Security Council meeting 4774-Resu.1

Date17 June 2003
S-PV-4774-Resu.1 2003-06-17 15:00 17 June 2003 [[17 June]] [[2003]] /

The situation in Afghanistan

The meeting resumed at 3.10 p.m.
The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of Kazakhstan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Kazykhanov (Kazakhstan)

First let me thank you for convening this Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan. It is a very timely decision to hold a meeting in a format that provides a platform for interested Member States. We all want Afghanistan to be rebuilt, and we should all do our best to provide help to this long-suffering country.

I would like to thank Mr. Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General and Mr. Costa, Executive Director, for their comprehensive briefings on the situation in Afghanistan.

It is commendable that, despite completely destroyed infrastructure and great human losses during the prolonged war, the people of Afghanistan have enthusiastically tackled the task of building a new society. It is quite encouraging to see positive changes and processes in the country in such areas as national reconstruction and state-building.

Work is well under way to convene a Constitutional Loya Jirga, which promises to become the most significant political event in Afghanistan this year. Public service reform is picking up its pace, a system of administration is being put in place, both nationally and locally, and efforts are being made to prepare for judicial sector reform. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has been actively investigating human rights violations. More than 4 million boys and girls started a new school year.

The Government of Kazakhstan supports the selfless efforts of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who leads the successful rehabilitation process in Afghanistan in close cooperation with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi.

We find ourselves at the starting point of a long and extremely complex process leading to the restoration of credible peace in Afghanistan. For this reason, it is necessary to further intensify international peacekeeping efforts in the country in order to prevent a relapse into civil war.

We fully share the concerns expressed by the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, regarding the deteriorating security situation due to inter-ethnic and factional clashes, increased activity by elements associated with the Taliban and a drug-based economy. All these factors impede the reconstruction effort, political transformation and re-establishment of the rule of law.

Kazakhstan has always called for an early settlement of the situation in Afghanistan. We continue to firmly believe that the United Nations should play a central role in international efforts to provide assistance to Afghanistan. Now that the process of peaceful settlement has reached the stage of practical actions, the Government of Kazakhstan is working to broaden its participation in political and economic activities of the international community to rebuild Afghan society.

Although the political situation in Afghanistan has become somewhat stable, the country continues to be a source of numerous threats and challenges. In this context, Kazakhstan is especially concerned by the production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, Afghanistan continues to be the main source of drugs bound for international drug markets. Despite the efforts by the international community, opium production in 2002 has returned to former high levels and, as a result, opium transit through the Central Asian countries has increased. It should be noted that the significant scale of illicit drug trafficking constitutes a great threat not only to our region, but to the whole world. We are convinced that, as long as this alarming trend persists, international terrorism will continue to have a source of financial support.

We believe that in order to effectively counter the existing drug threat, it is necessary to apply a comprehensive approach to the solution of this problem, with the United Nations playing a coordinating role. We commend the Government of Afghanistan for taking measures to control poppy cultivation. National drug control strategy provides for alternative economic stimulus packages for farmers and the strengthening of the administration of justice capability in the country. In that context, I would like to stress the importance of convening a drugs control conference in Kabul, which would contribute to the coordination of efforts to combat illicit drug production in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan commends the contribution by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Drug Control Programme to the efforts to eliminate drugs on a sustainable basis and welcomes the outcome of the International Conference on Drug Routes from Central Asia to Europe, held in Paris on 21 and 22 May 2003.

The Government of Kazakhstan attaches great significance to the signing in December 2002 between the Government of Afghanistan and the six neighbouring countries of the Kabul Declaration of Good Neighbourly Relations, wherein the seven signatories reaffirmed their determination to defeat terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.

The current discussions give us grounds for concluding that opium production and the existence of a drug-based economy undermine security. Without adequate measures of control, this situation can disrupt the efforts of the international community to end this prolonged crisis in the country and to establish the rule of law in Afghanistan. We should set up joint mechanisms to eliminate channels for drug trafficking from Afghanistan by allocating adequate resources to drug control programmes and projects.

In that regard, I would like to mention the great efforts made in this area by the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Central Asian Cooperation Organization.

Like any other regional State, Kazakhstan is interested in the strengthening of the “security belts” around Afghanistan in order to prevent traffic in illicit drugs in Afghan territory and to prevent precursor chemicals from flowing into Afghanistan.

We also believe that in the existing situation, it is imperative to develop a United Nations programme to combat drug trade in Central Asia on a systematic basis. In that context, the initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to create a regional cooperation structure between the Central Asian countries should be supported.

Effective assistance to strengthen the border guard, customs and law enforcement agencies of States located alongside the drug-trafficking routes from Afghanistan and to improve interaction between drug control agencies at the regional level could be an important factor in preventing drug trafficking in Afghanistan.

We agree with the main provisions of the statement of the President of the Security Council on the item under discussion and call on other States to support it.

Kazakhstan reaffirms its commitment to the efforts of the international community to implement the Bonn Agreement and stands ready to do all it can to contribute to the creation of a new and independent Afghanistan.

The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of Tajikistan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Alimov (Tajikistan)

Allow me at the outset to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this special meeting of the Security Council to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to develop effective measures to counter the global threat of drugs coming from that country.

For a year and a half, Afghan society, following 23 years of war, has been living with the hope of establishing lasting peace and stability, achieving genuine national reconciliation and the long-awaited changes on which Afghan citizens are pinning their future. Tajikistan notes with satisfaction the significant achievements of the Government of Hamid Karzai in implementing the Bonn Agreement, which has become a reliable compass for the normalization of life and the re-establishment of Afghan civil society, which has for many years suffered hardship.

Today’s Afghanistan includes 1.5 million refugees and half a million displaced persons who have returned home. It embraces 3 million Afghan children, including girls who now attend school after years of being prohibited from doing so. It includes cinemas and theatres that have reopened their doors to spectators. It is composed of women who are increasingly active participants in the restoration of their country. It involves the rebirth of political life open to all Afghans, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations. Finally, it embraces an increasingly strengthened process of State-building in the framework of which complex work is being done on developing the principal body of law, the country’s new constitution, and preparations for democratic elections are under way, which should be a milestone in this new chapter of Afghanistan’s history.

We are all witness to how difficult it has been to accomplish that. At the same time, we are not blind to the fact that the country has many unresolved problems, especially in the areas of guaranteeing security and the rule of law. Opponents of the new administration’s policies continue to devise plans to disrupt the Afghan peace process. Those forces are counting on the fact that the Government is not yet strong enough for Afghanistan to be able to pursue the course for change. They are devising plans to return Afghan society to the recent dark ages, arbitrary rule and the debasement of the individual.

Such a chain of events would be cause for great disappointment not only for millions of Afghan men and women, who have breathed the air of freedom and live with the hope of swift economic recovery and political reconstruction, but also for the entire international community. It is essentially a test of the ability of the international community not only to provide political and financial support to the Afghan authorities and defend the peace process in Afghanistan but also to follow up on earlier commitments to promote peace and security in that country and stability throughout the region.

To build peace and promote stability and national reconciliation in the country, whose Government is relying on a fragile peace process, is an extremely daunting challenge. Without the support of the international community, it is virtually unrealizable. Tajikistan understands this well and will continue to increase its assistance and support to the efforts of President Hamid Karzai’s Administration. At this critical and fateful transition period for Afghanistan, we are calling on the international community not to forget the needs of the Afghan people, bolster the lawful Afghan authorities with renewed vigour to give additional momentum to the peace process in the country.

This is especially important given that elements hostile to the Government of Afghanistan and the international community, including remnants of the Taliban movement, are making efforts to destabilize Afghan society. The activities of armed criminal groups are becoming increasingly brazen. We note with particular concern these terrorist acts in Afghanistan, including against international workers and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

These destructive acts are being stepped up by those who are controlling and encouraging the development of drug production in Afghanistan, including a network of international organized criminal groups and terrorist organizations. Carrying out anti-terrorist operations in that country has barely destroyed the well-organized Taliban drug trade structure. The main storage facilities, supply points and heroin production laboratories have remained undisturbed. The hellish machinery of heroin is working at full tilt. Profits from the Afghan drug trade in Afghanistan in 2002 alone amounted to $1.2 billion. These illegal revenues are practically equal to the level of international assistance to Afghanistan.

Ten years ago Tajikistan confiscated 38 kilograms of smuggled opium from Afghanistan for the first time, and the first 6 kilograms of Afghan heroin were withdrawn from illegal trade in 1996. Ever since, Tajikistan, which has a 1,500-kilometre border with Afghanistan and was once situated on the great Silk Road, now, given its geopolitical position, is at the crossroads of the great “opium road”, along which international criminal drug cartels are exporting heroine across continents.

Tajikistan fully recognizes the seriousness and scale of the drug threat coming from Afghanistan, which is closely linked with international terrorist activities that, in turn, are fuelled by illegal revenues. Drug control is of particular concern to my Government, and the President of the country, Emomali Rakhmonov, views this as a priority objective of State policy. With each year we increase bilateral and multilateral cooperation to that end, especially in the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. We are building on our successful cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

In recent years Tajikistan has became a major and reliable shield against Afghan drugs in transit to Central Asia, Russia, Europe and the United States. Since 1999 the law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan and the Border Group of the Federal Border Service of Russia in the Republic of Tajikistan have removed from illegal circulation more than 25 tons of opiates, including some 14 tons of heroin. The amount of seized drugs, according to average wholesale prices of West European countries, where the share of Afghan heroine accounts for about 90 per cent of the general supply, is equal to almost $1 billion. We can safely say that thanks to joint operations of the law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan and the Russian Border Service, more than 13 million of the world’s citizens have been spared the dangerous encounter with white death.

Today, Tajikistan has seized more than 80 per cent of heroin and opium from illegal trade in the Central Asian region and more than 70 per cent in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. According to United Nations data, our country was ranked fourth in the world in the volume of heroin seized and third in the volume of raw opium seized. Those achievements result not only from the joint efforts of Tajikistan’s law-enforcement agencies and of the Russian border service, but also from the efforts of donor States that have provided generous financial and technical assistance, including through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, whose efforts we deeply appreciate.

Despite the fact that the success in combating drug smuggling on the Tajik-Afghan border and in Tajikistan itself has been enhanced several times over, we cannot say that the anti-narcotic security network is 100 per cent effective. In the areas bordering Afghanistan, there are still dozens of laboratories that produce heroin, tons of which are waiting to be sent on the death route to Europe and America. Under the remaining ashes of the inhuman Taliban regime, there still smoulders a fire that poses a danger to international and regional security.

The poignancy of the drug problem in Afghanistan dictates the need to develop an appropriate international strategy that must include specific, appropriate and adequate measures to combat drugs both within and outside Afghanistan. We fully share the assessments that we have heard today in the Security Council, and we believe that a summary of today’s discussion could form the basis for developing such a strategy. We believe that, along with continuing to work to establish and strengthen anti-narcotic security networks around Afghanistan, the international community must step up its assistance to the Afghan authorities who are fighting opium poppy cultivation and drug production in Afghanistan.

We also need new, innovative proposals for Afghan farmers who are drawn into opium poppy production. Moreover, targeted support for the customs, border and law-enforcement agencies of the States bordering Afghanistan would be very effective; proof of that can be seen in the success of the international programmes to combat the illicit drug trade that have been implemented in Tajikistan. Another equally important component of such a future strategy would be to create a unified database containing information about people and organizations that have committed crimes related to Afghan drugs. We must devote sufficient attention to the question of where chemical precursors originate and how they enter Afghanistan.

In conclusion, I should like to emphasize that neutralizing the heroin beast can be accomplished only if there is a united coalition of all the neighbouring countries, supported by the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and Japan, which, with the coordinating role of the United Nations, can implement an international strategy to combat the illicit trafficking of Afghan narcotics. In Tajikistan, we are convinced that only collective resistance to the global drug danger emanating from Afghanistan will give that country an opportunity to rid itself once and for all of the heroin legacy left by the Taliban, to develop national harmony and stability, and to make its contribution to the cause of supporting peace and security in the region.

The President

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.

Mr. Zarif (Iran)

At the outset, I should like to join previous speakers in expressing our appreciation to you, Sir, for having convened this meeting, and also to Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and to Director-General Costa for their briefings this morning.

More than a year and a half after the collapse of the Taliban, Afghanistan still languishes in a strange limbo between war and peace. Although the ouster of the Taliban and of Al Qaeda from power and the establishment of the Interim Authority — as well as its commendable and important achievements — have been encouraging and a source of relief for the Afghans, for the region and for the international community as a whole, the country has yet to find itself on an irreversible path towards stability and normalcy. The authority of the central Government has yet to spread throughout Afghanistan. A lack of security across the country — including in the capital — is still an underlying problem. The recent suicide bomb attack on German troops in Kabul, which regrettably killed four soldiers, was only the latest in a series. Continuing security problems are especially damaging because the drafting and approval of a new constitution and the holding of general elections, laid out by the Bonn Agreement, should be completed by next June. Such problems have also discouraged domestic and foreign investment, thus slowing down the country’s economic regeneration.

The effect of persistent insecurity, coupled with a lack of sufficient funds for reconstruction, has created a negative trend in Afghanistan. To reverse that trend, a sharp increase in international assistance is needed, especially with regard to empowering the new Afghan army, which still numbers only about 4,000 to 5,000 troops stationed mostly around Kabul — far short of the 70,000 or more projected. Consequently, the dependence of the central Government on local commanders to keep order has thus far come at the expense of central authority and lies at the root of a number of problems.

The Afghan people and their neighbours — who incurred enormous losses for more than two decades as a result of lawlessness and instability in Afghanistan — expect the international community not to shrink from its commitments to the Afghans. To do otherwise would amount to abandoning Afghanistan to chaos, leaving the country wide open for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden to move back in and to turn it once again into a base for their terrorist operations.

Already, evidence of such a surge of activity in Afghanistan is abundant: the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Hekmatyar’s group have reorganized. In the past two weeks, they have carried out 20 operations against the security forces and people loyal to the Government, using more lethal and sophisticated devices and explosives. While they are more concentrated in the eastern provinces, they are increasingly targeting areas in central Afghanistan. Their increasingly centralized and visible leadership — including previous as well as new, emerging leaders — is more outspoken and active in talking to the media, inciting the Afghans to oppose the central Government. And the list goes on.

My country, as one of Afghanistan’s neighbours, is particularly concerned about the continued rise in opium production in Afghanistan. Despite the commendable efforts of President Karzai and his Administration, as well as those of the United Nations system, Afghanistan continues to be the main centre of illicit opium production in the world, and, as the Secretary-General asserted in his latest report (S/2003/333), poppy cultivation and the production and trafficking in drugs remain major national and international concerns.

Undoubtedly, insecurity and drug trafficking in Afghanistan are mutually reinforcing, and both contribute in turn to terrorism and other forms of transnational crime. Across the globe, the lines between international organized crime and global terrorism have become impossibly blurred, and the links between them have grown in the past decade. The recognition of this reality should compel Governments to begin revamping their strategy for the war on both terrorism and drug trafficking.

We support the idea of promoting, under United Nations auspices, a comprehensive anti-drug strategy based on close cooperation between the parties concerned and the Afghan Transitional Administration. Meanwhile, we believe that such a comprehensive strategy should be all-encompassing, bringing all actors and interested parties — including civil society and Governments — from source, transit and destination countries together. It should also aim at addressing all aspects of the problem, including opium cultivation, drug processing, trafficking and abuse.

The problem resides as much on the supply side as on the demand side. Insecurity in Afghanistan, which I referred to earlier, and the collapse of the economic infrastructure in that country, giving rise to widespread unemployment and lack of economic activities, are among the main problems that should be addressed on the supply side. Thus, Afghan reconstruction should get effectively under way. Crop substitution requires a credit system. Afghan drug law enforcement should be trained, equipped and financed. These are some of the measures that are required on the supply side. Obviously, the Afghan Administration, as a newly constituted entity, simply cannot single-handedly carry out all these measures and thus requires wide-ranging assistance.

Combating drug trafficking requires assisting the transit countries so as to enable them to build the necessary capacity to intercept narcotic shipments. They need assistance in a variety of areas, such as information and intelligence sharing, and new detecting and communication methods and technologies. And there should be no doubt that addressing the problem at the source and in transit countries is much cheaper for the destination countries.

However, it is obvious that, without successful efforts on the demand side with a view to considerably reducing demand, the fight against traffickers cannot come to fruition. As long as the prospect of huge windfalls persists, it will continue to be very difficult to put an end to the deadly business of drug trafficking. Undoubtedly, the possible decrease in supply as a result of actions in the source and transit countries leads only to an increase in the price of drugs, thus creating stronger motivation for growers and traffickers.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a neighbour of Afghanistan, is the primary transit route for narcotics to the West and, at the same time, has itself become a destination country. Therefore, we have always attached paramount importance to fighting drug trafficking and urged the international community to join hands in this endeavour. As recognized in the latest report of the Secretary-General, Iran addresses the problem at the source by providing resources for labour-intensive public works and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. Moreover, we have provided assistance to the Afghan Government in a variety of ways, including investing in crop substitution, training Afghan law enforcement officers in Iran, training and equipping Afghan law enforcement offices in five Afghan provinces, and building 25 sentry posts for the Afghan Government. According to our estimates, the total value of Iran’s contribution to various projects for the reconstruction of Afghanistan exceeded $68 million as of March 2003.

My country has paid a very heavy human and material toll in its fight against drug trafficking. As a result, Iran has always had by far the largest number of overall global drug seizures. And as Iran is a destination country, its agencies are implementing various initiatives to tackle drug abuse. The international community can always count on our readiness to effectively contribute to the global combat against traffic in narcotics.

The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of Greece. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Vassilakis (Greece)

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union (EU). The acceding countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia; the associated countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey; as well as the European Free Trade Association country member of the European Economic Area, Iceland, declare that they align themselves with this statement.

Despite the remarkable progress that has been achieved in Afghanistan since the Bonn Agreement, significant challenges remain. The European Union commends the efforts made so far by President Karzai’s Government to implement the Agreement and stands firm in its commitment to assist the Afghan Administration to this end. We also support the United Nations, and in particular Mr. Brahimi, in their important tasks in that country. In this respect, there is also a special role for the Special Representative of the EU in Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell.

Nevertheless, a lot remains to be done to ensure viable and lasting peace and security. Post-conflict resolution always represents a tremendous challenge, and even more so in Afghanistan, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been through over 20 years of war, strife and natural disaster. It is essential that the international community fully participate in the economic and institutional reconstruction of the country and fully support the political process that underlies the reconstruction. The signing of the Kabul Declaration On Good-neighbourly Relations in December last year also emphasized the importance of peaceful and constructive regional cooperation.

The lack of security continues to be an issue of grave concern. We deplore the loss of lives, such as that suffered recently by two European countries, Spain and Germany, in the conduct of the activities of their troops under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

As a contribution to this vital sector, many EU member States play a key role in the deployment of ISAF, the bulk of which is comprised of troops from the EU countries and which has significantly improved the security situation in and around Kabul. European Union member States are also actively participating in efforts to reform the Afghan security sector through the strengthening of the Afghan national army and police, including anti-narcotic units and border police, as well as judicial training and reform. Security sector reform, including the restructuring of the Ministries of Defence and Interior and the intelligence agencies, is of the utmost importance for the viability of the forthcoming disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, which is to begin in July 2003.

Another important challenge is making newly and already established institutions work in an efficient, transparent and accountable manner and to expand their influence to the provinces. The European Union has a long-term commitment to assist in the creation of a viable Afghan State based on democracy, the rule of law and universal standards of human rights, including women’s rights. To this end, the European Union underlines its support for the work of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

In this regard, it is noted that the future viability of the Afghan State will to a large degree depend on its Government’s being broad-based and fully representative and recognized as such by a majority of the Afghan people. The impending Constitutional Loya Jirga process, which will lead to a new constitution being adopted in October, and the national elections to be held at the latest in June 2004, will be of fundamental importance to the political future of Afghanistan. The European Union stresses the importance it attaches to the preparations for the new Afghan constitution and the holding of full and democratic elections in Afghanistan, as set out in the Bonn Agreement. This new Afghan Constitution should be the cornerstone for the development of such a democratic Afghan society. The European Union strongly supports the role of the United Nations in the preparations for the elections and underlines that it is important that the process leading towards these elections be sustained.

The European Union is fully committed to delivering a substantial contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, having been one of the key donors from the very beginning of the process. The total EU commitment for 2002 — that of member States plus the Commission — was about 850 million euros. To date, 800 million euros have been disbursed. European Union pledges for 2002-2006 are $2.25 billion, or approximately 45 per cent of the total pledges made at the January 2002 donor conference in Tokyo. The EU has funded approximately one third of the current budget expenses of the Afghan Government, thereby directly supporting the budget for teachers, nurses, police, administrators and Government infrastructure.

European Union Member States have taken leading roles in crucial areas of administrative and technical assistance. The European Commission has also provided technical recovery and reconstruction assistance, with emphasis on public sector reform and budgetary support, rural development and food security, rebuilding infrastructure, in particular the Kabul-Jalalabad-Torkham road and basic health care.

The European Union notes the serious lack of funds for the budget and urges donors to consider ways of filling the gap, including delivery in a timely manner of pledges made in Tokyo. The Union encourages the allocation of development aid in a way that strengthens the role of the central government and ensures that a visible peace dividend reaches the entire Afghan population as soon as possible.

In addition to its leading role in the reconstruction effort, the European Union is a major source of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. European Union contributions through 2002 total $650 million and span programmes from food aid — through the World Food Programme, to emergency health, water and sanitation services — through the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.

Besides the immediate tasks of stabilization and reconstruction, one of the key aims of European Union assistance to Afghanistan is to improve availability and access to food and to promote alternatives to poppy production. The European Union strongly believes that drug production and trafficking undermine development efforts, destabilize political systems, engender corruption, fuel organized crime and might even finance terrorist activities. The smuggling of opiates and cannabis undermines the economic and social stability of countries and jeopardizes peace and security in the region as a whole.

We are committed to coordinating our assistance with the United Kingdom, which is leading international counter-narcotics efforts to support the Government of Afghanistan in eliminating the cultivation, processing and trafficking of opiates. We also recognize that international efforts to tackle the drug problem involve both development concerns and priorities, demand reduction and the strengthening of law enforcement capabilities. We should also focus on the drug routes, since the drug fight must be geographically comprehensive and address simultaneously the problems of production, trafficking and consumption at all points on the routes along which drugs move from producers to consumers.

We stress the need for intensified cooperation with the Government of Afghanistan in implementing the Afghan National Drug Control Strategy. We should also assist in transforming Afghanistan’s economy into a normally functioning one, away from drugs. Mainstreaming of the drug fight into coherent and sustainable development policies in producing and trafficking countries should be a priority. Drugs must be dealt with as part of a broader set of development and human welfare issues, which should include both poverty reduction and public health considerations.

Lastly, the international community needs to redouble its efforts to assist the Afghan Government in carrying out its commitment to uphold international law and offer its long-suffering people a better future.

The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of Japan.

Mr. Haraguchi (Japan)

Mr. President, thank you for convening this meeting focusing on the security situation and drug control issues in Afghanistan.

Despite the measures taken by both the Government of Afghanistan and the international community to eradicate the poppy crops, it is anticipated that, again in 2003, Afghanistan will be the world’s largest opium producer. This means that a large amount of drugs will be illicitly exported from Afghanistan, resulting in many criminal actions and a huge number of victims in various parts of the world. In addition, it means that the restoration of public security and the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan will be jeopardized. Poppy cultivation and the drug business enrich provincial warlords and provide them with bases from which to challenge the authority of the central Government. This is a very grave problem. We need to have effective counter-narcotics measures that will contribute to the establishment of the authority of the central Government by undermining the financial foundation of the warlords, thereby contributing to the improvement of security and the consolidation of peace.

In this regard, I would like to make the following points. First, we strongly support the 10-year National Drug Control Strategy set out by the Government of Afghanistan. We also welcome the initiative of the United Kingdom, as the lead nation in this effort. Successful drug control depends not only on effective programmes for growers and on capacity-building for law enforcement, but also on the reduction of poverty, because poverty can often lead to drug problems. In order to improve the overall economic situation of the country, especially in rural areas, which we believe will help to enable farmers to overcome their dependence on poppy cultivation, Japan, for its part, is steadily implementing a Comprehensive Regional Development Plan — the so-called Ogata Initiative. Under this plan, projects are being carried out in such spheres as income generation, medical care, sanitation and capacity-building for education and labour-intensive infrastructure rehabilitation.

Secondly, in addition to promoting poppy eradication and combating the drug trade within Afghanistan, it is also necessary to address the problems from a regional perspective. The drugs produced in Afghanistan are illicitly exported by land to markets abroad. It is, therefore, essential for the neighbouring States to effectively control their borders and cut off the trade route within their territory. We commend the various initiatives and measures taken in this regard by neighbouring States, such as Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan. Japan has supported and contributed to the activities of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in these countries.

Thirdly, the control of all drugs must be strengthened globally. Unless the supply and demand for drugs is controlled worldwide, it will be impossible to control the trafficking of drugs. What is required, therefore, are more thorough exchanges of information among customs authorities and greater cooperation among law enforcement and investigative agencies.

Fourthly, as I mentioned at the outset, drugs affect public security; it stands to reason, then, that measures to enhance public security will also lead to effective counter-narcotics measures. In this sense, success in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, as well as the establishment of a credible Afghan national army and police force, will enhance the effectiveness of drug control efforts.

In this context, I wish to underscore the importance of support for the DDR process, which President Karzai announced will start on 22 June. It is encouraging that he has also committed himself to completing the disarmament and demobilization process by the time the election is held in June of next year. Japan and the United Nations are taking the lead in this process and are making great efforts to ensure its success. Among the challenges we are facing are: ensuring the neutrality of the mobile disarmament unit; establishing an international verification system; ensuring public security; reforming the Ministry of Defence; and strengthening the reintegration project. We highly appreciate the cooperation of the countries that have sent, or are ready to send, provisional reconstruction teams to the provinces. We urge the international community to extend full cooperation to the DDR process, which is indispensable for the improvement of the overall public security situation throughout the country, for the consolidation of the peace process and for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

As other new, urgent issues come up in other areas, such as Iraq and the Middle East, there is concern over the tendency for the international community’s attention to be distracted from Afghanistan. But we should be aware that failure to secure the peace in that country could seriously affect the peace process in other areas, as well. Now, as the peace process in Afghanistan approaches an extremely delicate stage, with the forthcoming Constitutional Loya Jirga and the election next year, the public security situation remains very precarious. Our support for the peace process must not consist simply of gestures made at those times when the situation in Afghanistan is the focus of world attention. We must honour the commitments we have made until a free, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan is achieved.

The President

The next speaker inscribed on my list is the representative of Ukraine. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine)

I would like, first of all, to congratulate you, Sir, in your capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of June. Let me also express our sincere compliments to your predecessor, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, for his excellent leadership of the Council during the month of May.

I wish to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to you, Mr. President, for organizing this public debate. My delegation expresses its gratitude to Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, for their comprehensive, substantive and timely reports on the issue. I reiterate the full readiness of my Government to extend to them all possible support and assistance in their complicated work.

The normalization of the situation in Afghanistan and Afghanistan’s reintegration into the community of nations as a united, sovereign, stable, predictable and peaceful State living in harmony with its neighbours are essential prerequisites for regional stability and security. Ukraine welcomes the progress made since the Bonn Agreement and the commitment of the Afghan Transitional Administration to set clear priorities for the recovery and reconstruction of the country and to prepare for holding general elections in mid-2004. We also pledge our support for President Karzai’s efforts aimed at promoting national reconciliation, establishing new army and law enforcement structures and rehabilitating the national economy.

At the same time, we remain deeply concerned over the difficulties still confronting the country, particularly in the field of internal security. Positive developments such as the public consultations in the constitution-making process, the latest decision by the National Security Council to remit all customs receipts to the central Government, progress towards the national census and judicial and administrative reforms could be undermined by the lack of security and by the continued unwillingness of local chiefs to disarm and to submit to the central Government.

Ukraine is seriously concerned by the escalation of subversive and terrorist activities and strongly condemns all acts of violence and intimidation directed against United Nations and humanitarian personnel. I extend our sincere sympathy for those killed in the attacks and express our condolences to the bereaved families.

The Afghan Transitional Administration, with the support of the United Nations, should take urgent measures to improve the security situation, which remains the only condition for allowing the re-establishment of the rule of law, ensuring the protection of human rights, promoting reconstruction efforts and facilitating the success of the complex political processes. In that regard, in our view, special priority should also be given to another important part of security sector reform: the implementation of the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) announced by President Karzai, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks. We commend the leading role of the United Nations, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada in providing necessary contributions for the development and implementation of the DDR programmes.

One of the most alarming factors creating insecurity and dangerous challenges to the institution-building efforts and to the rule of law in Afghanistan is the narcotics threat. Moreover, organized crime and illicit trafficking in and abuse of drugs and psychotropic substances are becoming the most serious threats to economic prosperity and political stability in many countries of the world. The link between narcotic drug trafficking and other serious phenomena such as terrorism, money-laundering and smuggling should not be ignored.

It is evident that no individual State can address those challenges alone. They can be addressed only through concerted, coordinated and effective action by the international community as a whole. The further strengthening of the role of the United Nations, as a powerful instrument in developing international cooperation to combat narcotic drug threats, is extremely important and necessary.

Ukraine supports full implementation of the Afghan national drug strategy and the Paris Pact proposed by the United Nations during the conference on drug routes from Afghanistan held at the initiative of the French. Undoubtedly, the success of the Afghan Administration in combating drugs is dependent on the success of the peace process as a whole. The only way to remove the drug dependence of drug crop farmers is by providing them with alternative livelihoods, with skills to engage in other economic activities and with markets where they can sell their output.

In that connection, Ukraine supports proposals to develop, under the aegis of the United Nations, an international strategy of complex counteraction against narcotic drugs originating in Afghanistan.

Security, good governance and reconstruction are the most critical problems confronting Afghanistan. The Government of Ukraine expresses its readiness for efficient collaboration with the United Nations, as well as at the bilateral level, with the Transitional Administration, to achieve the goals outlined by the Bonn Agreement, the Security Council and United Nations bodies and agencies.

The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of India. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Gopinathan (India)

We extend our warm felicitations to you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of June. The Security Council and the general membership of the United Nations will benefit greatly from your adroit stewardship of the Council at a time when complex and sensitive issues remain on the Council’s agenda.

Most appropriately, you have chosen to hold a public debate on the situation in Afghanistan as the highlight of your presidency. Despite the scale and complexity of diverse problems it faces, Afghanistan, under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai, has made impressive progress in addressing the tasks of nation-building, political reconciliation and reconstruction of the economy. It is, however, critical that the United Nations remain fully engaged in monitoring and supporting developments in this vital part of the world.

We understand that while the focus of deliberations today is on the problem of drugs in Afghanistan, the debate has been left open to a consideration of some of the other pressing issues involving the country.

Let me first address the issue of drugs in Afghanistan. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has, in its report of February 2003 entitled “The opium economy in Afghanistan: an international problem”, drawn attention to the serious situation that has been brought about by a rampant increase in drug cultivation and the threat it represents to Afghanistan and the international community. Years of instability, internal strife, mismanagement by the Taliban and complicity within certain quarters of the country and outside have contributed to the current situation whereby Afghanistan has emerged as the world’s largest producer of illicit opium, accounting for almost three quarters of global opium production. The report highlights that over the last two decades, Afghanistan’s opium production has increased more than 15-fold, with production in 2002 at 3,400 tons.

As the report indicates, Afghanistan’s opium economy is not a country-wide phenomenon, but is limited to a few provinces that have continued to defy the opium ban issued by President Karzai in January 2002. Almost 80 per cent of all opium production in Afghanistan is confined to provinces along the southern and south-eastern borders of Afghanistan. This small area is the origin of almost three quarters of the heroin sold in Europe and virtually all of the heroin in the Russian Federation.

Drugs account for as much as 18 per cent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. The UNODC report has sought to emphasize that the problem of drugs in Afghanistan can be traced to its socio-economic roots. The phenomenon needs to be tackled at a multifaceted level, involving comprehensive action providing for accelerated development in the provinces concerned, increasing literacy and employment opportunities and alternative crop cultivation options for opium farms. However, none of those medium- to long-term solutions can be achieved without facilitating a basic environment of security and stability.

Discussions at the Paris Conference on drug routes from Central Asia to Europe, held from 21 to 23 May 2003, highlighted the nexus between drug trafficking and financing of terrorism, and reinforced the requirement for an urgent, swift and coordinated response to the problem. That this form of narco-terrorism has often been State-sponsored or assisted by unrestrained agents of State authority have not made it any easier to control.

India welcomes the efforts made by President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan Transitional Administration to implement the decrees prohibiting the cultivation, production and processing of opium, including illicit drug-trafficking and abuse. This is a qualitative step forward from the Taliban regime that banned production with the intention of inflating prices. To that end, the Taliban not only failed to eliminate the large accumulated stockpiles of opium and heroin under its control, but also allowed de facto trade in narcotics to continue. President Karzai has indicated his Government’s seriousness in addressing this issue. His decision has to be supported through the will of the international community.

India welcomes the significant contribution by UNODC and the United Nations Drug Control Programme, as well as individual States, to counter the threat of drugs in Afghanistan. The Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the sixth meeting of the India-Russia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan, on 28 March 2003, expressed concern over the increased production of narcotic drugs in Afghanistan and their illegal trafficking, and emphasized the need for the development of a comprehensive strategy, with an appropriate key United Nations role in the process. India recognizes that most of these projects are long-term, but vital in the elimination of drugs on a sustainable basis.

In the statement on Afghanistan made in the General Assembly on 6 December 2002, India expressed deep concern over reports of an increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and the fact that the momentum for putting in place an anti-narcotics strategy had faltered. We emphasized the role of the international community in supporting Afghanistan in its drive to combat drug cultivation and trade and the efforts required to extend development plans to different parts of the country.

In India’s view, given the seriousness of the situation — its dimensions and implications within and outside Afghanistan — there is a pressing need to tackle the issue on an immediate basis to supplement other long-term programmes under implementation or consideration. Some essential components in such a strategy could include the allocation of more resources for the affected parts of the country to bolster ongoing security efforts; enhancement of the capacity of the Afghan Government to enforce its ban on opium cultivation, production and trafficking; identification and elimination of the chain of trans-border criminals and their supporters involved in the supply and sale of drugs, drug-related money laundering, arms supply, terrorism and illegal immigration; greater cooperation among the countries concerned on information-sharing, legal and judicial matters, including the extradition of drug offenders wanted in other countries and interdiction efforts; and a strong crackdown on the warlords concerned and external actors involved in the facilitation of this illegal trade.

India has fully supported international efforts aimed at the reconstruction and emergence of Afghanistan as a peaceful, strong, prosperous, united and independent nation. We have noted carefully the progress achieved in the implementation of the provisions of the Bonn Agreement and the coordination of various international efforts aimed at rehabilitation and reconstruction. The agreement reached in May 2003 to enable the Afghan Administration to centralize revenue collection is an important step towards the development of an independent resource base and should be adequately supported by the parties concerned. India fully supports the broad-based Government led by President Hamid Karzai and appreciates his committed efforts at promoting national reconciliation.

It is towards this end that India has extended an assistance package amounting to over $170 million to Afghanistan. This includes a recent commitment of $70 million to upgrade and reconstruct a key arterial road linking Delaram in Afghanistan to port facilities in Iran. We have also trained about 500 Afghan nationals in disciplines ranging from law enforcement, journalism and civil aviation to the judiciary, diplomacy and agriculture. Unfortunately, transit-related difficulties prevented the supply of India’s gift of a million tons of wheat to Afghanistan. However, a portion of the wheat was converted into high-protein biscuits for the children’s school feeding programme and is understood to be sufficient to meet the requirements of one million Afghan schoolchildren for a period of six months. We intend to build further on this.

Security remains the most serious challenge to the process of peace-building and economic reconstruction in Afghanistan. Reports of increasing instability in Afghanistan due to the deteriorating security situation need to be addressed firmly and resolutely by the international community before matters run out of control. We extend our sincere condolences to the Government and people of Germany for the loss of 4 soldiers during the recent terrorist attack in Kabul. This incident, taken in conjunction with several other recent security-related developments, such as the killing of the employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross in March this year, highlights the increasing need for the international community to address the threats to regional peace and stability emanating from terrorist activity in the region.

This escalation can be directly attributed to the increasingly emboldened subversive and terrorist activity by elements hostile to the Afghan Government, including Taliban remnants, Al Qaeda and their accomplices, and their efforts to regroup with supporters from outside. Ambassador Brahimi, in his last briefing to the Council, on 6 May, expressed concern over reports of hostile elements crossing into Afghanistan over its eastern and southern borders. More recent incidents have shown that infiltrations by terrorist and extremist groups from those areas into Afghanistan have targeted international aid workers and coalition forces in a clear design to sabotage efforts aimed at national reconciliation through political and economic processes. Serious international efforts would need to be directed against that threat.

Mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan constitute crucial elements in the search for the return of peace and stability to that country. It is therefore vital that signatory States adhere to their commitments outlined under the Kabul Declaration on Good-neighbourly Relations signed on 22 December 2002. One way to ensure this would be to entrust the Secretary-General with the role of monitoring adherence by concerned States to the Declaration. The Afghan Government could also provide valuable information towards any monitoring mechanism set up in that regard.

Another measure to facilitate a more secure environment in Afghanistan would be to proceed rapidly forward on the development of indigenous security structures as a guarantee towards the long-term unity and stability of the country. That process needs to be carried out in a calibrated manner without weakening current resources and strength. At the same time, disarmament and demobilization processes should continue forward.

We are at a delicate crossroads in the process of forming a stable and secure Afghanistan. It is therefore vital that the international community continue to engage with the same intensity in the task of rehabilitating Afghanistan from the dark ages under the Taliban yoke to the light of a new century under a stable, democratic order. Referring to the responsibilities of the international community in this regard, the Minister for External Affairs of India stated recently that “the forces of terror, the forces of darkness, the forces of obscurantism and extremism will not be allowed to cast their long shadows over the future of the people” of Afghanistan. For this, the international community needs to persevere with commitment, solidarity and generosity.

The President

The next speaker 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.

Mr. McIvor (New Zealand)

We would first like to thank the Council for providing this opportunity to discuss a peace and security issue of major international importance. New Zealand places a high priority on contributing to efforts by the international community to assist in the restoration of Afghanistan, to establish security and to rebuild society. We see the role of the United Nations, through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), as very important in this process.

We received two briefings this morning, on the overall situation in Afghanistan and on the challenges posed by drug cultivation and trafficking. Mr. Costa’s excellent briefing was a stark reminder of the inter-relationships among economic, political and security factors contributing to ongoing instability. Addressing the drug economy is a necessary first step in countering a range of illegal activities. The links among drugs, the authority of the central Government, its ability to implement key milestones in the Bonn Agreement and broader security continue to present major challenges. We are very appreciative of the efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and those Member States making significant contributions to drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan.

Turning to the situation in Afghanistan as a whole, it has been heartening to see the achievements of the transitional Government since last year. The establishment of a Constitutional Commission and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the return to school of almost 6 million children and the absorption of 1.7 million refugees back into communities are all positive developments. We encourage further progress on the key milestones contained in the Bonn Agreement, particularly in the lead-up to national elections scheduled for next year.

We have been concerned at the recent attacks on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul. They reinforce the importance of strengthening national security institutions and providing support to the ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In addition to providing personnel to ISAF and supporting Operation Enduring Freedom since late 2001, the New Zealand Government recently announced a further contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. New Zealand will contribute to one of the provincial reconstruction teams that are working with the Afghan provisional Government to expand its influence outside Kabul, enhance the security environment, promote the reconstruction effort, and monitor and assess civil, political and military reform efforts through community engagement. If it proves to be within our capability, that contribution will extend to leading a provincial reconstruction team. This will be complemented by the deployment of New Zealand Defence Force personnel to work with a British team providing command and leadership training to the Afghan national army in Kabul.

New Zealand is very aware of the need to achieve tangible improvements in the quality of life of Afghan people, while also making longer-term investments in building capacity, through reconstruction and development activities. These considerations have informed our contribution to humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

In conclusion, there remains a vital need for the international community to reassure Afghanistan’s Government and people that we intend to remain engaged in security and humanitarian assistance efforts to restore their country.

The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of Colombia. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Giraldo (Colombia)

Allow me to begin by congratulating you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of June.

The delegation of Colombia expresses its solidarity with the Afghan people, victims of the endemic violence and religious extremism that have undermined their basic rights. The Colombian people too has endured violence generated by illegal armed and violent groups that persist in sowing terror and death in order to cause anarchy and prevent the economic and social development to which all the peoples of the world are entitled.

Colombia, which has been waging a relentless war against illicit drugs and terrorism, notes with particular concern that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached such high levels in 2002. We know first-hand the arduous task facing the Afghan authorities in eradicating these illicit crops, since for many years we have made major efforts and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in eradicating these crops from our country. In 2002, we succeeded in reversing the upward trend in these crops, which for the first time in history dropped by 30 per cent.

The international community recognizes the global problem of drugs and related crime as one of the most serious scourges on humanity today and as an immense challenge. Along with the public health problem that is caused by the consumption of illicit drugs, with its tragic consequences for the family and society, there is also the huge danger that this problem poses to international security. Illicit drugs, money-laundering and the illicit trafficking in arms are the effective tripod of international crime. Actions to confront this that have been taken by countries most affected have proved inadequate when the entire international community does not commit itself to destroying every one of these elements through international cooperation.

The global problems of drugs and terrorism are increasingly inter-linked, since terrorist groups not only avail themselves of the copious resources generated by the growing demand for drugs, but also participate directly in that perverse business. What has happened in recent years in Afghanistan demonstrates that. In fact, extremist groups have been strengthened financially by the proceeds of the alarming expansion of illicit cultivation in that country and the resulting opium trafficking, mainly to Europe.

For that reason, we welcome the fact that today, the Security Council will adopt a presidential statement in which the links between these two problems are acknowledged and the danger that these activities represent for Afghanistan, its neighbours and the entire world is highlighted. We also welcome the appeal made to neighbouring countries and the international community to intensify their cooperation with regard to security and control of trafficking in drugs, their precursors and related crimes such as money-laundering. We acknowledge the work of the countries that assisted Afghanistan in its struggle against drug trafficking, and we stress the need to continue and intensify that work. We join in the call to reduce the world-wide consumption of these substances and to offer Afghan farmers alternative development programmes with markets open to their products.

The General Assembly and the Security Council itself have repeatedly acknowledged the links between international terrorism and drug trafficking. In the fight against those serious phenomena, the international community must resolutely shoulder its commitment, in conformity with the principle of shared responsibility. The global drug problem has transcended the public health and police spheres, having become a matter of national security owing to its grave impact on the social, economic and political stability of nations.

As a representative of a nation that has been a victim of the perverse alliance between terrorism and trafficking in illicit drugs, I should like to deliver to the Council — which, I recognize, is much wiser than my words — a warning derived from experience. Terrorists do not share our values. For them, trafficking in illicit drugs is only an effective means of financing their actions. Therefore, we cannot yield in our commitment to containing all possible sources of terrorist financing through, inter alia, the strengthening of our legislative systems, effective banking controls and adequate exchange of information at the international level.

In Colombia, the deadly alliance between terrorism and trafficking in illicit drugs has become obvious. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) — a guerrilla group that says it fights, for political causes — initially confronted illicit-drug trafficking organizations and soon proceeded to coexist with them and to protect their crops and laboratories in exchange for payment in cash or in kind — generally weapons. Later, it became involved in illicit cultivation, even going so far as to process coca leaves in order to produce basic paste. Currently, FARC is refining the paste and shipping cocaine to consumer destinations.

So we must bear in mind that terrorists’ association with and participation in illicit drug trafficking are virtually inevitable, will increase with time and will make the task of strangling terrorism at its economic sources even more difficult.

All of the forms and manifestations of terrorism are equally dangerous to international peace and security. All terrorists share related objectives and means. They are opposed to democracy, human rights, tolerance, the peaceful settlement of disputes and freedom of thought and expression, among other intangible values. That is why their objectives are very similar throughout the world, and that is why their enemies are all of us who agree on the absolute need to defend those values.

As the United Nations tackled the terrorism of Al Qaeda with swiftness and resolve, it now has the obligation to take up the fight — for which humanity will be grateful — against all of terrorism’s forms and manifestations, which constitute grave threats to international peace and security. Therefore, my delegation reaffirms Colombia’s commitment to the direct struggle against terrorism and welcomes any initiative that will help to eradicate that scourge. In that connection, we note with great interest the initiative recently presented in this Chamber by the President of the Government of Spain — a proposal that could bring about the updating of resolution 1373 (2001) with a view to broadening the scope of its provisions and thus tightening even further the net that the international community is stretching around all those who have made violence and terror a way of life.

The President

The next speaker is the representative of Norway. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Kolby (Norway)

Today, the international spotlight is not on Afghanistan. However, it is of crucial importance that we not lose focus on Afghanistan. Remarkable progress has been achieved since the Bonn Agreement, but there is still much to do before we can ensure viable and lasting peace and security.

Norway believes that the United Nations should be a key actor in the reconstruction process in post-conflict environments. We therefore fully support the integrated approach of the United Nations in Afghanistan. In effect, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has succeeded in taking an appropriate assisting role — as opposed to a leadership role — in the development process. We also stand fully behind the work of Mr. Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, and are very pleased to note the excellent relations that have grown out of the cooperation between the Afghan Transitional Administration and the Special Representative.

Norway is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. The difficult security situation — which led to the tragic death of four German members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to the assassination of a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross and to several recent attacks on civilian aid workers — is undermining the possibility of providing humanitarian assistance throughout the country. ISAF is crucial in maintaining stability and security in the Kabul area. Norway will continue to participate both in that operation and in Operation Enduring Freedom.

We are convinced that, in the long run, successful implementation of an Afghan-led security sector reform is essential in order to ensure positive political and economic development in Afghanistan with the assistance of the international community. We have noted with interest the ongoing discussions on establishing provincial reconstruction teams in order to increase security in Afghanistan. The concerns raised regarding a confusion of roles between those teams and civilian aid workers need to closely looked at. The expanding drug economy is also a threat to peace and stability, not only in Afghanistan, but also in the region as a whole.

Narcotics are rightly described as a cancer, and excising that cancer is vital for our societies. Norway appreciates that President Hamid Karzai is firmly committed to carrying out this fight in Afghanistan in cooperation with the international community. It is a fight that requires a multidimensional approach and the United Kingdom’s efforts as the lead nation of donors involved in counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan are highly commendable.

The Bonn Agreement spells out an ambitious timetable for the adoption of a new constitution that should safeguard the interests of all Afghan women and men. In this regard, it is vital that the Afghan people actively take part in an open consultation process as soon as possible. Norway supports this process through the Constitutional Commission and by supporting non-governmental organizations that facilitate consultations with the population on grass-roots levels.

Afghans have a right to choose their own leaders. This is clearly recognized in the Bonn Agreement. A prerequisite for free and fair elections is a security situation in which people feel free to express their views without fear of intimidation or persecution. The United Nations agreement to play a key role in preparing the elections is welcome and needed.

Significant progress in clarifying relations between the central Government and the provinces has been achieved lately, especially as regards customs and tax revenue. We strongly support the Afghan Transitional Administration in its efforts to control domestic revenue collection.

Afghanistan is one of the major recipients of Norwegian development assistance. Norway has pledged $53 million in assistance to Afghanistan in 2003. So far, about 80 per cent has been disbursed or committed. Norway has a long-term perspective on its commitment to Afghanistan.

It is essential that the international community honour the pledges made at the Afghanistan Development Forum in March this year and disburse funding fully and as quickly as possible. Norway is a strong supporter of joint financing mechanisms, such as the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). In order to strengthen the Afghan Transitional Administration, it is important that the large donors also support the Afghan national budget through the ARTF.

Norway is very pleased that the Afghan authorities have taken the leadership in donor coordination through the establishment of the Consultative Group mechanism. At the same time, we emphasize the continued need for flexible and independent humanitarian action.

There is a real risk that the Bonn process will stall if security is not extended to the provinces. Peace, stability and economic development can be achieved only through a prolonged commitment from the international community in Afghanistan. Security is the most essential condition for positive development.

The President

The next speaker on my list is the representative of Uzbekistan. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Vohidov (Uzbekistan)

Recent events have provided irrefutable proof of the link between international terrorism and the drug trade that fuels it. The activities of the narco-mafia are closely connected to arms smuggling, trafficking in humans and money-laundering, all of which not only represent an economic and social threat, but are also a direct challenge to the security of States.

The issue of illicit drug trafficking is of concern to all — both to countries on drug-supply routes and to those where the drugs are primarily consumed. We have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that transit through Central Asian countries is growing day by day and that this increases drug abuse not only in Central Asia, but also far beyond it.

With respect to drug transit through the territories of the countries of Central Asia, we must recognize the incontrovertible connection of this scourge to the problem of opiate culture and production in neighbouring Afghanistan. Unfortunately, we must note that the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan is not ebbing. Moreover, in the northern regions of Afghanistan, major new underground heroin laboratories are being created with the support of international drug groups. All of this demonstrates the serious intentions of the narco-businessmen who have chosen to send their products through Central Asian countries.

We therefore firmly support the notion that the problem of drug production and trafficking in Afghanistan, in particular through the territory of Central Asian countries, must remain a priority item on the agenda of the international community and that the success of international efforts to enhance stability and security in Afghanistan will depend to a critical degree on the success of the war on drugs.

In this connection, I am pleased to emphasize the contribution of the Government of Afghanistan in combating the production and trafficking of narcotics. We welcome the establishment of the Counter-Narcotics Department of the Afghan National Security Council. In emphasizing the great significance of the measures undertaken by the Government of Afghanistan, we would draw particular attention to the critical importance of the international community’s assistance to the Afghan Administration and the newly created Afghan structures to combat narcotics.

As a positive step towards resolving the challenges of and countering the drug trade, I note the launching of a new project to provide urgent assistance to Uzbekistan in reopening operations at the Termez-Hayraton checkpoint on the Uzbek-Afghan border. As members of the Council know, Hayraton is a key point along the international arterial trade route linking Afghanistan to Central Asia. It is very actively used by criminal drug groups for the illicit transit of most drug supplies from Afghanistan.

In the past few years, the law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Uzbekistan have seized more than 50 tons of narcotic substances in transit, predominantly transported by car or train. In the other direction, into Afghanistan, they have seized 72 tons of the illicit precursor acetic anhydride. We are convinced that assistance in supplying the checkpoints along the 156-kilometre Uzbek-Afghan border with state-of-the art equipment will enhance the effectiveness of monitoring freight entering and leaving Afghanistan. This will be of benefit not only to the countries of Central Asia, but also to any State where there is an inflow of illicit drugs from that country.

In combating drugs, Uzbekistan has enjoyed positive cooperation from international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the World Customs Organization and Interpol. I wish to express my deep gratitude for the work carried out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and its regional offices. Uzbekistan attaches great significance to programmes carried out by these and other organizations, such as the Organization of Central Asian Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Unfortunately, however, we must note that the many programmes that have been implemented under the auspices of various international organizations and those measures that we can take to counter the drug threat in the Central Asian region are poorly coordinated and inadequately resourced, financially and logistically. We believe that we need, in the place of these patchwork programmes, one centralized, clear, strong, well-planned system of preventive and pre-emptive measures aimed at eliminating, first and foremost, the very sources of this terrible threat.

In that connection, I take this opportunity once again to raise the issue of establishing a Tashkent regional clearing house to combat transborder crime, one of the major priorities of which would be combating drugs. This initiative was first put forwarded by President Karimov of the Republic of Uzbekistan during Secretary-General Annan’s visit to Uzbekistan in October 2002. We hope for the support of the United Nations and donor countries in implementing that initiative.

We are hopeful that today’s meeting will promote invigoration of the fight against illegal drugs and consolidate the efforts of all countries in halting and eradicating this scourge. Narco-violence, one of the dangerous challenges to humankind, can be stopped only if we coordinate our efforts throughout the international community.

The President

The next speaker is the representative of the Philippines. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Manalo (Philippines)

Sir, it is my pleasure to address this important meeting under your presidency. We are more than confident that the Council will have a productive month under your delegation’s stewardship. We also wish to commend the delegation of Pakistan and Ambassador Munir Akram for its active and excellent presidency last month.

We welcome the Russian presidency’s initiative to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in order to sustain the international community’s continuing commitment to Afghanistan. My delegation also appreciates the briefings given earlier today by Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and Mr. Antonio Maria Costa on the drug situation in Afghanistan.

Eighteen months after the historic meeting in Bonn, the international community continues to support the rebuilding of Afghanistan and its integration into the international community as a free and democratic country. In that span of time, we have witnessed significant strides in the implementation of the Bonn agenda, specifically, the convening of the Loya Jirga, the establishment of the Transitional Government under President Karzai, the creation of a national currency and the establishment of the Afghan national army. As we speak today, consultations on a draft constitution and preparations for the convening of the Constitutional Loya Jirga in October this year to pave the way for the elections in June 2004 are under way.

My delegation notes that the Afghan reconstruction process is on course; this is a tribute to the efforts of the international community, particularly to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the major actors who are taking the lead in key areas, such as narcotics — the United Nations; police reform — Germany; establishment of the rule of law — Italy; strengthening of the Afghan national army — France and the United States; and security through the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under the commands of the United Kingdom, Turkey and, now, Germany and the Netherlands. Japan’s contribution to the reconstruction efforts is also noteworthy.

However, the task of rebuilding Afghanistan is far from complete. Establishing security and reconstructing the economy and infrastructure of a country devastated by war for more than two decades requires a sustained commitment, going beyond what has so far been in place, and going beyond compassionate rhetoric.

In recent months, the Afghan people have been manifesting their growing restlessness and a measure of disappointment over the seeming lack of progress in their country and in their daily lives. Peace dividends have not touched the lives of many Afghans. At the same time, the Taliban is now waging conflict in the southern part of the country, to the detriment of reconstruction projects. Poppy cultivation has increased. While we note the progress in the channelling of revenues to the central Government, warlords or regional chieftains continue to undermine the authority of the central Government, especially in the provinces. One effective means for addressing the problem of the warlords would be to strengthen disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) measures. We thus welcome Japan’s efforts in that regard.

It is disquieting that poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was again on the rise last year despite the issuance of decrees banning such cultivation. It may be recalled that opium cultivation in Afghanistan declined by 91 per cent in 2001 compared to the previous year, which resulted in a corresponding drop in global poppy cultivation by about 30 per cent, according to the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. However, figures now indicate that poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached approximately 3,500 tons in 2002, leading to a fivefold to tenfold increase in income derived from opium and heroin trafficking.

Thus, while efforts to curtail poppy cultivation are important, it should also be emphasized that a root cause of the dependence on such cultivation is the lack of alternative productive employment opportunities for the Afghan people in general. In this regard, the reconstruction process plays a vital role. Unless its pace is accelerated and economic growth is sustained and widespread, there may be no viable alternative to continuing poppy cultivation.

On the issue of security, my delegation welcomes the decision of the North Atlantic Council to continue and enhance its support to ISAF beginning in August 2003. However, it is apparent that security outside Kabul needs to be urgently addressed. The Taliban’s regaining strength in the south needs priority attention.

On funding for reconstruction, reported figures indicate that only half of the Tokyo pledges have been forthcoming. Efforts in meeting the goals and pledges of the Tokyo Conference must be accelerated. It should be underlined that reconstruction funds are additional to the funds provided by donors for humanitarian assistance. The funds needed for long-term reconstruction programmes and for the immediate needs of the Transitional Administration are reportedly behind target by at least 50 per cent.

President Karzai recently estimated that $15 billion to $20 billion will be needed for the reconstruction of Afghanistan for the next five years. While this might appear to be a huge amount in addition to other funding requirements for Afghanistan, particularly for humanitarian assistance, the international community, we believe, should view this requirement in the light of its trade-off for peace and security and a substantial eradication of the drug menace and related organized crime.

The international community has travelled a great distance in supporting Afghanistan. Its support must, however, be sustained and strengthened. The Afghan Government has drawn up its national drug strategy, and we believe that every effort must be taken to implement this strategy effectively.

The President

The next speaker is the representative of the Republic of Korea. I invite him to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. Chun (Republic of Korea)

Mr. President, the Republic of Korea welcomes your initiative to hold today’s open debate on Afghanistan. It is most timely for the Security Council to draw the renewed attention of the international community to the Afghan situation. I join previous speakers in thanking Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Mr. Antonio Maria Costa for their extremely informative briefings this morning.

Afghanistan has come a long way since the launching of the Bonn Agreement a year and a half ago. The political timelines set out in the Agreement have so far been met. We note the encouraging progress being made in the political processes of transition towards a multi-ethnic, broad-based and fully representative Afghan Government, including the work of the Constitutional Commission in preparing a draft constitution and preparatory work for next year’s general elections. We are also gratified to note that the Afghan Transitional Administration has consolidated government authority throughout the country.

We believe that these positive developments would not have been possible without the sustained commitment of the international community to the Afghan peace process. In this respect, my Government pays tribute to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, the participating members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and other international agencies which are playing indispensable roles in building a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan.

Despite some encouraging developments, in particular on the institution-building front, a host of daunting challenges lie ahead on the path to building a durable peace in Afghanistan. The fragile security situation is the most serious one, as shown by the tragic terrorist incident perpetrated against German ISAF members earlier this month. My Government takes this opportunity to express its deepest condolences to the German Government and to the bereaved families.

The security situation will become more precarious and the viability of the peace process may be severely tested as we move closer to the national elections scheduled for next year. For it is generally in the run-up to elections that tensions and rivalries between competing ethnic groups and factions become more acute and come fully into play. The improvement of the security situation is also essential to, among other things, containing the centrifugal forces fuelled by rampant factionalism and tribalism, which threaten the sustainability of the peace process. In that regard, the international community’s sustained support for security sector reform cannot be overemphasized.

Another related challenge that the Afghan peace process faces today is the problem of drugs, which is the focus of our debate. My Government shares the profound concern over the nature and magnitude of the drug problem in Afghanistan, which poses a serious threat to the Afghan peace process and which has even wider ramifications for the region.

The production and trafficking of drugs has long been a prime factor in fuelling and sustaining intra-Afghan conflicts. We believe that countering that illegal sector of the economy should be an integral part, and a top priority, of the international community’s efforts in support of the Afghan peace process. In that respect, we appreciate the United Kingdom’s lead in supporting the Afghan Government’s counter-narcotics efforts, Germany’s lead in police training, and the efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to strengthen the Afghan Government’s verification capacity. We share the view that the drug eradication campaign will be more effective when police enforcement is coupled with the availability of alternative sources of livelihoods for farmers.

We believe that tangible progress in economic reconstruction and rehabilitation is vital in making the peace process irreversible. The Afghan people will enjoy the real peace dividends to the fullest only when they see progress in reconstruction and economic development. The Republic of Korea is strongly committed to reconstruction in Afghanistan. We are proud of carrying out our assistance programmes for Afghanistan, in line with our commitment to extend up to $45 million through 2004 despite our difficult financial situation. We are also contributing to Afghan nation-building endeavours in the field of security by dispatching army medical and engineering units to Afghanistan and providing telecommunications equipment to the Afghan national army. My Government will continue to do everything in our capacity to help the Afghan people realize a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.

The sustained support of the international community is vital to the success of the Afghan peace process and to reconstruction. But it cannot be a substitute for the will and efforts of the Afghan people and their leaders to help themselves in rebuilding their country.

The President

Following consultations among members of the Security Council, I have been authorized to make the following statement on behalf of the Council:

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.

“The Security Council stresses that security remains a serious challenge facing Afghanistan. In particular, the Council expresses its concern over the increased number of attacks against international and local humanitarian personnel, coalition forces, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan Transitional Administration targets by Taliban and other rebel elements. In this regard, the Council condemns in the strongest terms the attack against the ISAF in Kabul on 7 June. The Council also expresses its concern over other security threats, including from illicit drug trafficking. The Council stresses the need to improve the security situation in the provinces and further to extend the authority of the Afghan Transitional Administration throughout the country. Against this backdrop, the Council underlines the importance of accelerating the comprehensive reform of Afghanistan’s security sector, including the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

“The Security Council welcomes the establishment and deployment of international civilian-military provincial reconstruction teams (PRT) in the provinces and encourages States to support further efforts to assist with improving security in the regions.

“The Security Council believes that constructive and mutually supportive bilateral and regional relations between Afghanistan and all States, and in particular its neighbours, based on the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s affairs, are important for stability in Afghanistan. The Council calls upon all States to respect the Kabul Declaration on Good-Neighbourly Relations (S/2002/1416) and to support the implementation of its provisions.

“The Security Council reaffirms the principles established in the Political Declaration adopted by the General Assembly at its twentieth special session, inter alia, that action against the world drug problem is a common and shared responsibility requiring an integrated and balanced approach in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law.

“The Security Council recognizes the links between illicit drug trafficking and terrorism, as well as other forms of crimes, and the challenges posed by these activities inside Afghanistan, as well as to the transit, neighbouring and other States affected by the trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan.

“The Security Council also expresses its concern at the increasing risk of the spread of HIV/AIDS associated with drug abuse in the region and beyond.

“The Security Council stresses that security will be enhanced by continued coordinated efforts to combat the production of illicit drugs in Afghanistan, as well as to interdict narco-trafficking beyond its borders. The Council recognizes that the effort to counter the problem of drugs originating in Afghanistan will only be effective when it is integrated into the wider context of reconstruction and development programmes in the country.

“The Security Council expresses its concern that, despite the efforts pursued, the volume of illegal opium production inside Afghanistan in year 2002 has returned to former high levels. The Council notes with concern the assessment contained in the Opium Rapid Assessment Survey of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that opium poppy cultivation has been reported in several districts of Afghanistan for the first time. The Council stresses the need to promote the comprehensive international approach, carried out, inter alia, under the auspices of the United Nations and through other international fora, in support of the Afghan Transitional Administration’s Drugs Strategy to eliminate the illicit cultivation of opium poppy. The Council also supports the fight against illicit trafficking of drugs and precursors within Afghanistan and in neighbouring States and countries along trafficking routes, including increased cooperation among them to strengthen anti-narcotic controls to curb the drug flow. Extensive efforts have also to be made to reduce the demand for drugs globally in order to contribute to the sustainability of the elimination of illicit cultivation in Afghanistan. The Council welcomes the comprehensive drug strategy for Afghanistan as set out in the Transitional Administration’s Drugs Strategy and calls for help to be provided within the framework of that strategy. The Council also welcomes the ‘Paris Pact’ (S/2003/641) introduced at the International Conference on Drug Routes From Central Asia to Europe held in Paris on 21-22 May 2003, and thanks the Government of France for convening the Conference.

“The Security Council expresses support for the commitment by the Afghan Transitional Administration to eliminate drug production by the year 2013 and its efforts to implement the decrees prohibiting the cultivation, production and processing of the opium poppy, including illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse.

“The Security Council welcomes the significant contribution by UNODC, and notes that the work of this Office in Afghanistan is restrained by the lack of general stability and security in the opium-growing areas of that country, which the international community as a whole should endeavour to ensure. The Council further welcomes projects underway by individual States to counter the threat of drugs in Afghanistan. Most of those projects are long term, which is vital to eliminating drugs on a sustainable basis. The Council underscores the pressing need to achieve as soon as possible a significant and sustainable decrease in opium production in Afghanistan.

“The Security Council acknowledges the necessity of coordination through the lead nation on this and all issues in Afghanistan, and expresses, in this regard, its gratitude to the United Kingdom and Germany for their work on counter-narcotics and police issues, respectively.

“The Security Council recognizes the problems caused to neighbouring countries by the increase in Afghan opium production, as well as the efforts made by them and other countries to interdict illicit drugs.

“The Security Council stresses the need to promote the effective realization of anti-drug projects for Afghanistan. These efforts can be reinforced through promulgation of a comprehensive programme of action in the region and the States of transit and destination. The Council notes, in this regard, a major coordinating capacity available with UNODC and calls upon all those concerned to cooperate with UNODC in order to adopt harmonized measures in this area. The Council notes the call for all those concerned to adopt compatible and harmonized measures for law enforcement and counter-narcotics efforts through support for the implementation of the Afghan Transitional Administration’s Drugs Strategy and the Paris Pact, supported by the G-8 Summit in Evian on 3 June 2003. The Council urges donor States to work within such a consultative process to maximize the effects of their bilateral and multilateral assistance programmes.

“The Security Council urges the international community, in collaboration with UNODC and in accordance with the Afghan Transitional Administration’s Drugs Strategy, to provide assistance to the Afghan Transitional Administration that addresses, inter alia, certain key areas, including the development of alternative livelihoods and markets, improving national institutional capacities, enforcing prohibitions on illicit cultivation, manufacturing and trafficking of drugs, encouraging demand reduction and building up the effective use of intelligence, including aerospace monitoring.

“The Security Council urges the international community, in collaboration with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UNODC, to encourage cooperation among affected countries, specifically in strengthening border controls, assisting the flow of information between and among appropriate security and law enforcement agencies, combating groups involved in illicit drug trafficking and related crimes, particularly money laundering, carrying out operational interdiction activities and controlled deliveries, encouraging demand reduction and coordinating information and intelligence to maximize the effectiveness of all measures taken inside Afghanistan and beyond its borders.

“The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to include in his next report to the Security Council and the General Assembly on the situation in Afghanistan a summary of proposals made during its 4774th meeting, held on 17 June 2003, and any commentary and response to those proposals by any Member State and to submit his relevant recommendations to the Security Council for its consideration.

“The Security Council decides to remain seized of the matter.”

This statement will be issued as a document of the Security Council under the symbol S/PRST/2003/7.

The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The meeting rose at 5.15 p.m.
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