.
The international conference on reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan, which was held with enthusiasm last January in Tokyo, raised much hope, given the generous and considerable pledges of support that were made there. Nevertheless, the international community must bridge the large gap between intentions and deeds. At stake is the very survival of the Afghan people and, beyond that, the success of institutions patiently set up with the assistance of all.
My delegation believes that if we do not create the proper conditions to lay the groundwork for the true social and economic development of the country, the entire structure built in Bonn could collapse. That is why we appeal for the pledges made in Tokyo to be followed up by concrete action, which could be a great source of motivation and hope.
To conclude, my delegation would like to renew its support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, whose programme of action should be pursued in its entirety. We encourage the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to continue his efforts for peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, a country that has long been a victim of the tribulations of history.
Cameroon in turn wishes to congratulate Sir Kieran on his very useful and complete briefing made at the beginning of this meeting. His briefing gave us a wealth of information that was particularly valuable at a time when the Bonn process is being established. The information has opened up to us prospects for action in the years to come.
Much progress has been made by the Interim Authority, and we welcome that fact. We are thinking in particular of the reopening of schools, the mobilization and sensitization of the international community and, especially, the return of refugees. We also think of all that has been done to improve the status of women.
The establishment of transparent and democratic institutions that respect human rights and the dignity of men and women is clearly the key to any hope for a return to peace. We commend in this respect the efforts of the United Nations and Member States such as the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Turkey for training elements of the police and the army. We also welcome the United Nations trust fund that has been set up for this purpose.
We welcome all of those developments because we believe that everything possible should be put in place to ensure security throughout the Afghan territory. The latest fighting in northern Afghanistan, in Kunduz province, shows how the rivalries among warlords continue — and will continue — to be an irritant of the peace process.
The loya jirga, scheduled for 10-16 June, will appoint a transitional Government, which is an indication of how important it will be. We have said that the necessary conditions need to be present so that the loya jirga will be free from pressure, with a composition that reflects the geopolitical and sociocultural situation of the country. We welcome the return of the former King, Mohammed Zahir Shah, who appears to be a guarantee of success for the loya jirga. That success will depend on the continuing political normalization in Afghanistan after 23 years of war.
Cameroon has also emphasized that these problems have been immense — true challenges — and that the new Afghanistan must confront them. We have particularly stressed the need for the international community’s assistance in rebuilding a country whose infrastructure and economy have been dismantled — and that word is not too strong. That is why the donors conferences, in particular that held recently in Tokyo, have inspired much hope and, as the Ambassador of Guinea said, much enthusiasm.
What we expect today is the materialization of promises made. Certainly, we agree that the Afghan Government should act with respect for the Bonn Agreements. At the same time, we should not establish any linkage that blocks the fulfilment of promises of contributions made to the Afghan Government. To do that would be to deprive the Government of the means to make itself credible in the eyes of its own people and would therefore compromise the establishment of the process envisaged in the Bonn Agreements. We welcome the commitment of Europe of 15, which is now the premier contributor of funds to help rebuild the country. Cameroon reiterates that without such assistance, the Bonn process runs the risk of being sorely tested.
Before us is a draft resolution that we will consider shortly. In particular, it extends the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for a period of six months after 20 June 2002. Naturally, Cameroon fully supports the draft resolution. The challenge that we face is enormous and daunting. The other success stories that we have heard here are not merely signs of encouragement but are guarantees of our commitment and our willingness to attain the objectives that we have established in Afghanistan. The Afghan people have already signalled their determination to reconcile and to rebuild their country. They want to do that with the international community’s assistance. They deserve all our admiration, all our confidence and all our support. As has been said in other forums, we must support them, not with words, but with actions and with truth.
The Chinese delegation would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Prendergast for his briefing on the situation in Afghanistan.
The international community is greatly concerned about the emergency loya jirga to be convened in Afghanistan next month. Whether the loya jirga will be held as scheduled, and whether the elected Transitional Government will be truly representative and thus command the support of all Afghan ethnic groups and the people in all districts will have a direct bearing on whether the hard-won peace will be maintained and whether the political blueprint designed for Afghanistan by the Bonn Agreement will be implemented.
Therefore, setting the stage for the convening of the loya jirga has constituted the current political life in Afghanistan. We welcome the deep interest and the great enthusiasm of the Afghan people with regard to the loya jirga. Such interest and enthusiasm fully reflect their strong aspirations to emerge from war and to rebuild peace, and they show that the overall situation in Afghanistan is moving in the right direction.
On the other hand, the Afghan situation still faces numerous challenges. In particular, conflicts among local warlords continue. Some factions are attempting to manipulate elections, and some parties are complaining that they have been pushed out of the political process. All that is having a negative effect on the preparations for a loya jirga. All the parties in Afghanistan must, for the sake of their overall national interest, put aside past grievances, end the violence and join hands to build peace and to rebuild the country. Only then will it be possible for Afghanistan to have a bright future.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has been functional for only two months. However, it has done a great deal of effective work to ensure that the loya jirga will proceed smoothly and to mediate conflicts among local armed groups. We express our appreciation for the tireless work of Ambassador Brahimi and UNAMA and shall actively cooperate in and support that work. The personnel recommended by China for UNAMA will soon be dispatched to Afghanistan to participate in assistance work.
The International Security Assistance Force has played an important role in helping to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. China favours the extension of its mandate through the adoption of a resolution. At the same time, China is ready to work with other countries to help Afghanistan build its own army and police force.
Another arduous task facing Afghanistan is that of reconstruction. Peace has made reconstruction possible and steady progress in rebuilding will lay the groundwork for further peace. China attaches importance to the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Not long ago, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan of China paid a visit to Afghanistan, during which China pledged to help rebuild a hospital in Kabul and, in principle, a water-conservancy facility in Parvan and a hospital in Kandahar that were originally built with China’s help. Both sides have signed an agreement on assistance and economic and technical cooperation valued at $30 million, while notes have been exchanged regarding the provision of office supplies by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to its Afghan counterpart.
We have also extended cooperation to Afghanistan in its anti-drug campaign and agreed to give positive consideration to certain new assistance projects proposed by Afghanistan, including the rebuilding of the Baghram textile mill. China is ready to continue, to the best of its ability, to provide assistance towards peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
It is very good to see you in the chair again, Sir.
It is late and I will try to be brief, but I want to say at the outset that the international community and the United Nations have already achieved a very great deal in Afghanistan. I should like to pay particular tribute to the excellent work of Special Representative Brahimi and his team in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
I should like, in this intervention, to focus on five key areas.
First, as to security, thanks to the outstanding support of contributor nations and the cooperation of the Afghan authorities and people, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is helping to restore security and confidence in and around Kabul. The international community must now build on this success by providing troops and resources for ISAF, under Turkish leadership from June, and through donations to the ISAF trust fund.
Secondly, the key to long-term stability in Afghanistan is security sector reform. There is progress, but it is, frankly, too slow. There needs to be a concerted international effort, since otherwise we risk losing our investment. Last week in Geneva, the United Kingdom said that it was ready to contribute $21 million for the Afghan armed forces, including support for demobilization and the Afghan Ministry of Defence, conditional on the implementation of a strategic and coherent approach to security sector reform and satisfactory accountability, with a view to the Afghans’ developing the capacity to support their own security sector as soon as possible.
Thirdly, as to the political process, Afghanistan now has an Interim Administration under the effective chairmanship of Hamid Kharzai. Next month’s loya jirga should produce an even more broad-based Government and I agree with Sir Kieran’s statement earlier in the debate that the loya jirga is too important to be discarded for its imperfections. We have contributed £500,000, or $750,000, towards the costs of preparation and we will be watching carefully to make sure that the proceedings of the loya jirga are free and fair.
Fourthly, with respect to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, the United Kingdom has already provided £60 million, or roughly $90 million, and pledged a further £200 million to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and to improve access to basic services, such as health care and education. We were the first donor nation to contribute to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and I would like to encourage others to follow suit as soon as their legislative processes and other requirements can be managed.
Fifthly, I wish to refer to drugs. As others have commented, production rose under the Taliban. We welcome the recent success of the Interim Administration in eradicating one third of the current poppy crop in the main growing areas. There is an urgent need for targeted financial assistance to support rural recovery. Future efforts should focus on law enforcement, alternative livelihoods, institution-building, demand reduction and regional cooperation. The United Kingdom is coordinating international support for this effort.
Finally, Afghanistan is now much better off than before, but much remains to be done. A sustained effort by the entire international community is essential to maintain momentum. There is a very great deal at stake for all of us in this.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of Singapore.
First, I wish to join others in thanking Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Prendergast for his comprehensive briefing on the latest situation in Afghanistan.
In the lead-up to the convening of the emergency loya jirga next month, there are clearly short-term but critical challenges in Afghanistan that the international community must respond to immediately. The success of both the process as well as the outcome of the loya jirga will be critical in laying the foundation to deal with the longer-term challenges in Afghanistan.
The United Nations, including the Security Council, has played and continues to play a pivotal role. We hope that Sir Kieran will convey our full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, as well as the staff of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), who have carried out their tasks in extremely difficult circumstances with ingenuity and aplomb. In particular, we welcome the unified and integrated structure of UNAMA, which represents a new model of coordination and collaboration within the United Nations system.
The convening of the emergency loya jirga is the next important milestone in the political process laid down by the Bonn Agreement since the inauguration of the Afghan Interim Administration on 22 December last year. The emergency loya jirga, to be opened by the former king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, will decide on critical questions relating to the form and structure of the new transitional authority, which will replace the Afghan Interim Administration. As a uniquely Afghan process, the emergency loya jirga will increase Afghan ownership of the political future, where it rightly belongs.
We hope that the former king Zahir Shah’s homecoming to Afghanistan will encourage more returns by the Afghan diaspora. With a long and proud history, Afghanistan has a rich and varied diaspora, which should be fully tapped. In general, progress on the preparation for the emergency loya jirga has been remarkable and encouraging despite the constraints of time, logistics and resources faced by the Independent Commission.
At the same, we should be constantly mindful of potential obstacles. For example, we are disturbed by reports of the killing of a loya jirga candidate hours after he had been selected by the local district shura to be one of the members of the electoral college from that district for the loya jirga. There is a real danger that opponents of the Bonn process and other spoilers could step up their activities to disrupt the emergency loya jirga.
We should remain vigilant even after the conclusion of the emergency loya jirga. As in any political process, there will be winners and losers. Together with the Afghan population, who are tired of decades of war and yearn for peace and stability, the international community must step up its support for a smooth convening of the emergency loya jirga and for its results. In this context, we urge all Afghan parties, especially Afghan leaders, to help foster a cohesive national Afghan identity, which, over time, should take precedence over ethnic or regional affiliations.
The successful convening of the emergency loya jirga will not, on its own, guarantee the long-term stability of Afghanistan. Much more needs to be done in areas relating to humanitarian relief, recovery and reconstruction, as well as to the security situation throughout Afghanistan. As Singapore has consistently maintained, progress on the political, humanitarian, reconstruction and security tracks is mutually reinforcing.
Adopting a comprehensive and coherent approach in managing the situation in Afghanistan is the best way to discourage disruptive forces and to promote sustainable peace. While the worst of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has been avoided, it is now crucial for the donor community to step up its support for the repatriation and resettlement of internally displaced persons and refugees. The higher than anticipated rate of return of internationally displaced persons and refugees is an important sign of the confidence of the Afghan people. Insufficient funding should not be allowed to reverse the process. Mammoth efforts and resources are also needed to transform the former war and drug economy into an economy of peace.
More than any international gathering of global leaders, Afghanistan acutely demonstrated the interlinkages and effects of a globalized world. We should learn the lesson of Afghanistan and step in when it matters most.
In terms of security, we are gratified that the coalition of the willing that constitutes the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has made a clear commitment to extending its presence in Afghanistan for a period of six months. We also commend Turkey for its offer to take over the leadership of ISAF from the United Kingdom, which also deserves our praise for its exemplary work in establishing ISAF.
The adoption of the resolution later today to extend the mandate of ISAF, almost a month before the expiry of its current mandate, is a clear signal of strong and continued international commitment to providing a cornerstone for security in Kabul. The international community, through the series of security-related meetings in Geneva, is carefully examining and implementing the various alternatives to help maintain security in other parts of Afghanistan. In this regard, we welcome the commitment and efforts made by those with influence on the ground, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, to help resolve local conflicts.
I now resume my function as President of the Council.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Canada. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Our debate takes place at a time of great change and great hope for the Afghan people. Over the last five months, the Afghans have finally greatly proven their commitment to putting an end to several decades of conflict and to rebuilding their country and their lives. It is clear that they want to build a country that is not a haven for terrorists.
Canada is ready to help re-establish a stable Government and society in Afghanistan so that the aspirations of the Afghan people can be realized. We must not and cannot abandon them. We owe it to them, as we owe it to the victims who perished on 11 September and in other terrorist attacks, to ensure that extremism does not find fertile soil to cultivate its evil. We must therefore make a long-term commitment.
The progress achieved since the fall of the Taliban regime attests to the tenacity, determination and optimism of the Afghan people. Barely six months ago, we could not have imagined that millions of Afghan boys and girls would return to school, that Afghan warlords would watch as their fields of opium poppies burned and that hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees would return to their homeland to begin rebuilding it.
We also would not have imagined that six months ago a traditional Afghan administration would win by its effective leadership, under the most difficult circumstances, the confidence of the international community. Yet all these things have happened. We applaud the work of the Afghan Interim Administration. We also applaud the very effective help provided to the Afghans by United Nations Special Representative Brahimi and his team in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
These welcome developments have prompted Canada to reaffirm its longstanding commitment to the people of Afghanistan with new, concrete support. Canada provided some $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan between 1990 and 2001. We have also now committed a further $70 million in humanitarian and reconstruction aid for the biennium 2002-2003. Of this amount $30 million has already been disbursed, focusing on humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs and demining and victim assistance programmes to mitigate the consequences of decades of landmine use by parties to the conflicts. We note with concern United Nations reports that show that shortfalls in humanitarian assistance still exist.
The basic needs of the Afghan people must be met before reconstruction can be realized. We therefore urge the international community to take all possible steps to meet the goals of their Tokyo pledges as soon as possible.
Canada is also contributing to the security of Afghanistan through our participation in the coalition force. Some 2,000 Canadian Forces personnel are deployed as part of Operation Apollo in the coalition campaign against terrorism and are tasked with multiple missions, including force protection, demining assistance and combat operations against remaining pockets of Taliban and Al Qaeda resistance. Earlier this year, Canada deployed a battle group to Kandahar for a six-month mission. Those troops will remain in place until midsummer.
Canada will continue to contribute to the coalition campaign through special forces and through a sizeable sea and air presence. We agree with Under-Secretary-General Prendergast that security is an absolute prerequisite for the success of the political process and the reconstruction effort. The Group of Eight, which Canada chairs this year, has been working with the Afghan Administration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to develop strategies and to marshal resources to help the Afghan people create a national army and a national police force, rebuild the justice sector, assist in a demobilization of ex-combatants and address illicit opium production.
Our collective goal has been and must continue to be a sustainable and comprehensive strategy to restore stability and security to the people of Afghanistan.
Within the context of the United Nations, the deployment of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, under the auspices of the Council, has been one of the most visible examples of the international community’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan.
Under the strong leadership of the United Kingdom, the International Security Assistance Force has proven to be an important stabilizing influence in Afghanistan during a critical time. Coalition and ISAF forces have complementary missions to help create the conditions necessary for Afghanistan’s long-term stability and security. We strongly support ISAF’s continuing presence in Afghanistan and are pleased that Turkey has agreed to lead this Force into its second mandate.
We believe that the renewal of the ISAF mandate will permit ISAF to play its part effectively in ensuring that delegates to the loya jirga in a few weeks’ time are free to express their views and to represent the interests of their constituents. The loya jirga represents the first opportunity the Afghan people have had in decades to set their own course towards multi-ethnic representation and democratic governance.
We hope that the loya jirga will prove to be a turning point, where the people of Afghanistan, building on the tremendous progress they have achieved recently, can lay the groundwork for the country’s own future peace and prosperity. We urge the Afghan authorities to ensure that the loya jirga process accommodates wide-ranging ethnic and tribal interests.
We are pleased to note that the level of female participation in the loya jirga process to date has been encouraging. We are particularly pleased that female delegates have not only been named, but have also been elected. We hope that this trend continues and that Afghan women and men continue to be included at every level of decision-making.
Respect for human rights is fundamental to the success of Afghanistan. We urge both the Interim Administration and the international community not only to support the human rights of all ethnic groups in all areas of Afghanistan, but also to seek accountability for those who would abuse these rights.
We believe that the people of Afghanistan want to be heard and to be governed by leaders of their own choosing.
This is indeed a hopeful time for Afghanistan and a rare opportunity. It must not be missed.
Canada looks forward to working with the new Afghan authorities, and we will continue to support the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to rebuild their nation.
I call on the representative of Japan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
The six-month term of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan is nearing its end. The emergency loya jirga, to be convened in a little over two weeks, will determine the shape of the Transitional Authority that will assume power for the coming two years. The political process in Afghanistan is indeed at a critical stage.
At this important juncture, we are receiving mixed signals from Afghanistan. While it is encouraging that preparations for the loya jirga are proceeding more or less as planned, small-scale armed confrontations commonly occur in various parts of the country, and there are signs that attempts at intimidation may be affecting the loya jirga process itself. This deeply worries my delegation.
The success of the emergency loya jirga must be ensured. It must be conducted peacefully, and its decisions must be respected by all. Only the Afghan people can make this happen. Any attempt to undermine the process could jeopardize the fragile peace that is prevailing, however precariously, in Afghanistan for the first time in over two decades. Now more than ever, it is essential that the Afghans set aside old differences and work together to establish a balanced Transitional Authority that can lead the country through the second phase of the Bonn process.
The international community must, of course, do its part to support the convening of the loya jirga. As Foreign Minister Kawaguchi announced prior to her visit to Kabul earlier this month, Japan is providing $2.7 million for equipment and transportation in order to support the preparations for the loya jirga. In addition, we are sending Japanese experts to assist in the preparations for the loya jirga, and we will be providing technical assistance and equipment to broadcast the assembly via television throughout the country.
All the planning and preparations will bear fruit only if security is properly maintained. In this context, we are pleased that the Council has decided to adopt a resolution to extend the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) one month ahead of schedule and before the loya jirga is convened. We hope that this resolution will send to the people of Afghanistan the strong message that the international community will remain committed to assisting them in their endeavours to maintain security during and after the loya jirga.
At the same time, we would like to thank the United Kingdom for the crucially important role it has been playing as the lead nation of ISAF and Turkey for its responsible decision to assume that role in the near future.
Japan is determined to do its utmost to help the Afghan people develop and maintain a secure environment. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi indicated during her visit to Kabul that Japan is considering extending assistance for the reform of the civilian police force, including the provision of wireless communications equipment and vehicles, as well as the rehabilitation of facilities. Japan has also decided to make a contribution of $19 million for the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance. In addition, Japan is seriously looking into developing and implementing appropriate projects to eradicate drugs and to build a national counter-narcotic capacity in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, we are committed to promoting the reintegration of the hundreds of thousands of former combatants and refugees. Towards that end, the Japanese Government sent a team of Foreign Ministry officials to Kabul last week to develop, in close coordination with the Afghan Interim Administration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), a large-scale reintegration programme to provide alternative employment opportunities for former combatants and refugees who intend to take up peaceful livelihoods. We hope to finalize this programme and begin its implementation as soon as possible.
Furthermore, we are considering, in close consultation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the possibility of expanding the UNDP recovery and Employment Afghanistan Programme (REAP), which has so far provided 20,000 labour-intensive jobs in Kabul and has been instrumental in reactivating the community by recovering basic infrastructure and basic living conditions. It is Japan’s conviction that an expansion of this project to other cities, such as Kandahar, would contribute to ensuring security beyond Kabul.
While the maintenance of security is fundamental, efforts for the recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan must also proceed without delay. We have always understood these efforts to be a necessary complement to the political process. Indeed, if we look back over the history of events these past seven months, significant progress on the political front has always been accompanied by genuine progress toward reconstruction.
That trend must continue. And once the Afghan people deliver a successful loya jirga and a viable Transitional Authority, the international community must respond by accelerating the implementation of assistance projects. Japan, for its part, is determined to continue playing a central role in that joint endeavour.
In March, when I had the opportunity to speak before the Council on this same issue, I called on the people of Afghanistan to continue their efforts to produce concrete results on both the political and the reconstruction fronts. Now, with less than one month left before the loya jirga, I reiterate my appeal. This is truly a time when the Afghan people’s resolve to achieve genuine peace is being tested. The international community, including Japan, will continue to stand by them as they work to build a peaceful and prosperous country.
The next speaker is the representative of India. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. President, we once again welcome you to the Council and would like to convey our deep appreciation to you for calling this meeting on an issue which is of particular importance to the international community as well as to my delegation.
My delegation had made a detailed statement during the open meeting of the Council on this subject on 26 March 2002. We shall therefore focus only on developments since then.
We welcome the return to Afghanistan of former King Mohammad Zahir Shah. We believe that his presence will contribute to ongoing efforts to resolve political differences and promote unity in Afghanistan.
The presence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan continues to be a cause of serious concern to the international community. Time and again, those two entities have shown that they are lying low and biding their time, in order to regroup and strike again in Afghanistan and elsewhere. To counter these forces of malevolence and darkness is a task beyond the present capacity of the Interim Administration. Those twin tormentors of Afghanistan need to be decisively neutralized by the international community without delay. There are many reports of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters hiding and regrouping along the eastern and southern borders of Afghanistan. This is the time for a reality check for those who created, nurtured, promoted and supported the Taliban but who now claim to have changed. They should be asked to match their rhetoric with action on the ground or be held accountable for aiding, abetting and supporting international terrorism. The international community has paid a very heavy price for tolerating such uncivilized and illegal behaviour, which should no longer be countenanced.
It will not be possible to eliminate terrorism conclusively from Afghanistan unless the question of the external support extended to the Al Qaeda and Taliban cadres is firmly addressed and dealt with. The declaration of intent to participate in the international struggle against terrorism should not be permitted to be accompanied by subversion in parallel, in the form of protecting, sheltering and supporting elements of the terror machine.
We cannot overemphasize the need for the establishment of security structures in Afghanistan that not only result from intra-Afghan processes, but also lay the foundations for the establishment of a multi-ethnic Afghan national army and police force. India is contributing to the efforts in that regard.
The process of selecting representatives for the emergency loya jirga has begun and appears to be on course. We applaud and commend the Special Independent Commission, which has accomplished so much in so little time with such meagre resources. However, there are twin but interlinked concerns. The first relates to ensuring that the process is free of intimidation and coercion. And the second is to keep the Taliban and its backers firmly out of the process. Otherwise, there will be questions about the outcome’s credibility and acceptance. Security for the loya jirga process is therefore important, and all available resources on the ground should be marshalled to that end.
In another three weeks’ time, the emergency loya jirga will have completed its work, giving to Afghanistan a Transitional Administration reflecting the wishes of the Afghan people. This will be a significant milestone in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and a major step towards the ultimate objective of a democratic Government in Afghanistan installed through free and fair elections.
More than two decades of conflict and three years of drought have led to widespread human suffering and massive displacement of the people of Afghanistan. International and bilateral efforts for the reconstruction of Afghanistan must be sustained and widened. Several developing countries have explicitly expressed keen interest in participating in the rebuilding of Afghanistan within the South-South cooperation modality. They have offered development cooperation — both software and hardware — as well as highly skilled human resources to assist in the rebuilding of Afghanistan.
To facilitate a process through which relevant capacities from developing countries can be easily and cost-effectively made available for Afghanistan’s rebuilding efforts, the Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme have organized a two-day conference on South-South cooperation for rebuilding Afghanistan, which began in New Delhi today with the participation of a large number of developing countries, United Nations funds and agencies, and international financial institutions. In an effort to ensure greater transparency and better overall coordination of the ongoing international effort, developed countries have been invited as observers.
The main objectives of this conference are: to fully appreciate the magnitude of the challenges facing Afghanistan and the development assistance required for its economic and social recovery and reconstruction over the medium to long term; to identify specific capacity needs in both software and hardware areas that can be met or supplied by other developing countries; and to recommend mechanisms by which such capacities and supplies from developing countries can be easily and cost-effectively channelled to Afghanistan. We are confident that the conference will give the required impetus to South-South cooperation for the development of Afghanistan and serve as a model for similar cooperation elsewhere.
Chairman Karzai and other members of the Interim Administration have demonstrated enormous resolve and determination to put Afghanistan on the road to peace and prosperity. But this long, arduous but rewarding journey will become a bit easier, a bit faster, if the international community extends all the assistance that Afghanistan requires in keeping with the priorities and preferences expressed by the Afghan people. We would like to reiterate India’s commitment to contribute to Afghanistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation, both in terms of financial commitments and project-based assistance, as prioritized by the Afghan Interim Administration. In that context, India has already announced a commitment of $100 million and has pledged assistance, both humanitarian assistance — the requirements of which are more immediate in nature, such as a million tons of wheat and much-needed medical aid — and long-term assistance to meet the economic reconstruction needs that encompass several sectors, including police training, education, housing, human resource development, industrial development, public transport and information technology. We have decided, in addition, to make available a sum of $10 million as a budget subsidy to the Afghan Government. Discussions are at an advanced stage for a gift of three aircraft by India to Ariana Airlines to enable it to build up its fleet.
The next few weeks will provide the Afghan leaders and the international community with another opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of all parties to the faithful implementation of the Bonn Agreement through the holding of the loya jirga. We hope that everyone will assume his or her responsibility and that this will lead to the peaceful selection of the Transitional Administration.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Spain. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and the European Free Trade Area countries belonging to the European Economic Area Iceland and Liechtenstein also align themselves with this statement.
After decades of war and internal strife the Afghan people are closer to reconciliation. Challenges remain enormous in scale and complex to resolve, yet the Bonn Agreement is being implemented. The emergency loya jirga is absolutely crucial for success. The first phase of the election of candidates is well under way and the results thus far are encouraging. The Special Independent Commission for the Convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, backed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is finding wholehearted and often enthusiastic support in local communities. It is essential that the loya jirga take place on schedule, without hindrance or manipulation. The European Union shares the concern recently expressed by Mr. Brahimi about the consequences of manipulating the loya jirga process, and calls upon all Afghan parties to seize this historic opportunity. The European Union is supporting the process toward the loya jirga, and would back the deployment of international observers.
The commitment undertaken in Bonn to hold free and fair elections within two years of the convening of the emergency loya jirga should be strictly adhered to.
The United Nations has been entrusted with a central responsibility for the peace process. We commend Mr. Brahimi for his commitment to an effective leading role and reiterate our full support for the objective of a fully integrated United Nations presence in Afghanistan that respects the principles of local ownership and interagency cohesion.
Security in Afghanistan is an essential element for the achievement of the Bonn goals. The European Union is concerned by the unrest in the northern regions of the country and supports the efforts by UNAMA to decrease tension between ethnic groups. Several European Union member States are assisting with the creation of Afghan security institutions, including the establishment of a national army and a police force. The European Union welcomes the results of the Geneva conference on the financing of the security sector in Afghanistan, whose latest meeting was held on 17 May and at which European Union support for institution-building was confirmed. Three of our member States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, have pledged to play leading roles, respectively, in the areas of the war against drugs, police and reform of the judicial system.
The European Union supports the adoption of a Security Council resolution extending the mandate of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beyond 20 June 2002 well in advance of that date, thus sending a strong signal of support to the loya jirga and the rest of the Bonn Agreement implementation process. We welcome the decision taken by Turkey to take over the leadership of ISAF from the United Kingdom, to which we would also like to express our gratitude.
The cooperation and commitment of neighbouring countries will be very important for the successful reconstruction of Afghanistan and the implementation of the Bonn Agreement. The European Union will integrate this regional dimension in its Afghanistan policy, enhancing the political dialogue and promoting joint initiatives with those countries.
The European Union will work for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, and is a key partner in the reconstruction effort, as witnessed by its support for the Afghan Interim Authority and its important commitment of support pledged at the Tokyo Conference. We have actively monitored and supported the implementation of the Bonn Agreement, inter alia by appointing a special envoy for Afghanistan. In addition, the European Union is a major source of humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, European Union member States, including Spain, participate in ISAF and are key contributors to operation Enduring Freedom.
International assistance to Afghanistan should be based upon the respect for and promotion of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Bonn Agreement is the basic road map for the political future of the country. European Union reconstruction assistance will be conditional on all Afghan parties positively contributing to the process and the goals agreed in Bonn with the aim of establishing peace, a representative Government and stability in Afghanistan, as well as helping to eradicate terrorism and the illicit production and trafficking of narcotic drugs.
Given the harmful consequences of drug production and trafficking for Afghanistan, for the region, and for our own countries, the European Union reaffirms its readiness to support efforts undertaken by the Afghan Interim Authority, with the help of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme with a view to solving this most important problem. In particular, we welcome the success of the Interim Administration’s recent crop eradication programme, which has destroyed a significant proportion of the current harvest in the main poppy-growing areas.
The European Union will continue its dialogue with the Interim Authority on how best to achieve reconstruction and attain the political objectives set out in the Bonn Agreement while ensuring greater ownership by the Afghans themselves. We welcome the creation of the Afghan Assistance Coordination Authority and acknowledge its contribution to the reconstruction effort. Sustainable economic development and the effective use of donor funding urgently require that sound currency arrangements, as well as strong and transparent budgetary and treasury systems, be put in place.
The European Union will encourage and support the Afghan Interim Authority and the United Nations in the establishment of the Judicial Commission and the reform of the judicial system. Likewise, we encourage the early establishment of the Civil Service Commission and will assist in establishing an efficient public administration, a legal system and other mechanisms necessary to ensure respect for the rule of law and democratic principles, including freedom of expression.
Respect for human rights is essential both in itself and as a means of achieving reconciliation and peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic groups. The European Union will thus offer to assist the Interim Authority and its successor in establishing structures to ensure respect for human rights without discrimination, including the establishment of the Human Rights Commission foreseen in the Bonn Agreement. The European Union is concerned by recent reports about allegations of human rights abuses, and supports the prompt initiative taken by UNAMA to request a thorough investigation through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The European Union considers that Afghan women must enjoy full human rights as well as equal access to health care, education and employment; they must have the opportunity to participate on equal terms in the political and social life of their country and to play a central role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The European Union will therefore ensure a gender-sensitive approach in its activities, including in development assistance.
Although the pace of return of refugees has exceeded expectations, as witnessed by the recent closure of the 22-year-old Nasir Bagh camp in Pakistan, many are still hosted by neighbouring countries, and many of those who return join thousands of internally displaced persons. Their needs continue to demand attention and humanitarian assistance from the international community.
In my last statement on Afghanistan before the Council, on 26 March, I stressed that security, stability and reconstruction should be sought primarily by the Afghan people. In that connection I must insist on the importance of the emergency loya jirga, which will offer the first real opportunity to reach a nationwide consensus on common national institutions based on democratic traditions. We appeal once more to all Afghan leaders to fully support the constitutional process that will begin with the emergency loya jirga.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of New Zealand. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I should like to begin by saying how much we welcome these opportunities for non-members of the Council to comment on important political and security issues before the Council. To that end, I will be very brief.
We think that the political, security, economic and social dimensions of the situation in Afghanistan are inextricably linked. Indeed, that reality underpins the international strategy represented by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Not to recognize that would run the risk that the country would relapse into warlordism and violence — the very conditions that produced the Taliban and encouraged terrorists to use Afghanistan as a base.
Clearly, the fundamental challenge in Afghanistan is nation-building. The next moves towards stabilization are likely to be political, and it is clear that much rests on the success of the loya jirga. We join others in their appeals to all Afghan leaders to support the constitutional process involved here.
New Zealand will remain engaged in international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan through a coordinated aid effort in partnership with the Afghan people and in areas where we can add value. Donor activity is rightly focusing on rehabilitation and reconstruction. We recognize the value of “quick-start/quick impact” projects to fast-track reconstruction and to assist the Afghanistan Interim Authority in establishing its credibility with the Afghan people. To that end, we are contributing $400,000 to projects identified in the United Nations Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People 2002 and a further $200,000 for New Zealand non-governmental organization activities in Afghanistan. Obviously, it is important that pledges of financial assistance be paid as quickly as possible to ensure the seamless provision of assistance at a time of great need for the Afghan authorities and for the Afghan people.
On the security side — which was given a great deal of emphasis by Under-Secretary-General Prendergast this morning — New Zealand is involved in the coalition operation Enduring Freedom, which, in addition to its broader objectives, provides a level of reassurance to those, including UNAMA, operating outside the area covered by ISAF. New Zealand is also a contributor to ISAF itself, and the New Zealand Minister of Defence today announced the Government’s willingness to continue contributing personnel to ISAF in the forthcoming six-month period, until the end of this year.
We very much welcome Turkey’s agreement to assume command of ISAF, and we look forward to working under Turkish leadership in the coming months. I would also like to thank the United Kingdom for its leadership role during a crucial period for ISAF. Clearly, ISAF has a key role in providing a secure environment in which political processes can flourish and rehabilitation and reconstruction can proceed, and we very much support an extension of its mandate, as proposed in the draft resolution before the Council.
The next speaker is the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
There is a consensus inside as well as outside Afghanistan that, after two decades of war, the country needs peace and stability. All Afghan ethnic groups agree on the need for understanding and for maintaining the peace. Moreover, the international community has unanimously pronounced itself ready to follow up on the peace process and on the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
We are delighted that such a consensus exists at all levels and that steps have already been taken towards implementing the decisions made last December in Bonn. We are also delighted that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been able all along to actively help the Afghan people further their cause and has been able to contribute, from the outset, to the United-Nations-led Afghan peace process and drive for reconstruction.
My Government is following with great interest the ongoing — and thus far mostly successful — process of electing a loya jirga. Iranian officials fully assisted a delegation dispatched to the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Special Independent Commission for the Convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, which successfully accomplished its mission of choosing the representatives of Afghan refugees living in Iran. We hope that the Commission can complete its work successfully and in a timely manner, despite any obstacles that may arise along the way.
At this juncture, the maintenance of peace and security throughout Afghanistan is of great importance. Although there are signs that security has improved, we agree that the situation across the country remains fragile and unpredictable. The possible regrouping of Taliban and Al Qaeda elements inside and outside Afghanistan is still a cause for concern, and continued suspicion and hostility among some Afghan military commanders may prove destabilizing. Furthermore, I would like to caution that careless military operations, in which innocent Afghan people are killed, only add to the sense of instability.
At the same time, we understand that an appropriate amount of international security assistance is necessary to help maintain peace in Afghanistan. In the light of Afghan sensitivities and of past experience, however, we believe that it is in the interest of lasting peace in Afghanistan that the foreign military presence in that country remain as minimal and as brief as possible. In our view, the creation of an indigenous Afghan security sector should be given priority by all Afghans and by the international community. The Iranian Government has undertaken to help in that area by providing training to the Afghan police.
Drugs in Afghanistan are also a security-related issue. The continued poppy cultivation in that country is incompatible with the Afghan drive for peace. It threatens Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, and it runs counter to the restoration of stability in the region. We commend the determination shown by the Afghan interim Government to eliminate poppy cultivation, and we commend the foreign countries that are assisting it in that respect. We encourage the international community to participate in efforts to promote crop-substitution projects in Afghanistan and to create incentives for Afghan farmers to cultivate food crops instead of opium poppies.
Benefiting from relative peace in the country and a favourable international and regional climate, Afghanistan’s reconstruction is gradually getting off the ground. Cultural, historical and linguistic affinities between Iran and Afghanistan have been strong incentives to Iran’s contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. In addition, we hope that a successful rebuilding of that country will reinforce peace and help alleviate the refugee crisis and drug trafficking in the region.
Therefore, while we expect that the international community will actively follow up reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, we believe that Afghan rebuilding plans should be drawn up so that all interested countries, especially those neighbouring Afghanistan, will be encouraged to cooperate in the reconstruction drive. Moreover, Afghan reconstruction and economic development should be carried out in line with the social and cultural requirements of Afghan society and help bring closer the different ethnic groups of the country.
My Government, determined to participate in the reconstruction drive, has already started a number of projects, including the construction of a road from the Iranian border to Herat. A feasibility study on a railway leading to Herat is also under way. Both are important, given the land-locked status of Afghanistan. Moreover, during the visit of the Iranian Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs to Kabul in April, the two sides signed several agreements covering various areas of economic and commercial cooperation.
Attaching great importance to consensus among the Afghan neighbours and their meaningful participation in the construction of Afghanistan, Tehran hosted, on 18 May, a ministerial meeting of finance ministers from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, held under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme. The meeting was intended to pave the way for regional participation in promoting economic and commercial cooperation among the participants. It focused on the urgent needs of Afghanistan, the provision of grants and credits for its reconstruction and rebuilding the infrastructure of the country. A memorandum of understanding signed by the participants aims at enhancing cooperation by and among their private sectors, facilitating trade transactions and coordinating regional strategies to expand economic cooperation among the three countries. It also established a trilateral commission for coordination.
We attach importance to the coordinating work that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan is doing in that country and highly appreciate the efforts made by Mr. Brahimi and his colleagues. Our appreciation also goes to the United Nations agencies that have been doing their best to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Pakistan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
I wish to begin by congratulating you, Sir, on your presidency of the Security Council and for presiding over this public meeting on this important subject.
Afghanistan has suffered for 23 long years. It has suffered at the hands of man as well as nature. Afghanistan remains a devastated country and its people badly in need of outside help. Today, millions of Afghans are either sheltered abroad as refugees or face tremendous hardship inside their own country. Afghanistan’s problems are manifold. Its people require emergency relief assistance immediately. The country itself needs massive recovery and reconstruction. Although Afghanistan is turning a new leaf, and in spite of hopes for a better tomorrow, the process of restoring complete normalcy and stability certainly looks to be a long and arduous one.
Pakistan has welcomed the Bonn Agreement as a landmark event that seeks to bring about a fundamental change in Afghanistan through peaceful means. This Agreement forms a basis for evolving a genuinely home-grown, broad-based and multi-ethnic political dispensation in Afghanistan. A milestone event in this evolution will be reached next month with the convening of the emergency loya jirga. We hope that this will be the first step in a process which will ultimately lead to the establishment of a genuinely representative Government in Afghanistan that is acceptable to all Afghans, promotes unity and stability internally and respects its international obligations externally, including those to its neighbours.
Pakistan also extends its fullest support and cooperation to the United Nations-led efforts in Afghanistan. We have welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. We hope that, in addition to supervising relief and recovery efforts, the United Nations will continue to play its role as a facilitator in helping the Afghans to find home-grown solutions to their problems.
Now that the international community has committed itself to the peace, stability, recovery and reconstruction of Afghanistan, it must remain steadfast in completing the task that it has begun. We must draw lessons from Afghanistan’s tragic past. History could have been different indeed; the suffering in Afghanistan and the violence which exacerbated it could have been avoided if the international community had not walked away from Afghanistan once success was achieved in the cold war.
We are heartened by the assurances of the major Powers that they will not walk away from Afghanistan this time and that they are committed to helping Afghanistan to build peace through the Bonn political process and to rebuilding the economy and society of that war-ravaged land. An Afghanistan at peace with itself and with its neighbours can play a vital role in the promotion of peace, security and cooperation in the region.
It is apparent that, without security inside Afghanistan, there can be no stability, reconstruction or recovery. That is the essential prerequisite on which the entire future of Afghanistan and its people depends. The implementation of the Bonn Agreement and, indeed, the political and economic future of Afghanistan depend on ensuring peace and security there. The Afghan people have suffered far too long at the hands of ambitious warlords and fratricidal factions. The international community must therefore ensure that the re-emergence of those trends is not allowed to obstruct the establishment of a stable political structure in Afghanistan, as envisaged in the Bonn Agreement.
The Bonn Agreement stipulated the establishment of a United Nations-mandated force for the maintenance of security in Kabul as well as other areas of the country. We support the deployment of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul and the extension of its mandate for another six months. We feel that its size and scope must be expanded and extended to encompass the entire country, especially its major urban centres.
We have joined the international community in helping to rebuild Afghanistan’s army and police. Pakistan has offered to assist in the training of the Afghan national army and police, as well as cooperation in drug control and in revamping the judicial system in Afghanistan. But this process may be far too slow to address Afghanistan’s immediate internal security requirements and thus to keep the implementation of the Bonn process on track.
As all know, Pakistan has been providing shelter to millions of Afghan refugees for over two decades. We welcome the large ongoing return of refugees to Afghanistan. We hope that the international efforts will provide adequate financial and operational means to ensure their rehabilitation, resettlement and re-integration into the emerging new Afghan society.
Pakistan has pledged $100 million worth of assistance for Afghanistan’s immediate rehabilitation and reconstruction needs, which include the reconstruction of its infrastructure and the rehabilitation of its communications system and power-generation sectors. Of this money, $10 million has already been disbursed. Pakistan has extended its full support and cooperation to the Afghan Interim Authority. We appreciate the warm welcome given by the Afghan Interim Administration to President Musharraf when he visited Kabul in April. President Musharraf has assured Chairman Karzai that his agenda is our agenda. We are fully committed to maintaining and improving fraternal ties with Afghanistan. We will continue to work with the Afghan authorities and the international community to work for Afghanistan’s recovery and stability.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Afghanistan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Mr. President, I am thankful to you for presiding once again over a meeting dedicated to Afghanistan. We appreciate the report of the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Prendergast. His report enables me to shorten my statement.
Approximately six months have passed since the Afghan Interim Administration was created by the Bonn Agreement. Despite enormous obstacles and difficulties, the accomplishments of the Interim Administration are considerable. That peace and security have been generally ensured in the country as a whole, with the exception of a border region in the south-east, deserves esteem. The process for the loya jirga, which will convene 10 June, is proceeding in the country as a whole, generally speaking with success. A considerable number of refugees are returning to Afghanistan. So many Afghans are attempting to find again their place in society. Certain rebuilding efforts have started throughout the country. All these accomplishments could not be realized without the assistance of the international community.
In that regard, we express our gratitude to the Security Council for the special attention it has given situation in Afghanistan. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has played a positive role in Afghanistan, including the restoration of peace and security. We thank the United Kingdom for directing ISAF with great skill. We would like to assure Turkey that Afghanistan’s Interim Administration will continue to extend its cooperation when Turkey assumes the direction of ISAF. I would like to recall that it was Turkey’s top leaders who in the 1920s gave the order to their military officials and those responsible for training the army to come to Afghanistan, and that process continued until the 1960s.
At the Geneva recent conference, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan presented in detail the position of the Afghan Interim Administration on the number and composition of the Afghanistan security force. We believe that the establishment of that force could greatly contribute to security and stability throughout the country.
The consolidation of peace in Afghanistan depends not only on the efforts to re-establish the security force but on the reconstruction efforts and rehabilitation of the country. In some respects, one could say that the financing of efforts to rebuild the country is a higher priority than re-establishing the security force. In effect, the demobilization and the reintegration of combatants and the reintegration of thousands of refuges will enable us to well ensure peace and security. A worker who receives his modest salary will not seek to fight alongside a warlord.
We would also like to thank the Security Council for the resolution it will be adopting today to extend the ISAF mandate for six months. We would also like to thank Turkey, a country with which we have historic ties of friendship and fraternity and which is assuming the direction of ISAF. We also wish to express our gratitude to all the countries that have contributed to and participated in the efforts of the Force and the efforts to combat the terrorist networks in Afghanistan. We are very grateful to the individuals of friendly countries who came to Afghanistan personally to verify how the Interim Administration was functioning; that was very valuable to us.
We are in favour of the text of the draft resolution contained in document S/2002/569, which the Afghanistan Interim Administration supports. We are very satisfied that the letter addressed to the President of the Security Council by the Afghan Minister was confirmed in the preamble of the draft resolution.
The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Turkey. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
Turkey has aligned itself with the statement made by the representative of Spain on behalf of the European Union. But this being so, I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to briefly describe the main considerations that led Turkey to decide to take over the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from the United Kingdom.
To start with, our appreciation goes to the United Kingdom, which is fulfilling this crucial responsibility in an impeccable manner at this vitally important juncture. As the statement of the European Union made clear, the Afghan people, after decades of war and internal strife, are closer to historic reconciliation. Turkey, which has traditionally had warm relations with this beleaguered country and its people, is happy that this opportunity to contribute distinctly to this evolution towards normalcy is now being carried out. It was with this hope that we decided to be part of ISAF from the very start and became a contributing nation.
Turkey is fully aware that the success of the Bonn process is fundamentally important to obtaining peace and stability in Afghanistan. We are therefore moving on to firmly grasp this historic challenge. Indeed, it is with the determination to meet this challenge that we accept the lead-nation status in ISAF for Kabul and its surrounding area for a period of six months. Needless to say, we will assume this responsibility after the Council extends its authorization of the Force.
Our understanding is that this six-month period will commence with the actual transfer of the lead to Turkey, which we expect will take place soon, in the latter half of June, around 28 June, to be more precise.
The Turkish Government has made this decision with the understanding that the mandate and the area of operation of ISAF will be maintained as stipulated by Security Council resolution 1386 (2001). As such, the current ISAF mission remains to assist the Afghan Administration in the maintenance of security, as envisaged in annex I to the Bonn Agreement.
Under the lead of the United Kingdom and with the valuable assistance of the contributing States, ISAF has been successful in fulfilling its role. The continuing strong support of the international community remains crucial to maintaining present capabilities and the efficiency of ISAF. We expect Member States to make concrete and timely contributions to the Force. Furthermore, I would like to recall that the trust fund established in accordance with resolution 1386 (2001) to provide financial support to ISAF-participating States has yet to become functional. This is the lifeline of ISAF, and we expect Member States to contribute to it.
As the lead nation of ISAF we look forward to reporting to the Council regularly. We hope that the six-month period that will be completed when Turkey transfers its responsibilities to a successor nation will be a glowing one for the people of Afghanistan in their painful recent history.
Finally, I would like to extend our thanks to those delegations that expressed their support for my country’s assuming the lead-nation role.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.
There being no objection, it was so decided.
favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0
Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, France, Guinea, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Syria, United Kingdom, United States
There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1413 (2002).
The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council will remain seized of the matter.