Security Council meeting 4774

Date17 June 2003
S-PV-4774 2003-06-17 10:00 17 June 2003 [[17 June]] [[2003]] /

The situation in Afghanistan

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.

Expression of welcome to Mr. Heraldo Muñoz, Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations

The President

Before turning to the item on our agenda, I would like to welcome to the Council Chamber His Excellency Mr. Heraldo Muñoz, the new Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations, and, on behalf of all members of the Council, to wish him success in his position.

Expression of farewell to Mr. Wang Yingfan, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations

The President

It is my understanding that our colleague the Permanent Representative of China, Ambassador Wang Yingfan, has received an important new appointment and is in this Chamber for the last time before leaving New York. We hope that there will be other times in the future, but today, on behalf of the members of the Council, I would like to pay tribute to Ambassador Wang for his important contribution to the work of the Council and for his diplomatic skill and collegiality, as well as his common-sense approach to Council issues. He has represented his country in a very worthy and effective way. I am certain that in the future he will use his great talent in his new post.

We will remember Ambassador Wang as a colleague who always tried to work in cooperation and harmony with other members of the Council. On everyone’s behalf, I wish him success in his future work.

Mr. Wang Yingfan (China)

I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your generous appraisal of my work in the Security Council. Indeed, today will be the last time that I will speak in this Chamber as the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations.

I wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all representatives, Permanent Missions and Secretariat colleagues for their support and cooperation during my years of service here.

While I am leaving, my colleagues will continue to work hard and to face new challenges and the higher expectations of Member States for the United Nations and the Security Council. It is a pleasure to know that many new colleagues have come to replace older members like myself, including the Permanent Representative of Chile, who has just assumed his post. Therefore, I trust that all members will achieve even greater success and I wish them good luck.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

The situation in Afghanistan

The President

I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Afghanistan, Colombia, Greece, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

At the invitation of the President, Mr. Farhâdi (Afghanistan) took a seat at the Council table; Mr. Giraldo (Colombia), Mr. Vassilakis (Greece), Mr. Gopinathan (India), Mr. Zarif (Islamic Republic of Iran), Mr. Haraguchi (Japan), Mr. Kazykhanov (Kazakhstan), Mr. McIvor (New Zealand), Mr. Kolby (Norway), Mr. Manalo (Philippines), Mr. Chun (Republic of Korea), Mr. Alimov (Tajikistan), Mr. Kuchinsky (Ukraine) and Mr. Vohidov (Uzbekistan) took the seats reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
The President

In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

I invite Mr. Guéhenno to take a seat at the Council table.

In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Director General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

I invite Mr. Costa to take a seat at the Council table.

The Security Council will begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

At this meeting, the Security Council will hear briefings by Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and by Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

I call on Mr. Guéhenno.

Mr. Guéhenno (Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations)

Members of the Council will recall the words of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, in his briefing to the Council on 6 May. He described the significant progress made in the Bonn process, but he also warned against the security environment in Afghanistan and of the threat posed by the prevailing security situation to the gains made.

The emphasis on drugs in Afghanistan which you, Sir, have designated for this meeting is indeed welcome, given the importance of the issue to the immediate and long-term stability of the country and the region. Mr. Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, will be focusing more specifically on that issue, and I will provide an update on the situation in Afghanistan since the last briefing.

Over the past month, some positive progress was made. Most notably, President Karzai took resolute action towards establishing and affirming the Government’s authority in the provinces. We have also seen the commencement of public consultations on the Constitution, and planning for the electoral process is now in its final stages. But the security situation remains a serious impediment to progress and is a major risk to the entire process. Solutions exist for this problem, but resolving it will require the strong commitment of the Afghan authorities and the international community.

Before turning to the issue of security and its influence on the Bonn process as a whole, I wish first provide the Council with an overview of recent developments in a number of other areas.

First, regarding relations between the centre and the periphery, some 18 months since the Bonn Agreement and the establishment of the Interim Authority, the authority of the Transitional Administration beyond Kabul is still, unfortunately, too limited. The majority of provincial authorities continue to act with an autonomy that denies the Transitional Administration the means to implement its national development plan. Yet the population expects the Afghan Administration to improve the economic situation and the security environment, which would give the Afghan Administration its credibility. It is clear that the patience of the Afghan population is wearing thin.

In a determined effort to assert the authority of his Government, President Karzai summoned 12 of the country’s most powerful governors and regional commanders to Kabul on 20 May, threatening to resign if he failed to secure their full cooperation. The persons brought together committed themselves to implementing a 13-point decision of the National Security Council, which seeks, among other things, to forbid the recruitment of private militias and military action unauthorized by the central Government, to reaffirm the ban on any individual holding both a military and civilian post and to dissolve some extragovernmental bodies; it also provides for administrative powers for its implementation.

The National Security Council decision also requires that all governors transfer provincial income to the central Government. The Minister of Finance has since secured the transfer of customs revenues from several provinces, including $20 million from Herat’s Ismael Khan. The Minister of Finance also continues to visit other provinces to seek the transfer of funds and put in place an automatic transfer mechanism. At issue is the gradual collection by the Government of $200 million that is anticipated for the budget. To date, $40 million has been collected. This infusion of new cash has enabled the Government to pay some of the overdue salaries of its civil servants and Afghan National Army troops. However, regular remittances will be the real test of the provinces’ compliance with the Government’s directive.

Unfortunately, there are already signs that written agreements do not necessarily translate into tangible action. For example, Ismael Khan has already signalled his unwillingness to yield any authority to Kabul and has refused, for the moment, to resign one of his posts. The Government and the international community must send a strong signal that the signatories will be held accountable for their pledges.

spoke in English
Mr. Guéhenno (Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations)

The overall human rights situation continues to be negatively affected by extortion by local commanders, arbitrary detentions and the general lack of the rule of law. This remains a source of instability and diminishes the credibility of the Government. As part of the response, the seven satellite offices of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission are now fully operational. Their staff, with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), has undertaken joint monitoring and investigations of human rights violations as well as the organization of educational and other promotional activities. During the public consultations on the Constitution and initial preparations for next year’s elections, and through its capacity to monitor human rights abuses, it is expected that the offices of the Commission will play an important role in the civic education process.

Of all the elements of the peace process, re-establishing the rule of law and, in particular, the justice sector, is one of the most important areas for long-term stability. Yet that area also requires the greatest investment of time in order to train lawyers, build the judiciary and public confidence in it, and bolster its position with respect to other State institutions. As part of its overall work plan, which includes determining which laws are currently in force and surveying and developing the human, technical, and logistical needs of the justice sector, the Judicial Reform Commission took several steps this past month. The Ministry of Justice has begun to compile and index national laws with participation of foreign experts. Law revision has been initiated in the fields of criminal law and criminal procedure, as well as on judicial organization, which are crucial areas for the establishment of the rule of law. The Commission also initiated discussions with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission on areas of the Constitution relating to the judiciary. In Kabul, reconstruction of the High Court and the Property Deeds Office is already under way with United States support.

I would now like to turn to the Constitutional Review Commission, which formally started public consultations on 6 June. Teams of three Commissioners will lead the consultations with elders, local shuras and ordinary citizens in all 32 provinces of Afghanistan, as well as with the refugee community in Iran and Pakistan. The first five teams were sent to Mazar, Gardez, Jalalabad, Kunduz and Bamyan on 10 June. The Commission has decided not to circulate the current draft of the Constitution, which was prepared by the first Drafting Committee and which is incomplete.

It reasoned that it would first wish to learn about the population’s expectations of its provisions and that consideration of the current draft as it now stands could limit the dialogue. A draft Constitution, which takes into account the results of the public consultation and the views of the full Commission, will be circulated in September. Meanwhile, a working group appointed by the President has been discussing options for the organization of the Constitutional Loya Jirga. Recommendations will be finalized and forwarded to the President later this month. Logistical and security arrangements are being discussed among Government representatives, UNAMA, international representatives and the international security forces. Their complexity should not be underestimated.

UNAMA’s preparations for the electoral registration process have continued, and last month the capacity to pursue that process was significantly enhanced beyond the four-person team with the approval of the supplementary budget that established the Electoral Unit. Six Regional Coordination Officers have now been recruited and are being deployed into the regions, where they will undertake an on-the-ground needs assessment of the situation as it now exists and determine the practicality of the current work plan. Due to the lack of an Afghan counterpart and the timing of the election, UNAMA has had to plan on the assumption that most of the electoral registration would have to be done directly by United Nations staff, international and local. However, we were recently informed that the Government is now considering more actively the option of establishing an elections commission, which would allow for greater Afghan involvement in electoral management, given time for capacity-building. The finalized draft budget is to be presented to donors shortly, and it is hoped that the necessary voluntary funding will be forthcoming.

The election process is fundamentally a shared responsibility between the Government, the United Nations and the international community. The feasibility of conducting the registration and its ultimate credibility will depend not only upon the various technical contributions to the management of the registration process from the United Nations and the Government, but also, critically, it will depend upon the effective creation of an improved political environment, and most important, on security.

On 7 June, the international community was brutally reminded of how fragile peace remains, even in Kabul, when a suicide car bomber detonated a large explosive alongside a German International Security Assistance Force bus, killing four personnel and one bystander and injuring 29 personnel in the most deadly attack on the international security force in its 18 months of operations. This dreadful act was designed to shake the resolve of the international community in its commitment to the peace process. But it did not. Germany and the rest of the international community have reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, this incident underscores that Kabul is not immune to the security problems of the hinterland, and that if security is not extended from Kabul, then the city itself will become more vulnerable and thus less stable.

Other signs of the activity of those seeking to subvert the process continue to occur in the rest of the country. Across the north, factional fighting regularly continues. The outbreak of fighting on 16 May between two police commanders belonging to rival factions in Mazar-e-Sharif led to the suspension of United Nations activities in the city for four days. Among those killed was the local United Nations security focal point.

In southern and south-eastern Afghanistan, incidents of violent crime and reported clashes between suspected Taliban and Coalition and Afghan National Army forces continue amid an apparent marked increase in Taliban infiltration. In the second week of June, police officers were twice ambushed while travelling on roads in the province of Zabul, resulting in the death of two police officers.

International and national non-governmental organizations operating in several cities, including Kandahar and Jalalabad, have been the target of grenade attacks. In response to a series of attacks and threats to demining teams, the United Nations Mine Action Centre was forced to suspend all activities in 10 provinces and along the Kabul-Kandahar road.

In the current security environment, United Nations road missions have had to be severely restricted in the provinces of Zabul, Uruzgan, Kandahar and northern Helmand. Where not suspended, missions must be accompanied along main roads by armed escorts provided by the Afghan authorities. In effect, one third of the country is currently inaccessible to the United Nations, which seriously hinders the ability of the Organization and others to carry out reconstruction efforts and to lay the groundwork for the Constitutional Loya Jirga, for the elections and for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in the affected regions.

Ultimately, national security structures will have to assume responsibility for domestic security, backed by a functioning justice system. But it will take time for those institutions to develop the necessary capacity and to become truly national in character. Satisfactory progress has been made in the training of the national army and police forces by the lead nations — the United States and Germany, respectively. Some of those forces have already been successfully deployed. But the funding for the forces’ salaries is woefully inadequate. The success of these structures in providing security also depends on the establishment of an effective justice system — to which I referred earlier — and on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts.

With the support of the Government of Japan and of UNAMA, the DDR programme will be ready to commence later this week. Within the Government, the Ministry of Defence is to have the lead role in the implementation of the DDR programme, but the Ministry is conspicuously lacking in regional and ethnic balance and thus does not have the trust of the factions that are to participate in the programme. Until the Ministry of Defence reforms itself — including at its uppermost echelons — it will not enjoy the necessary trust of the factions. Accordingly, the commencement of DDR has now been made contingent on the implementation of a series of confidence-building measures signalling that reform of the Ministry of Defence is indeed irreversible and in conformity with the presidential decree of 1 December 2002.

We welcome the contribution of the provincial reconstruction teams to improved security, and we are encouraged by the recent expression of interest by a number of countries in participating in the teams, of which there are currently three, composed of 185 personnel. They can provide a platform for supporting and expanding the work that is being undertaken on security sector reform. They can assist in the provincial training of police and can help provide an environment conducive to judicial reform as well as other measures aimed at improving local governance. They can also carry out infrastructure work to support Government authority, such as renovating police stations, rebuilding courthouses and constructing barracks for the new Afghan National Army.

The early deployment of elements of the Afghan National Army to Gardez and Bamyan has also highlighted the role that the provincial reconstruction teams can play in familiarizing such forces with the concept of civic action and, through such engagement, contributing to the establishment of greater security. Finally, the teams can play a confidence-building role in connection with a number of processes that have started or are about to start, namely, the constitution-making process, DDR and electoral preparations. However, in the current environment, we must be aware that the teams, at their current strength and level of deployment, are still far from an adequate response to the security challenge posed to the Bonn process.

Therefore, we must continue to stress that, while national Afghan institutions are ultimately the answer, further deployment of international security elements that are of a reasonable size and are able to project credible strength is needed to provide the security environment and confidence necessary for the Bonn process to move forward to its natural conclusion.

Finally, we can say that, in the past month, civic processes central to the Bonn Agreement have commenced — and others will soon begin — that offer all Afghans a stake in achieving a stable State. The technical and logistical dimensions of moving ahead with the peace process are being put in place, but the necessary environment is not there. There are still some within Afghanistan for whom the process represents a threat, and it is their intent to subvert it and to force the Government and the international community into retreat. They are relatively few in number, but the vicious technology of terror gives them power that is disproportionate to their number. The aims of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Hekmatyar are reasonably clear. More difficult to gauge is whether the professed commitment of regional commanders and powerful governors to the nation-building process is genuine, or whether in fact they are prepared to undermine it.

Much has been invested in the progress made to date in Afghanistan. The process has now entered its most critical and most sensitive stage — the constitutional and electoral processes — but prevailing insecurity poses a serious risk of derailing it. Those who wish to subvert the process should not be allowed to triumph over the aspiration of the vast majority of Afghans to a stable State. I encourage the Afghan authorities and the international community to demonstrate a shared commitment to providing the conditions necessary for the peace process to move forward.

The President

I thank Mr. Guéhenno for his briefing.

I now give the floor to Mr. Costa.

Mr. Costa (Director General of the United Nations Office at Vienna)

It is an honour to address the Council, and I thank you, Mr. President, for the invitation to do so.

At the outset, I should like to stress three points regarding the drug situation in Afghanistan. First, during the past quarter century, Afghanistan has found itself at the crossroads of violence and, as a consequence, of illegal activity. War and lawlessness have been the forces that have driven opium production to its present levels, not the other way around; let us be sure we get the logic right. Secondly, the establishment of the effective rule of law is essential. The Government’s commitment to controlling the cultivation, trade and abuse of narcotics can be honoured only if stability and security spread throughout the country — a point just raised, in a sense, by my colleague Mr. Guéhenno. Thirdly, it is not true that the whole country is involved in illegal activity. Less than 1 per cent of its land is devoted to opium poppy cultivation, and no more than 6 per cent of its families derive the resulting illicit income from that activity. Only five of the country’s 31 provinces produce opium on a large scale.

The Afghan Transitional Administration is gradually rebuilding the country’s Government, and national policies are being developed, difficult and long as the process is. In the process, generous support from the international community — particularly from the nations that have taken the lead in various sectors of the Administration — remains indispensable. Allow me to thank in particular the Government of the United Kingdom for its generous and continuing role in leading the anti-narcotics work.

While the opium economy undermines current institution-building efforts in Afghanistan, the argument could actually be turned around: the slow progress in re-establishing the rule of law is hurting the ability of the authorities to reduce the drug economy. It is a vicious circle that we need to break, and I will return to this issue.

What are the facts of the current situation? In 2002, the Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna — my Office — estimated poppy cultivation in Afghanistan at 74,000 hectares, resulting in 3,400 tons of output from five provinces in the northern, eastern and southern parts of the country. All tribes and ethnic groups were involved. What about this year, 2003? According to our preliminary survey — we shall release the final survey in September — current opium cultivation appears to have spread to new areas, while a perceptible decrease has taken place in the traditional provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Nangahar and Oruzgan. On balance, neither the total surface under cultivation nor the volume of output is likely to change significantly in 2003 with respect to last year.

What is the significance of all this? We need to recognize that, despite current efforts, in the coming years Afghanistan will continue to be the world’s largest opium producer. Why such a long time frame? Because, over the past 20 years, Afghan agriculture — actually the entire infrastructure in the countryside — has been destroyed, resulting in a war economy in which arms, drugs, smuggling and opium have provided the means of livelihood, savings, credit and the means of exchange for almost one fifth of the economy. About 20 per cent of the gross domestic product of Afghanistan is involved in this illegal activity.

To rid Afghanistan of its dependence on illegal activities, it is necessary to create ample and easily accessible opportunities for alternative, licit sources of income. This task, however, is rendered complicated by the interrelated economic and political factors, including security factors, that I addressed just now. Let me look at them from my own angle.

First, with respect to the economic factors, on the surface of it the country seems to defy a basic law of economics, according to which price and risk trends are correlated. In the modern market, as in every economic aspect, prices increase if risks increase. This is not the case in Afghanistan today. Opium prices, which were at about $35 to $50 per kilo a few years ago, have recently shot up to about $550 to $600 per kilo. While the revenue generated to farmers by the opium harvest in the 1990s was $150 million a year, last year it was $1.2 billion — almost 10 times greater. An amount of this order of magnitude is equal to the resources made available by the international community to Afghanistan last year. Illegally, the same amount of income is being generated domestically.

In order to understand how important it is to redress the risk/reward balance in the Afghan countryside, let me make another point regarding the security and political factors I have already addressed. The task of ridding Afghanistan of the drug economy requires much greater political, security and financial capital than is presently available to assist the rural areas affected by opium production and, above all, to improve the central Government’s ability to implement its opium production ban.

Drugs originating in Afghanistan provide resources to crime and terrorism. They are a threat to stability. They pose a major health threat. They corrupt. Let me address these points one at the time.

The drug dealers, among them the remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, have a vested interest in ensuring that the Afghan State remains weak in Afghanistan. In pursuing their goals, they foment regional strife and nourish separatist ambitions and armed conflicts to destabilize the Government.

Secondly, corruption is both a cause and a consequence of narcotrafficking in Afghanistan, much as it is everywhere else. My Office has studied extensively the drug-trafficking routes. A common element among them is the presence of corrupt Government officials, corrupt port and airport staff and corrupt customs employees. The old Silk Road has now been turned into an opium-paved road and is riddled with such evidence of corruption.

Perhaps the most serious threat, however, has come from the spreading of HIV/AIDS because of drug injection. In some of the countries neighbouring Afghanistan, four out of five — over 80 per cent of — new cases of HIV infection have been caused this way. Unless the problem is brought under control, the risk of a pandemic in the region cannot be excluded — a point that President Putin himself raised in his recent address to his nation.

Finally, the massive drug traffic from Afghanistan endangers economic and social stability in the countries located along the trafficking routes, thereby fuelling crime, money-laundering and terrorist activities beyond the Afghan border.

Therefore, in closing, I would like to stress the importance of a partnership in addressing the Afghan drug question. The Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan last month adopted a first national drug control strategy. It foresees the elimination of opium within 10 years through law enforcement and rural development. It also aims to counter domestic processing and trafficking, fight money-laundering, reduce abuse and enhance international cooperation in drug control.

Indeed, we believe that the Afghan drug economy can be reconverted to peace and growth if the Government is assisted in addressing the roots of the matter. A report recently prepared by my Office — copies of which are available to the members of the Council — has exposed the roots of the problem. First, the report has deconstructed Afghanistan’s drug economy into its main components: production, trafficking, financing, refining and abuse. Secondly, the report has reconstructed the country’s development processes piece by piece to show that it is essential to help farmers decide in favour of licit crops; to replace local narco-usurers with microcredit programmes; to provide jobs and education to women and children, who are most heavily involved in the cultivation of a labour-intensive product like opium poppies; to turn bazaars into modern trading places; and to neutralize warlords and their efforts to keep the drug trade alive.

As I said earlier, however, national efforts are not enough. Hence the convergent efforts of neighbouring countries through which narcotics are exported and of Europe and Russia, where heroin abuse helps nourish opium cultivation in Afghanistan, are needed.

In particular, the international community needs to develop a comprehensive approach. Here are a few elements of such an approach. First, we need to assist Afghanistan to implement its drug control strategy. We then have to promote in Afghanistan and its neighbours concerted measures against drug trafficking, stockpiling, clandestine laboratories and supply of precursors. We need to mainstream drug issues into the overall reconstruction programmes for Afghanistan, inviting the international financial institutions, the multilateral development banks, the United Nations agencies and bilateral donors to channel resources accordingly. Finally, we need to provide a follow-up to the recent Paris Conference on Drug Routes from Afghanistan with the proposed consultative groups.

A final point is addressed mainly to Europe and Russia, which represent the main lucrative markets for Afghan heroin. It is important that the main reduction efforts be intensified. This was a view expressed by ministers when they met in April at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. This is a view I support and which I believe would have a significant impact on the Afghan drug threat.

The President

I thank Mr. Costa for his briefing.

Mr. De La Sablière (France)

I wish to thank Mr. Guéhenno and Mr. Costa for their mutually complementary briefings.

The representative of Greece will shortly make a statement on behalf of the European Union with which France fully associates itself. I will make just a few remarks on the problem of the anti-drug campaign.

I wish first to welcome Russia’s initiative. The United Nations has a central role to play in the fight against the scourge of drugs. It must establish the guiding principles of international cooperation in this area as in many others. The General Assembly, at its twentieth special session in 1998, adopted seminal texts in this regard.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is unquestionably the best instrument for the implementation of anti-drug policies. Its technical assistance and support programmes are irreplaceable, and its leading role deserves to be further strengthened. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) must also make a useful contribution.

The Security Council must do its share in this effort. Trafficking from Afghanistan constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security. Today drugs are among the ranks of other major threats, such as terrorism, arms proliferation and organized crime.

This threat affects everyone — Europe included, of course. An important share of Afghan opium is consumed in Europe. The transit countries are also harshly affected, and in growing numbers. The traditional route across the Balkans unfortunately has now been joined by a whole series of routes across Central Asia. The distinction between transit countries and consumer countries is no longer relevant. The countries of transit are now also consumer markets and have experienced the brunt of the effects of this situation: the destabilization of already fragile economies, a breakdown in State structures because of corruption, an explosion in criminality and a deterioration in public health.

For Afghanistan, of course, the production of and trafficking in drugs represents an enormous challenge. The continuation of poppy cultivation blocks reforms that are vital to the modernization of the country. Struggling against poppy cultivation in Afghanistan means making progress in two major areas of the Bonn process — that of security in the provinces and that of strengthening central authority vis-à-vis local strongholds. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), under the remarkable leadership of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, is providing irreplaceable support to the Afghan authorities on both these fronts.

But the battle is not won. After a considerable decline in 2000-2001, opium production in Afghanistan was estimated by the United Nations to be at 3,400 tonnes in 2002. The 2003 harvest will most likely be of the same magnitude. It suffices to look at the brochure distributed today to see the extent of the gravity of this problem.

Recently, President Karzai took courageous measures to confront this challenge. A plan of action was adopted by the Transitional Government. It is very significant that this plan proposes a long-term strategy for the complete elimination of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan by the year 2013. We must support these measures, together with the lead nations: the United Kingdom, in charge of the fight against drugs; Germany, for the police; and Italy, for judicial reform. This presupposes supporting the sustainable development of replacement crops. Afghanistan is by no means doomed to remain the world’s biggest opium producer. Poppy cultivation is not a traditional activity in Afghanistan.

It is important that the international community’s response to the drug scourge respect certain principles. All instruments must be used: repression, prevention and treatment. The objectives must be well balanced: the reduction of supply and demand. Coordination needs to be improved, regionally and internationally.

In order to implement this strategy and to tackle the problem in all its aspects, international mobilization is indispensable. Upon France’s initiative, the representatives of 55 countries gravely affected by the trafficking of opium and heroin produced in Afghanistan met in Paris on 22 May of this year. Over 30 Ministers were present. A declaration, the Paris Covenant, was adopted at the conclusion of the meeting; it has been submitted for circulation as an official Security Council document. By this Covenant, the Ministers agreed to combine their countries’ efforts to strengthen national capacities, to develop regional partnerships and to establish a multilateral strategic framework under United Nations auspices. Precise follow-up measures have been planned; for example, the establishment of a regional structure in charge of centralizing information, developing shared analyses and, as needed, conducting joint action.

This international mobilization must be ongoing. It is indispensable that the United Nations, the Security Council and the General Assembly participate fully in the implementation of this strategy. This is why France completely supports the Presidential statement that will be adopted at the conclusion of this meeting.

Mr. Pujalte (Mexico)

I am grateful to Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and to Executive Director Costa for the information they have given us, and I also thank your country, Sir, for having taken the initiative of convening this meeting on Afghanistan, especially from the standpoint of drug production and trafficking.

Mexico wants to express its appreciation to all donor countries and troop-contributing countries, to governmental and non-governmental organizations that are making possible this great humanitarian endeavour that the international community has undertaken in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

We wish to highlight the coordination work being accomplished by UNAMA and the concerted work of all the competent bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, the multilateral financial institutions, humanitarian assistance organizations and civil society.

In Afghanistan, as in other contemporary conflicts, the international community must strengthen international cooperation in order to tackle the causes of these conflicts and to act in a timely way to reconstruct national institutions and to bring about economic rehabilitation. Nonetheless, in spite of the progress made by the Interim Authority since the Bonn Agreements, Mexico is concerned that problems remain that are real threats to security and to the democratic process that is beginning to be established.

There are still major unresolved challenges in Afghanistan, including the formation of an army and a national police force, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, fighting drug production, promoting a culture of respect for human rights, the drafting and adoption of a new constitution and the holding of general elections. In all of these tasks, international cooperation will be fundamental in order to meet these challenges appropriately.

The challenges must be tackled at the same time as that of creating conditions for the holding of general elections, scheduled for the year 2004. In Mexico’s opinion, this process should be supported vigorously by UNAMA and by the international community, so that it can be transparent and legitimate, by establishing a reliable model and through the establishment of an autonomous authority for the holding of the elections and appropriate international monitoring to ensure their legitimacy.

Towards this end, we emphasize the need to strengthen security in Afghanistan, through projects of infrastructure, education and health, with a view to accomplishing the immediate tasks of humanitarian assistance and implementing long-term plans for development assistance. We forcefully condemn the attack on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on 7 June, and we also condemn the attacks that have occurred in recent months against humanitarian personnel.

As was made clear by the briefings that we have heard, the situation in Afghanistan is quite complex. Alongside the political forces promoting inter-ethnic reconciliation, democracy and respect for human rights, there continue to exist forces that foment anarchy and extremism. That is why, in the opinion of my country, it is necessary, as a first step, to expand the ranks of ISAF to improve security throughout the country. That, in turn, will make it possible to create solid national institutions.

The problem of drug production extends beyond the area of public health. As in the case of drug trafficking, this problem consists of a chain, the financing of which corrupts society and promotes violence and the illicit traffic in weapons. The problem of drug trafficking has two main aspects: production and consumption. The countries where consumption has spread also have a responsibility to prevent the chain of crime generated by the sale of heroin in the big cities from condemning the rural population of Afghanistan and other countries to being the victims of the traffickers who encourage those illicit crops.

Our countries have formed a common front in the appropriate forums to combat this global phenomenon. In that context, the Council must take into account the basic principles agreed on by the international community for cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking: a balance of focus on supply and demand, a comprehensive treatment of the problem — our common, shared responsibility — and respect for the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and of international law.

In particular, we must be mindful of the international agreements that have been adopted, such as the ministerial declaration of the forty-sixth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of last April, in which the commitments in the global fight against drugs were renewed, based on the outcome of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly of 1998, held at the request by my country.

During the negotiations on that ministerial declaration, there was an attempt to strengthen the principles of shared responsibility, international cooperation and the use of an overall focus in order to treat supply and demand with equal emphasis. In that context, the Council should recognize the work accomplished by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and by the General Assembly in international cooperation against drugs and should support the commitments made in the ministerial declaration.

Mexico thanks France for its initiative in convening the conference on drug routes from Central Asia to Europe, held in Paris in May. Mexico expresses its support for the content of the Paris Declaration. Similarly, Mexico thanks the United Kingdom and Germany for their efforts to support the fight against drugs in Afghanistan.

Mexico wants to see an Afghanistan that is democratic, respectful of human rights and, especially, an Afghanistan with an economic future free from drug trafficking. A strategic coalition has been created in Afghanistan among donor countries, the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions and non-governmental organizations in order to assist the Afghan people in their search for lasting peace.

The international community must continue its effort to strengthen the peace process and to lay the bases for the sustainable economic development of a democratic Afghanistan.

Mr. Traoré (Guinea)

First, I wish to thank you, Sir, on behalf of my delegation for organizing this public meeting on Afghanistan. I would also like to thank the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, for their important briefings.

The holding of the present meeting, essentially devoted to the problem of combating poppy cultivation, is ample evidence of the Council’s determination to make a greater contribution to the re-establishment of security, which is necessary for peace and stability in Afghanistan. While, at the political level, notable progress has been made in the framework of the implementation of the Bonn Agreement, insecurity remains the main obstacle to the creation of a State of rule of law. It must be recognized that Afghanistan now finds itself at a crossroads. The constitutional process initiated a few months ago is supposed to lead to transparent and credible elections and to the establishment of a multi-ethnic and broadly representative Government. It should also lead to the establishment of viable institutions charged with ensuring the primacy of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and the promotion of gender equality.

My delegation notes that illicit drugs are one of the major sources of financing for criminal activities and international terrorism. It has also been established that drug abuse, the result of a deeper malaise, has become a genuine social problem.

In Afghanistan, illicit poppy cultivation and the production and trafficking of drugs are, more than ever, a major concern. To deal with this issue, the Afghan Transitional Administration, led by President Hamid Karzai, has set the objective, among others, of eradicating poppy cultivation. In that context, the Government has taken the appropriate regulatory measures to give that effort the necessary efficacy.

We believe that this is a long-term fight requiring binding provisions, public awareness and information campaigns and alternative options. In other words, the Afghan authorities must rigorously implement the measures taken and must educate the population about the dangers of opium. The international community must assist the carrying-out of quick-impact development projects, particularly those for finding alternative crops able to generate substantial revenues for farmers.

My delegation remains convinced that the simultaneous implementation of the provisions made will contribute decisively to the eradication of this scourge, whose negative impact on the security of Afghanistan is clear.

In order for security — that key sector — to become a tangible reality in the country, it is up to all of us, in cooperation with the Afghan authorities, to strengthen the foundations of the political process resulting from the Bonn Agreement by providing greater support for the reforms undertaken.

In fact, the Bonn Agreement has entered the crucial phase of consolidating the peace process and the recovery of the country, which greatly needs the political support and financial assistance of the international community, combined with greater efforts from Afghans themselves.

Finally, my delegation welcomes the celebration on 26 June of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, under the slogan “Let’s talk about drugs”. We hope that this day of public awareness will provide an opportunity for the peoples of the world to become more aware of the need to get rid of this international scourge.

Mr. Wehbe (Syria)

At the outset, permit me to thank Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Mr. Antonio Costa for their very detailed introductory briefings. I would like to say how pleased I am to see them here with us today.

There is no doubt that the subject of this meeting is an extremely important and complex component of the situation in Afghanistan. It requires that the United Nations and the international community in general continue to play a role in helping the Afghan people strengthen their security and rebuild their country.

As Mr. Guéhenno told us today, the problem of security is one of the major challenges in the peace process in Afghanistan because of the intense activities of some elements in Afghanistan. However, it must be said that drug production and drug trafficking beyond the country’s borders are important aspects of the challenge, which must be met and overcome. Poppy cultivation, which allows for the production of drugs and their subsequent sale, is a source of national, regional and global concern because the profits from drugs make it possible to finance terrorism.

It is regrettable that, as we were told today, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is a major source of profit. In 2002, 3,400 tons were produced. In other words, production has returned to pre-2002 levels, making Afghanistan in 2003 the world’s largest opium producer, despite the efforts being made to overcome this scourge. Therefore, it is a main concern of the international community. It is a potential danger to the international community as a whole. Fighting it requires a complete and consistent strategy to be carried out under United Nations auspices and in coordination with the parties concerned, including regional parties and the Afghan Transitional Administration.

We welcome the efforts being made by the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan and the measures being adopted for the cultivation of alternative crops, thus making it possible to fight drug traffic. We must not forget the valuable support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

State structures in Afghanistan must be strengthened so that they can combat the drug problem and so that national legislation in that regard can be improved and respect for the rule of law ensured. That requires increased international assistance. Afghanistan needs the assistance of the international community, going beyond simple financial aid. Donors must fulfil their obligations towards the country. For its part, the Transitional Administration must redouble its efforts to generate additional sources of revenue to ensure a better life for farmers, making it possible for them to develop alternative crops. This must be done with a view to establishing a solid economy in Afghanistan and must be accompanied by a campaign to increase the Afghan people’s awareness of the dangers of poppy cultivation, and by a sense of responsibility on the part of the international community.

I would like to emphasize that the struggle against this scourge in Afghanistan must not stop at the borders of Afghanistan, because it is the responsibility of the international community as a whole. As I have said, a coherent, comprehensive, well-coordinated strategy is needed to deal with this problem seriously. That can be achieved by strengthening safety and security, State structures and the army, so that the Afghan people can be well governed. Towards that end, help is needed in the adoption of a constitution and in holding fair elections that truly express the will of the Afghan people. It is not possible to deal with the problem of drug production in an isolated manner, without strengthening State structures, improving the security situation and strengthening the army.

Mr. Tidjani (Cameroon)

Cameroon would like to commend you, Sir, and to thank you for having organized this meeting on the production and traffic of drugs in Afghanistan. This is an important subject, whose manifestations and consequences transcend the specific situation of this country, which has been battered by more than two decades of war.

Today Afghanistan produces more than 3,500 tons of opium annually. It is an enormous amount, particularly when we know that only two years ago, poppy cultivation in that country had fallen to a few hundred tons. The connections among poppy production, the lack of security, economic difficulties, corruption and building a State based on the rule of law is clearly established. Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Mr. Antonio María Costa gave excellent statements on this a while ago. Cameroon would like to express to them our great appreciation for the excellent quality of their introductory remarks this morning.

The interconnections among cultivation, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, of which the traffic in small arms is an illustrative outgrowth, has been mentioned in a number of meetings organized over the past few weeks on this matter in Tashkent, Prague and Paris.

Cameroon would like to especially thank the Government of France for having organized on 21 and 22 May 2003 a ministerial conference on drug routes from Central Asia to Europe. The conclusions of that meeting largely transcend the geopolitical framework that was its foundation. The concerns raised by the participants in the Paris meeting are basically identical to those heard in the areas of cultivation or transit of drugs in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. Moreover, Ambassador de La Sablière spoke in detail about this in the statement he made earlier today.

Drug production and trafficking are among the most significant challenges facing post-Taliban Afghanistan, in addition to its reconstruction, security and the strengthening of the rule of law. As we have emphasized on several occasions, economic recovery, and particularly poverty eradication, security and the political process, are influenced directly or indirectly by the crucial question of poppy cultivation.

Warlords now seem to be at the heart of the economic and political dynamics of Afghanistan. These very warlords, with their ties to international crime, control the production and trafficking of opium coming from that country.

The efforts of certain countries to control this activity are praiseworthy, and Cameroon would like to express its appreciation to the United Kingdom and Germany for their interest in and determined efforts at combating this scourge, which contributes to instability in Afghanistan in social, economic and security terms, and which has a destructive impact that extends beyond the borders of Afghanistan. It must be acknowledged, unfortunately, that those efforts have had mixed success. Since the collapse of the Taliban, poppy production has rather increased in Afghanistan. Consumption has increased in transit and neighbouring countries.

This is cause for concern, and without the unprecedented mobilization of the international community, the advances made by the Afghan people are threatened. Such a mobilization surely suggests robust action in production zones. That action should involve diversifying production, especially agricultural production, and improvements in crop yield, particularly by means of substantial investment in irrigation works.

Mr. Costa has provided relevant information on the strategy to be implemented if we want to dissuade farmers from poppy production and to reorient them towards other profitable crops.

Aside from agriculture, Cameroon is convinced that the promotion of a competitive private sector and significant investment in productive sectors will help meet the challenge of unemployment and rampant crime. For Afghanistan to meet these challenges it will need the support of the international community, which should also promote access of its products to the major markets, in particular in Western Europe.

An efficient campaign to combat opium trafficking also entails removing the remaining ambiguity towards the warlords, who not only control the drug trade but are also increasingly present in all sectors of economic activity and in building the political process, directly or through their allies.

Strengthening institutional capacities and the central Government’s control over all of Afghan territory, with a competent and honest army and police force, are equally indispensable to stemming drug trafficking.

On the international level, bolstering cooperation among countries of production, transit and consumption, strengthening instruments and certain structures, in particular the Office on Drugs and Crime, and the swift conclusion of negotiations on a comprehensive convention on transnational crime are also likely to promote the resolution of the thorny problem of the production and trade of Afghan opium.

Finally, Cameroon would like to support the presidential draft statement.

Mr. Tafrov (Bulgaria)

Allow me to associate myself, Mr. President, with the remarks that you made to Ambassador Wang and to tell him how much I have benefited from his wisdom and the clarity of his analyses, in particular, as well as his human warmth over the past months in the Council. I personally thank him wholeheartedly and on behalf of my delegation. At the same time, I would like to welcome Ambassador Muños of Chile and wish him all the best at the Security Council.

I would like to thank Jean-Marie Guéhenno for his briefing and Mr. Costa for his complementary statement. Bulgaria fully associates itself with the declaration that will be made later on by the permanent representative of Greece on behalf of the European Union. But I would like to make a few comments in my national capacity.

It is very difficult for me not to react to the rather gloomy picture that Jean-Marie Guéhenno has just drawn concerning the security situation and other matters in the Afghan provinces. I will not elaborate on that in detail. I would just like to mention the fact that only one fifth of the expected budget revenues have been collected thus far in the Afghan provinces. One third of Afghan territory is inaccessible to the United Nations. These details and the human rights violations that continue in Afghanistan should, in my view, cause us to reflect on the situation.

Drug production is one of the most important dimensions of the Afghan situation for the international community, given that such production has implications first for the country itself, for the region and indeed for the entire world, especially for Europe. I thank you, Sir, for having focused our discussion this time on this subject. As you know, Bulgaria is geographically on the so-called Balkan route, the drug route that originates in Central Asia. The problem of drug production in Afghanistan has always been of central concern to us.

Bulgaria is following with growing concern the trend towards stabilization of a rather high-level of drug production that we are witnessing in Afghanistan, and which Mr. Costa has just confirmed. In 2002, the area of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is estimated to cover 74,000 hectares, and 3.3 million Afghans are involved in poppy cultivation, which makes up more than 20 per cent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. Between 70 and 90 per cent of heroine in Europe comes from Afghanistan.

It must be noted — and here, I associate myself with what Mr. Costa just told us — that, in the light of that situation, we cannot expect that the problem of poppy production in Afghanistan will be resolved in the near future. However, we must not succumb to fatalism, because poppy cultivation is not traditional in Afghanistan, but, in terms of history, a relatively recent phenomenon. But it currently seems to have structural importance for the Afghan economy, and that, therefore, is the main source of our concern.

The efforts that the Afghan Transitional Administration is undertaking in its drug strategy represent an important element that we fully support. I shall not elaborate on the economic dimensions of the problem. It is clear that, unless alternative sources of income are created in the Afghan fields, it will be very difficult to talk about any solution to the poppy problem.

I take this opportunity to thank all the countries that are doing important leadership work in this area: the United Kingdom, as far as the drug problem itself is concerned; Germany, with regard to modernizing the Afghan police force; and Italy, as regards modernizing the justice system and establishing the rule of law.

It is clear that one of the surest ways to deal with the problem of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is — as Mr. Costa said — to reduce demand in the consumer countries and the transit countries; there is now practically no difference between them. From that perspective, I must say that, according to the competent Bulgarian authorities, a positive trend regarding the Balkan drug route has been observed recently. The quantities of drugs on that route are gradually diminishing; alternative routes are being been taken. In that regard, the Paris ministerial conference on drug routes from Central Asia to Europe was a very important and very useful event.

One of the explanations for this trend is perhaps the fact that the countries of South-East Europe are undertaking major efforts to coordinate their work in this area, particularly within the framework of the Regional Centre for Combating Trans-Border Crime, which is part of the South-East European Cooperation Initiative. In the Centre, there is a drug task force headed by Bulgaria. Recently, in May, under the Greek presidency of the European Union, a third regional operation coordinated by the European Police Office took place, with very satisfactory results. My country is determined to continue to work within that mechanism to further improve the cooperation of the countries of the region and the subregion with regard to drug trafficking.

Before concluding, I should like to associate myself completely with the presidential statement to be made regarding the problem.

Mr. Muñoz (Chile)

Since this is the first time that I am taking the floor in the Security Council in my capacity as Permanent Representative of Chile, I should like at the outset to thank you, Sir, for your words of welcome and to congratulate you on the excellent way you are conducting the work of the Council. Through you, I should also like to express my best wishes to the other Council members and to the Member States that are participating in this open meeting, and to thank everyone for their words of welcome.

My Government attaches great importance to the situation in Afghanistan. It is one of today’s most important issues and is probably one of the greatest responsibilities ever assumed by the United Nations in its history.

I thank Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for their interesting and comprehensive briefings, particularly for their valuable information concerning recent events in Afghanistan, with respect both to the progress achieved and to the remaining challenges.

The task facing Afghanistan is enormous, because it is a matter of building a State and its institutions, of rebuilding its army and its police, of preparing a constitution and of effecting the profound cultural change implicit in the necessary respect for and recognition of human rights — all tasks of enormous scope. Building a democracy is not an easy task; it is obviously a long-term domestic challenge. What is indispensable in order to overcome the many obstacles inherent in the process of Afghanistan’s democratic stabilization is that the international community must continue to resolutely support the country.

We fully support the process of preparing a new constitution. In that connection, we note the creation of a constitutional drafting commission whose members reflect Afghanistan’s regional, ethnic, professional and religious diversity and, in particular, with the participation of women in the process.

While we welcome the public consultations that have begun, we share the concern expressed by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission at the increase in the number of threats, acts of intimidation, physical attacks and detentions carried out against citizens who have publicly expressed divergent political opinions or views. We believe that only through full and broad participation will the new constitution reflect the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people. Therefore, we hope that the agreed timetable will be respected and that a new founding charter can be adopted in September, as Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno indicated.

As the Security Council, we have the additional responsibility of assisting whenever necessary in the preparation of free elections. In that context, we warmly welcome the Council mission to Afghanistan planned for October, aimed at supporting that very process.

We agree that security continues to be the most serious challenge facing Afghanistan. We also share the concern expressed at the increase in attacks against personnel of international humanitarian organizations, the International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan Interim Administration by Taliban groups and other rebel elements. We therefore share the view that the priority should be to speed up reform in the area of security, including disarmament, demobilization and the reintegration of ex-combatants.

We welcome the information provided by Mr. Costa about the work being done in Afghanistan by the Office on Drugs and Crime, which is all the more valuable given the serious obstacles that it has had to face in the performance of its duties, notwithstanding the cooperation and commitment of the Afghan Government.

In Afghanistan, concerns have been raised about the results of the rapid assessment survey of opium production conducted last March, which revealed that poppy crops have been detected for the first time in various districts of the country in areas beyond where they have been traditionally grown. Nevertheless, we note the success achieved in the eradication of crops in the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan. We also salute the anti-drug efforts being made by the United Kingdom and the police control activities being carried out by Germany.

The production, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs reveal the vulnerabilities with which societies are confronted throughout the world. States cannot address this problem in isolation. It is a shared responsibility in which cooperation is essential.

While there is no single formula for dealing with this scourge, a number of approaches might possibly be helpful to this process. We agree on the importance of having a broad international approach under the auspices of the United Nations in support of the national drug strategy of the Afghan Interim Administration to eradicate the illicit cultivation of poppies, as well as efforts to combat drug trafficking, both in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries.

In this connection, we welcome the recommendations contained in the most recent report of the Office on Drugs and Crime, including on the need to address certain problems that contributed to the emergence of an economy based on the production of opium. Noteworthy among these is support for farmers to produce viable alternative crops, including the provision of equipment, seeds and fertilizers; the generation of alternative sources of income for non-farm work and, in particular, for refugees returning to the country; employment for women and access to education for children; macroeconomic structures in which the market for raw materials can be disassociated from the perverse incentives of opium production; microcredits for farmers and returnees; and, of course, the effective implementation of the law against trafficking in opium.

Lastly, I wish to note our full agreement with the consensual recommendations to be expressed by the President of the Security Council in a statement concerning the need to appeal to the international community, in collaboration with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Office on Drugs and Crime, to promote cooperation aimed at strengthening border controls between Afghanistan and its neighbours and at combating the traffic in and consumption of drugs. The challenge is undoubtedly enormous, but the first steps on this long road have already been taken.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom)

It is a privilege to follow Ambassador Muñoz in his first presentation to the Security Council. I congratulate him and wish him the best of fortune for his period in New York.

I shall say more on another occasion about the departure of Ambassador Wang Yingfan, but we all know we are going to miss his constructive wisdom in this Council and I wish him, too, the best of fortune in the future.

We have had excellent presentations this morning from Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and Executive Director Costa, and I thank them for that. I shall come back to some of their substantive remarks in a minute. The Greek presidency will make a statement for the European Union, which will set out the Union’s policy on and commitment to Afghanistan — at a cost that includes, tragically, the loss of German and Spanish lives in recent incidents.

We think that we are reaching quite a critical moment in the Bonn process. The political deadlines have largely been met, but the security situation remains too fragile. We have now reached a key point in the regeneration of Afghanistan with the Constitutional Loya Jirga due to take place in October and the elections in June next year.

The International Security Assistance Force continues to assist with security in and around Kabul, but we need to bring similar benefits to the regions. We agree with the Under-Secretary-General’s view that security across the country remains far from adequate. The provincial reconstruction teams will help with extending the authority of the central Administration, contributing to an improvement of security and facilitating security-sector reform and reconstruction. We expect the United Kingdom’s provincial reconstruction team in Mazar-i-Sharif to be operational in early July.

Meanwhile, there are encouraging signs with the recent agreement on the payment of customs revenue by regional leaders to the central Administration. This needs to be implemented in full.

Better security for the Afghan people is essential to allow faster reconstruction and economic regeneration of Afghanistan to take place. The United Kingdom is committed to helping Afghanistan achieve long-term stability, security and prosperity and to extending the progress made so far in security-sector reform to all parts of the country. President Karzai, in his visit to the United Kingdom earlier this month, was firm in his commitment to forcing through change and to securing the future economic viability of Afghanistan.

Most of what I want to say, however, is on the drug scene. Overcoming the growth in the drug trade in Afghanistan is an essential aspect of the wider challenge of political and economic regeneration. The Afghan people need the opportunity to build sustainable livelihoods in security. For as long as regional leaders have access to income from the cultivation and trafficking of illegal drugs, they will pose a threat to the Transitional Administration’s authority in the provinces.

Drug trafficking and drug abuse are pressing problems in all our societies, but the record of drug control everywhere shows that there are no quick fixes. Mr. Costa, in his excellent presentation, usefully reminded us that the illicit economy in Afghanistan includes many sectors beyond drugs. We have to be realistic and to temper high ambitions with reasonable expectations. It has always been clear that this year and next would be difficult because law enforcement has negligible reach outside Kabul and because it is too soon for development work to be delivering sustainable alternative livelihoods for farmers.

The General Assembly’s special session on drugs in 1998 called on countries to adopt comprehensive national drug strategies. Some countries have done so, but not all. The Afghan Transitional Administration deserves much credit for its unequivocal stand on the drugs problem and for the adoption on 19 May of its own national drug control strategy. The Council should now put its weight behind the implementation of that strategy. To assist the Afghan authorities in their task, the United Kingdom will increase its counter-narcotics personnel in Afghanistan over the next few months from two officials currently to a total of 14 by the end of the year in Kabul and Kandahar. We will also be committing up to $114 million to counter-narcotics work in Afghanistan over the next three years. We urge other member States that can similarly to assist the Afghan authorities in the delivery of their drug control strategy and to encourage the international financial institutions and development agencies to address the issue of rural credit rapidly.

To facilitate the full funding of the Afghan drug control strategy, and better coordination of international support for it, the United Kingdom and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are ready to assist the Afghan Transitional Administration through the organization later in the year of a conference of donors, Afghan ministries and international agencies.

The United Kingdom welcomes the emphasis that your presidency, Sir, has placed on regional cooperation against the drug trade and the intention of the Afghan Transitional Administration to hold a meeting on this issue later this year in the framework of the Declaration on Good Neighbourly Relations. The harm caused by the abuse of illegal drugs, the criminal profits from the drug trade and the international terrorism that it partly funds are threats not only to Western societies; many of Afghanistan’s near neighbours know, to their cost, the damage that the drug trade can cause. Their efforts to combat it are welcome and essential, and they are a source of experience on which Afghanistan itself may usefully be able to draw.

The United Kingdom also welcomes the outcome of last month’s conference in Paris on drug trafficking routes and the suggestions from Mr. Costa on how to give practical expression to the conference’s conclusions and to the Paris Pact. Strengthening of controls at border crossing points is an important element. The United Kingdom is funding the construction of inspection facilities at the Afghan-Turkmen border, at Serhetabad, and contributing to the equipping and training of border control personnel in Uzbekistan. The United Kingdom is also helping, jointly with Iran, to train Afghan border control personnel.

The problem of Afghan drugs cannot be solved only by action within Afghanistan. Stifling the trade in illegal drugs further afield contributes to reducing the market for the raw product and gives the Afghan authorities a better chance of succeeding in their own campaign.

The Security Council does not need to become involved in the detail of counter-narcotics work, but it is essential that we remain focused on the long-term security and political stability of Afghanistan, thereby creating the conditions in which success against the drug trade becomes possible. The presidential statement we shall adopt later in this debate meets this requirement admirably.

Mr. Arias (Spain)

I would like to begin by saying how much I regret the fact that Ambassador Wang is leaving us. I am convinced that the entire Council, both permanent and non-permanent members, will miss him, because of the common sense, moderation and expertise that he has always shown. At the same time, I want to welcome our Chilean colleague, and I wish him every success in his stay here on the Security Council and in the United Nations.

We are grateful to Mr. Guehenno for his briefing and to Mr. Costa for his very complete presentation. Spain supports the statement that will be made by Greece on behalf of the European Union.

As has been amply stated, the entire process in Afghanistan is threatened by the deterioration of security. The increase in crime, daily acts of intimidation, battling among factions, the major activity of elements linked to the Taliban and drug trafficking are all endangering the reconstruction effort. Unfortunately, for many, drugs have become a way of life in Afghanistan, and the challenge is precisely to change this way of life. It is necessary to act against the flow of money caused by the trafficking and to avoid having the money give increasing power to the warlords.

We want to see the completion of the 10-year strategy for national drug control, prepared by the Afghan Government with the assistance of the United Kingdom, and we support the emphasis that has been placed on the rule of law, on the reduction of demand and on promotion of an alternative sustainable development.

Links between the illicit traffic in drugs, organized crime and financing of terrorist activities have been reiterated in different United Nations forums. Mr. Costa has enlightened us today by highlighting the fact that the international fight against drugs means carrying out development programmes and strengthening activities with respect to reduction in supply, but also of demand. It is necessary to focus on a global approach and to address all three areas: production, trafficking and consumption.

Together with shared responsibility between consumer and producer countries, another principal area is the need to consider the drug question as an integral part of policy development and human rights. All of our countries, together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), need to increase cooperation in order to strengthen border controls, to identify and dismantle groups involved in drug trafficking, to carry out programmes to reduce demand and to offer assistance in the area of information.

The Paris Conference on drug routes from Central Asia to Europe emphasized the need for a global, well balanced and coordinated approach at the international and regional levels to tackle the drug threat. It is our hope that the so-called Paris Covenant will be fulfilled by everyone.

Lastly, in the sphere of international action, we invite the parties to the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances to contribute towards the seizure of goods in cases of drug trafficking, including money-laundering, to the specialized international organizations that are involved in the fight against drug trafficking. This is an essential aspect of international action that has already been carried out by Spain through its contribution to UNODC.

The President

With the Members’ permission, I would like to – I have to – draw your attention to the need to respect this Council. I understand that we are not in a Broadway theatre, and what is going on is not exactly a musical, but I would still request all present kindly to switch off their mobile phones and put them on silent mode. Since the last time I checked — in fact, double-checked — it was confirmed to me that all modern mobile phones are equipped with this feature. They vibrate or they do something else, but they do not produce sound which distracts speakers.

Mr. Pleuger (Germany)

At the outset, I would also like to say how much we, my delegation and I myself, regret seeing Ambassador Wang depart, and I would like to thank him for his always friendly and professional collegiality that he has shared with everyone in this Council. I would like to wish him well in his future very responsible job that he is about to take up. I would also like to welcome Mr. Muñoz in the crowd here and to wish him a good start. I promise him our collegial support.

I would then like to thank Mr. Guéhenno and Mr. Costa for the detailed and comprehensive reports they gave us this morning. I would also say that my delegation fully associates itself with the statement that will be made by Greece on behalf of the European Union later in this discussion.

As we have heard this morning in the impressive statements of Mr. Costa and Mr. Guéhenno, security is of the essence in the present state of the implementation of the Bonn process in Afghanistan. Security in Afghanistan at present is severely threatened by terrorism and organized crime, the major challenges facing foreign policy in the twenty-first century. These plagues of humanity can be defeated only if we join forces and take action on a global scale. In this context, the issue of drug production and smuggling from Afghanistan is of paramount importance, and I therefore welcome the initiative of the Russian presidency to have this discussion here today. The presidential statement that will be adopted at the end of this meeting will provide further evidence of the resolve of the international community to make use of its tools in the fight again the drug problem. The relevance of today’s debate has, once again, been sadly confirmed by the recent killing of seven Afghans involved in anti-drug programmes in Uruzgan province.

Sadly, opium and heroin production in Afghanistan has risen again dramatically in recent times. Afghanistan, once again, is expected to be the largest producer of opium in 2003. All efforts of the international community in this regard have so far proven to be insufficient. Therefore, we must search for comprehensive ways of effectively reducing and combating this threat to Afghanistan itself, the region and other countries. This fight is not just about drugs. There are close links between drug crimes and other forms of organized crime: arms smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, corruption and terrorism.

The current situation in Afghanistan is marked by the fact that more than 20 years of armed conflict eradicated many basic State structures, prevented economic development and produced a fragmented, yet fully armed, society. A continuing atmosphere of insecurity and instability, in particular outside Kabul, makes security-sector reform the most important and pressing task, as well as a prerequisite for the fight against illicit opium production and trafficking.

Drug smuggling and the structures of organized crime pose a particular threat to young democracies. The rule of law and State authority are being undermined, and, especially along the smuggling routes, ever more serious addiction problems emerge, with all their consequences. The reconstruction of a functioning police system throughout Afghanistan is a vital pillar of the international efforts to create security for this war-torn country. Against that background and at the request of the United Nations and the former Afghan Interim Administration, Germany assumed the lead role in rebuilding the Afghan police force, including the anti-drug and border police forces – a task that is closely linked to that done by the other four lead nations in the security sector and in their respective areas of responsibility.

In particular, our support in training personnel and in providing equipment for the Afghan anti-drug police force is being closely coordinated with other States and institutions. In addition to Britain, which has assumed the leading role in the fight against illicit drugs, I would like to give special mention to the United States and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. We are pleased that France, too, wants to help establish a national drugs laboratory.

We can be proud of what has been achieved so far in this context. The infrastructures of the national criminal police and the national drug police have been re-established with contributions from the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Nations Drug Control Programme. The police force in Kabul is able to work again, thanks to the reconstruction of its buildings and to new equipment. The reorganization of the police and of the Ministry of the Interior is making good progress. A structure for the national police and the new Afghan Border Police, comprising border patrol and immigration units, has been established, and Afghanistan has become a member of Interpol. Building the Border Police will be another vital task, linking both the anti-drug efforts and the rebuilding of the Afghan National Army with the police project.

However, we will not have any real success until the Afghan police force can ensure law and order in those provinces hit especially hard by drugs. We know that the Afghan Government has good intentions but neither the means nor the strength necessary to assert its authority outside Kabul. Extending the reconstruction of the security sector to the provinces is the big challenge now. In many provinces, that challenge will be chiefly financial and organizational. In others, it will also entail important security problems that cannot be tackled by police means alone. To successfully integrate all provinces by the end of 2004, instability resulting from fighting among regional commanders, ethnic groups and their militias must end.

In the reconstruction of the Afghan police, financing has been a problem, though not a restricting factor as yet. The principal source for police salaries, the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, administered by the United Nations Development Programme is struggling with insufficient funding, among other difficulties. International contributions towards police reconstruction also do not fully meet the needs. The overall cost of reconstruction, equipment and training for the national police over the next four years has been estimated at approximately 180 million euros, excluding salaries. The reconstruction of the Afghan Border Police is estimated at approximately 200 million euros over the next four years. The targeted amount of donor participation has, to this point, fallen short of that mark. The level of development and achievement in the security sector and the success of the fight against opium production and trafficking in Afghanistan will depend not only on positive developments in the general security situation, but in particular on the participation of the international community.

Combating drug production and trafficking will be the litmus test of the ability of lead nations in the security sector to achieve synergies in their overlapping fields of responsibility. That will continue to require well coordinated efforts and commitment from all Afghan and international actors in the security sector. However, the success of all our efforts to eradicate illicit drugs depends not only on credible enforcement measures but, at the same time, on the availability of alternative sources of livelihood for farmers and on a comprehensive improvement of the socio-political environment. Germany is ready to continue its contribution in that regard in the interest of the people of Afghanistan.

Mr. Negroponte (United States)

Thank you, Mr. President, for hosting this meeting today on the pressing problem of Afghan narcotics. I, too, would like to join other colleagues in expressing my appreciation, and the appreciation of our delegation, for the fine work that Ambassador Wang Yingfan of China has carried out here during his tenure as Permanent Representative of his country to the United Nations. We will miss his wise counsel. We have very fond memories of the work that we have done together here. I would also like to join our colleagues in welcoming Mr. Heraldo Muñoz of Chile as he takes up his responsibilities as representative of his country to the United Nations.

The 2003 Afghan opium poppy harvest may be as large as that of 2002, which was a record year. The resurgence of opium cultivation further erodes the security environment in Afghanistan and threatens reconstruction efforts. The message here is that we should do more and should do it better. Trade in Afghan opiates generates funds that corrupt institutions, finance terrorism and insurgency and destabilize the region. These funds also support the organized crime syndicates involved in the grey arms market. Moreover, the opium trade spreads drug abuse and HIV/AIDS across the region, including to Russia and Europe. A shift in opium poppy cultivation from prime agricultural land to more remote areas, as reported in the April 2003 Opium Rapid Assessment, of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, is an alarming trend. It shows that poppy production is being pushed into more marginal areas. It also demonstrates the need to mainstream counter-narcotics programmes into overall development assistance and the urgent need to establish law and order in rural areas.

The opium economy cannot be addressed in isolation. Enforcement of the poppy ban needs to be increased. Farmers require viable alternatives to illicit crops and credit is needed throughout rural Afghanistan. As we fight production in Afghanistan, we also need to deal with trafficking in neighbouring States.

Counter-narcotic efforts will be most successful in the larger context of economic and democratic reform, but they cannot succeed until basic security and the rule of law are established in areas outside of Kabul. The United States is committed to helping build the Afghan Transitional Authority’s capacity to run effective counter-narcotics programmes and reduce poppy cultivation and trade through alternative livelihood programmes. We are working with the Transitional Authority to build a national police force.

My Government supports the United Kingdom’s lead on counter-narcotics and the German lead on police training. We are showing this support with more than $60 million in funding in these areas. My Government also supports many projects developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. We are contributing to alternative development, drug treatment and reduction programmes, and we are helping to build Afghan national capacities for drug policy-making and drug enforcement. In coordination with the German Government, we are implementing a $26 million police and justice programme that includes equipment and training for the Afghan police and the establishment of an identification card system and a communications network for the police. We are in the process of planning, with our German colleagues, an expansion of police training in the provinces. Outside of Kabul, including in Afghanistan’s neighbouring States, we need to seek new ways and methods of joining forces through coordination, better information sharing, regional approaches and, when the circumstances are right, through combined or joint operations, as we have done on certain occasions.

The United States strongly supports the efforts in Afghanistan of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, as well as the proposals of the Paris Pact put forward by Executive Director Costa in Paris last month. My Government is also committed to helping establish the border police, and we are working closely with Germany and the rest of the international community to coordinate assistance for this important function. We are providing communications equipment for the launch of the border police takeover of Kabul International Airport as of 1 June. We remain committed to working with Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbours to strengthen legal and institutional capacities to confront the drug trafficking that poses as much a threat to their own integrity as it does to that of Afghanistan. We urge Council members and other Member States, especially those most threatened by the trade in heroine originating in Afghanistan to join in combating this evil trade before its influence becomes even more pervasive.

The United States remains concerned at the upswing in violence in both Kabul and the provinces, most recently with the suicide attack that killed four German personnel of the International Security Assistance Force on 7 June. Taliban and Al Qaeda elements now appear to be targeting foreigners, military and civilian, rather than engaging coalition forces. Coalition forces continue to root out these elements in the field, while the Afghan national army and Afghan police are trained. The Afghan national army has deployed some of its first trained units to work with United States special forces, most notably in Bamian, and has received high marks. The Afghan national army has also suffered its first casualties from hostile fire.

We have helped to put up three provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs, in Gardez, Bamian and Konduz, and a total of eight such teams are currently planned with an option for creating more of them. We are looking at ways to improve those teams and enhance their capability. We believe provincial reconstruction teams have made significant contributions to stability within their area of operations, and we are working with other countries to lead additional such teams.

With regard to the national elections to be held in June 2004, as called for by the Bonn Agreement, we are told that UNAMA has begun preparatory work, including voter education and registration programmes. However, we have as yet to see a formal plan and the associated budget for this effort, and time is growing short. We understand that the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division proposes to fund the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in this area out of voluntary contributions at a cost that is estimated at more than $100 million. The United States urges all countries to provide the maximum financial support possible for the electoral process in Afghanistan.

We note with concern that the Afghan Transitional Authority is facing a shortfall of $181 million in their recurring budget. It is critically important that donors accelerate pledges to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, and identify additional funds to cover that gap. The United States will soon disperse $20 million to the Trust Fund and will review possible additional contributions. We would urge other member countries in a position to do so to contribute to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund as soon as possible.

Finally, while our policy discussions here in the Council today are important, ultimately the resources that we devote to dealing with Afghanistan’s serious problems can make a decisive difference. In addition to the considerable outlay for Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States will expend almost $1 billion this year on reconstruction and humanitarian relief and for budget support in Afghanistan. We invite Council members and other Member States to provide timely and significant financial support, as well.

Mr. Wang Yingfan (China)

First of all, I would like to thank the Russian Mission for arranging this public meeting. I also wish to thank Mr. Guéhenno and Mr. Costa for their detailed briefings.

We are glad to note that with the support and assistance from the international community the Afghan Transitional Administration, headed by President Karzai, has made unremitting efforts to reach the goals set in the Bonn Agreement. Afghanistan is now preparing for the Constitutional Loya Jirga, to be held this October. We hope that the new Constitution will serve to reinforce ethnic unity, social justice, rule of law and national stability.

At the present time, security is still an issue of concern in some places in Afghanistan, as the recent suicide bombing attacks against the International Security Assistance Force has clearly shown. The international community should adopt peaceful measures to assist the Transitional Administration in its efforts to build the army and police forces and complete the programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration at an early date.

We would also like to urge the various parties in Afghanistan to demonstrate good faith in pursuing national reconciliation and thus contribute to peace in and the reconstruction of their country.

Drugs are the enemy of the entire human race, and the drug issue has been closely linked with such organized transnational crimes as terrorism, money-laundering and human trafficking. The drug problem in Afghanistan has seriously affected the country’s stability and economic development and has become an increasingly destabilizing factor in the region. Curbing drug production and cracking down on drug smuggling are common objectives for Afghanistan and other countries in the region, as well as for the entire international community.

The Chinese Government appreciates the measures adopted by the Transitional Administration to root out the drug problem and the positive role played by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Kingdom and France in this regard.

We favour taking timely action to formulate an international strategy against the Afghan drug threat and promote international cooperation in related areas under the leadership of the United Nations. In order to sever the source of drugs and effectively resolve the drug issue, efforts should be made to develop substitute crops and improve the rural economic and social environment so that farmers will earn income through legal means and free themselves from their dependence on drug production. The international community should increase its input in and funding for assistance to the Transitional Administration in policy-making.

During the recent visit of Vice-President Shaharani to China, the two sides signed a number of agreements, including one on economic and technical cooperation. We are now speeding up construction of the Parwan irrigation project and Kabul public hospital project. China will continue to cooperate with the various parties and work together with them for peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Finally, I once again thank the Council President and colleagues for the kind and encouraging words that they have addressed to me.

Mr. Gaspar Martins (Angola)

I would like at the outset to address to Ambassador Wang my words of thanks. He has been a very inspiring voice on this Council. His wisdom, consistently constructive attitude, tolerance and conviviality will be missed by all members of the Council. I wish him great success as he embarks on his new mission from his great country. I am sure that his inspiring leadership will be a positive factor in this new phase.

I would also like to extend to Ambassador Muñoz of Chile a very warm welcome. I look forward to working very closely with him, as I did with his predecessor.

I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important debate to discuss ways to reinforce peace and security in Afghanistan and especially for giving the Council the opportunity to address the combat against the production and trafficking of illicit drugs in Afghanistan. I join previous speakers in thanking Mr. Guéhenno and Mr. Costa for their excellent and substantial briefings before the Council.

Afghanistan has been in the past years the focus of concern of the international community since it became a centre for international terrorist networks, as well as one of the world’s largest sources of drugs — twin scourges that the international community has identified as constituting serious threats to international peace and security.

The Bonn Agreement, signed in December 2001 by representatives of several anti-Taliban factions and political groups, has set the framework for international peacekeeping, the establishment of peace and security, the reconstruction of the country, the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights, demilitarization and social integration.

As was stressed in Mr. Brahimi’s last briefing to the Council on 6 May, Afghanistan is still far from meeting the conditions for the complete implementation of the Bonn Agreement. Security remains the most serious challenge and must be improved to allow the establishment of the rule of law to promote reconstruction efforts and facilitate the success of the complex political process, including the development of a new Constitution and the holding of free and fair elections.

The work accomplished and efforts undertaken by the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, as lead nations, in assisting the Afghan authorities in implementing the Bonn Agreement are very commendable. The international community’s assistance, if integrated in a broader context of reconstruction for development and closer cooperation between Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, could enable the Afghan Transitional Administration to better neutralize the threat posed by the remnants of the Taliban and by the illicit production and trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan.

The production of illicit drugs in Afghanistan is indeed an extremely sensitive issue and remains a matter of great international concern. The substitution programme of poppy cultivation administered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and by the Afghan National Security Council can constitute a coherent strategy, but it will produce results only when security is established and the economic situation is stabilized.

In our view, such a programme should be reinforced through the implementation of the measures contained in President Karzai’s recent plan, particularly through the promotion of alternative means of earning a living and fresh professional opportunities for the Afghan rural population; through the assistance of the Afghan Transitional Administration in enforcing the ban introduced in January 2002 on opium poppy cultivation and the illicit production, manufacture and trafficking of drugs; through identifying and disabling the entire network of trans-border criminal groups involved in the supply and sale of drugs from Afghanistan, including the prevention of drugs-related money-laundering; and through effective measures to curtail the demand for and trafficking in those illicit drugs in the countries of destination.

Assistance in combating illicit opium cultivation and the trafficking of drugs is essential, not just for Afghanistan itself, but for the Central Asian region as a whole. Any increase in opium output in Afghanistan continues to have a very negative impact on the economy and the development of neighbouring countries, now mainly transit routes of illicit traffic. While they are only transit routes, they are increasingly becoming consumption markets, bringing devastating socio-economic consequences and posing a security threat to the whole region.

Therefore, we believe that the lead nations, as well as the rest of the international community, should reinforce their assistance to the drug-control efforts of Afghanistan’s transitional authorities, particularly in developing and strengthening African drug control and law-enforcement agencies, in assisting in the creation of a judicial framework and institutions consistent with international conventions, and in enhancing regional cross-border cooperation. The production and trafficking of illicit drugs in Afghanistan constitutes a global challenge. The Afghan Transitional Administration can succeed only if the international community continues to provide its support for the sustainable development and long-term security of the country.

Let me reaffirm my country’s firm conviction that peace and security will be possible in Afghanistan only if and when the international community succeeds in decisively redressing the growth of opium cultivation, which makes it the crux of the war that is still to be fully controlled in that country. In that connection, and in conclusion, I should like to express my delegation’s full support for the presidential statement that will be issued as the outcome of this Security Council meeting on the problem of drugs in Afghanistan.

Mr. Khalid (Pakistan)

Before I begin, I should like to join previous speakers in conveying my delegation’s best wishes to Ambassador Wang Yingfan and to say that we shall sorely miss his presence at this table. We should also like to extend a very warm welcome to the new Permanent Representative of Chile, Ambassador Muñoz.

We should like to thank you, Sir, for convening this meeting on Afghanistan, with its special emphasis on the problem of illicit narcotics. In that regard, I also wish to thank Mr. Guéhenno and Mr. Costa for their briefings.

Afghanistan today is a major source of the world’s opium. It is also a major point of origin for much of the illicit morphine, heroin and hashish that are available on the street. Therefore, this drug problem is not just Afghanistan’s problem; it is also a serious problem for Afghanistan’s neighbours and for the regions beyond.

Over the years, in an environment of conflict and lawlessness, Afghanistan became a primary locus for drugs. Although opium production in Afghanistan almost disappeared in the year 2000, it has since increased significantly. Last year, opium production stood at 3,400 metric tons. The projections for this year are for nearly the same level of production, if not more. An area whose size is estimated at 74,000 hectares remains under opium cultivation.

The problem of illicit narcotics in Afghanistan is a cross-cutting one that not only affects that country’s relief and reconstruction efforts but is also exacerbated by the general lack of security and lawlessness in the country. Ordinary Afghans continue to live in fear of armed men, from ordinary brigands to powerful warlords. Factional fighting and ethnic and even internecine conflict mar much of the landscape. Added to that are the activities of the Taliban and of other rebel elements that have recently targeted not only coalition forces and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel but also international humanitarian staff, including demining personnel and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials. Pakistan unequivocally condemns all such acts, as well as attempts to undermine the authority of President Karzai. Only last week, President Musharraf once again made it amply clear that the Taliban was not good for Afghanistan and that it is not good for Pakistan.

For Pakistan, the Government of President Karzai is the only legitimate authority, and therefore only its writ — not those of the self-styled commanders — should run throughout the country. Until the authority of the Afghan Transitional Administration is extended throughout the country, the lawlessness and the security threats will continue. The lack of security and of law and order is the basic catalyst for the illicit production and trafficking of narcotics. Such activities are fed by abject poverty and a lack of alternative livelihoods. They are perpetuated and protected by influential commanders who defy the decrees of the central Government and flout the ban on growing poppy. As long as the drug trade flourishes, the prospects of peace and stability in Afghanistan — as well as the chances for its recovery and reconstruction — will remain dim.

The drug problem in Afghanistan also has serious implications for its neighbours, particularly Pakistan. Before the conflict began in Afghanistan, the number of drug addicts in Pakistan was negligible; today, there are nearly 3.5 million of them. That is in spite of the fact that Pakistan has taken strong and effective measures to deal with drug production on its side of the border. Pakistan is no longer a poppy-cultivating country; its production of poppy, amounting to 800 metric tons in the early 1990s, has now come down to almost zero. Yet the illicit trafficking in narcotics from Afghanistan continues. Last year, Pakistani law-enforcement authorities seized 2,700 kilograms of opium, 6,800 kilograms of morphine, 5,900 kilograms of heroin and 85,000 kilograms of hashish. That amounted to 67 per cent by volume of all the drugs seized in the region surrounding Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the illicit outflow of narcotics has increased even more this year. In one raid alone, our authorities intercepted 1,350 kilograms of heroin.

The problem of the production of and trade in illicit narcotics originating in Afghanistan is growing. In our view, there needs to be a comprehensive and coordinated approach, not only to interdict the illicit trafficking of drugs, but also to deal with their source. Pakistan welcomes the decree issued by President Karzai on 17 January 2003 banning the production of opium, and calls on the international community to provide all possible assistance to the Afghan Government to help implement its national drug control strategy to eliminate drug production by the year 2013. We also support the lead role taken by the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively, to help build Afghan capacities in counter-narcotics and law enforcement. Pakistan also participated in the Ministerial Conference on Drug Routes from Central Asia to Europe, held last month in Paris, and supports its outcome as another milestone in evolving a comprehensive approach to the drug problem in Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, such a comprehensive approach must begin with effective measures inside Afghanistan. These include strengthened law enforcement and the extension of State authority to all parts of the country, especially over all the border controls and customs posts. At the same time, there is also a need to wean Afghan farmers away from poppy cultivation. This will require the provision of immediate assistance in crop substitution and income support to the affected Afghan farmers and landless labourers. Anti-opium production strategies must be mainstreamed into the national reconstruction programmes and integrated into rural development strategies, giving priority to major areas under opium poppy cultivation, especially in the south-eastern areas of Afghanistan.

Pakistan, with its own successes in curbing opium production, providing alternative livelihoods to farmers and drug interdiction, stands ready to work with the international community to assist the Afghan Government in meeting its counter-narcotics goals. The best framework for promoting regional cooperation in counter-narcotics has remained the existing framework of the existing framework of the “six-plus-two” mechanism, which has had a successful history, at least in the area of regional counter-narcotics cooperation.

However, no counter-narcotics mechanism can be effective unless neighbouring countries continue to receive international support. Neighbouring States, such as Pakistan, are in the front line of the war against drugs and face the brunt of its consequences. It is they who, after Afghanistan, require the most assistance in counter-narcotics, especially in bolstering their law enforcement capacities. A coordinated approach based on sharing information – involving Afghan authorities, the neighbouring States and coalition forces – can make effective headway in dismantling illegal drug laboratories and destroying stockpiles of narcotics.

While interdiction methods are useful, the problem of illicit drug manufacturing cannot be effectively tackled unless the chemical precursors used in drug manufacturing — especially acetic anhydride — can be prevented from reaching the illicit laboratories in Afghanistan. The most effective way to do this is to trace back the supply of the precursors to their countries of origin and to eliminate them at source. In this, countries which produce these chemicals bear a special responsibility to prevent their outflow. Without the precursors, there would be no illicit heroin or morphine.

No measure to counter the threat of drugs can be effective unless it can address both the demand and the supply sides of the illegal drug trade. Reducing the supply of drugs must take place alongside effective demand reduction. In dismantling the networks engaged in smuggling illicit narcotics, special attention needs to be paid also to tracing back and prosecuting its financing at source. Demand-reduction strategies must be evolved not only for Afghanistan and the transit States, but also for countries which are the destination markets. The street price for drugs in Afghanistan or its neighbouring States is negligible compared to that available in the destination States. Unless strong enforcement action is taken — not only against the suppliers, but also against the consumers and financiers of illicit drugs in destination States — the drug problem will not go away.

Let me conclude by once again strongly supporting the pledges made by President Karzai to eliminate illicit drug production and to control all trafficking and abuse of drugs in Afghanistan. It is in the interest of all of us to work together to assist Afghanistan in this endeavour. We look forward to the day when Afghanistan is free from drugs and its neighbours, especially Pakistan, are also safe from this scourge.

The President

I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of the Russian Federation.

The successful conclusion of the historic transformation of Afghan society is a critical challenge to the United Nations today. Significant work has already been done. Under the Bonn Agreement, normalcy is gradually being built in Afghanistan and the national State institutions are gaining strength. To say that the peace process has been concluded is clearly premature, however. We have all seen the difficulties encountered by the Afghan Transitional Administration in overcoming the legacies of the past. The terrorist actions against the International Security Assistance Force and the coalition forces are visible proof of the danger of a resurgence of the Taliban and other extremist elements.

It is necessary to continue to provide multilateral assistance to the central Afghan Government in order to enhance its ability to govern the country independently. We are convinced that we must support those Afghan forces that have proven themselves to be consistent fighters against the Taliban regime and the Al Qaeda terrorist network. It is also important to avert interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, including through the development of specific measures for the practical implementation of the Declaration on Good-neighbourly Relations, adopted in Kabul in December 2002.

The Security Council has regularly monitored the situation in Afghanistan. We have already discussed the issues of security, political reform and economic assistance. It is important to pursue a focused discussion of Afghanistan’s current problems. Russia has today suggested centring the discussion on the challenge of combating the Afghan drug threat.

Russia is located on the historic crossroads of world trade routes that now overlap the channels of world drug trafficking. Because of its geographic situation, attempts have been made to use our country as a convenient transit bridge for smuggling Afghan drugs. This is particularly true with respect to heroin from Afghanistan, which is spreading ever further, not only in Russia and Europe as a whole, but also in North America, Japan and Australia.

Hence the task of developing a comprehensive approach to combating the Afghan drug threat. We need an effective and comprehensive strategy of international action, whereby internal Afghan measures are organically supplemented by efforts around and beyond Afghanistan.

We deeply appreciate the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the efforts of donor countries in response to the decisions taken at the Geneva conference on Afghanistan, held in April 2002, to resolve the drug problem within that country. Russia supports the measures adopted within this process to establish anti-drug agencies in Afghanistan, strengthen their potential and the capacities of law enforcement agencies and develop alternative economics. We also note the contribution made by the lead countries in these areas: the United Kingdom in combating drugs, Germany in police training and Italy in criminal justice.

It is clear, however, that the efforts under way remain inadequate. We need in particular to organize the systematic search for and destruction within Afghanistan of illegal narcotics caches and underground laboratories. Greater attention must be focused on intercepting drug couriers. We see once again the ineluctable link between the tasks of fighting drugs and of establishing security, law and order in Afghanistan. We expect this issue to be taken seriously into account by the provincial reconstruction teams.

Considering the ongoing gravity of the problem, the countries neighbouring Afghanistan must undertake additional and sometimes extraordinary steps to strengthen counter-narcotic capacities along their borders. Establishing anti-narcotic security belts — first on Afghanistan’s borders and then on those of its neighbours — would help substantially to enhance the effectiveness of efforts to sever flows of Afghan opiates into major markets. Russia actively interacts in this sphere with United Nations agencies and countries of the region. A large portion of Russia’s annual voluntary contribution to the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) fund is used precisely for these purposes. As a result of implementing, under its auspices, a project in 2000 and 2001 to assist a team of the Russian federal border service in Tajikistan, our success in combating smuggling on the Tajik and Afghan border was enhanced nine-fold. Last year, Russian border officials seized more than 4 tonnes of narcotics, including more than 2.3 tonnes of heroin. Since the beginning of this year alone, we have seized about 2 tonnes of narcotics, 1.2 tonnes of which was heroin.

We are seeing greater effectiveness in counter-narcotic cooperation through the agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, within which special mechanisms and agencies have been set up.

The problem of the drug threat from Afghanistan is not confined to regional frameworks. It affects the vitally important security spheres of the entire international community. The illegal trade in Afghan drugs is truly global and justifiably placed within a category of new threats. The drug threat is closely connected with money laundering. It breeds organized crime. It provides financial resources for those who organize terrorist acts. We are fully justified in talking about a new threat, called narco-terrorism.

In these circumstances, it is critical to step up multilateral cooperation to strengthen border, customs and law enforcement agencies of countries that lie along the corridors of the illegal drug routes for Afghan narcotics. It is very important to implement the measures approved in the ministerial document of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs and in the Paris Pact. It is in the interest of the entire international community to identify and neutralize the whole chain of transnational criminal groups that deliver and market Afghan drugs, including taking steps to stop the laundering of drug income.

We need to develop practical steps to cut off supplies into Afghanistan of precursors for the production of heroin. Also, this is an external, not internal, factor in the Afghan drug threat. It is up to foreign Governments to make efforts to reduce the demand for drugs, including preventive measures, treatment and the rehabilitation of drug addicts. We hope that today’s multilaterally engaged discussion will allow the Security Council to make a decision focused on joining, under United Nations auspices, the efforts of all interested States, of international financial and other organizations, in order to implement, in practice, a multilateral, comprehensive approach to combating the Afghan drug threat, in the interest of creating the basis for political, social and economic stability in Afghanistan and for strengthening security in the region.

I now resume my functions as President of the Security Council.

I give the floor to the representative of Afghanistan.

Mr. Farhadi (Afghanistan)

I would like to express our gratitude to you, Sir, for convening this open meeting. Your great experience and knowledge about Afghanistan and the Afghanistan problem will be very helpful in guiding this meeting and also for the drafting and approval of the Presidential statement to be delivered at the conclusion of this meeting.

This debate will allow Security Council and other United Nations members to express their views on the subject. Furthermore, such an open debate presents an occasion to evaluate and assess the politico-economic developments of the country and the implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions. The views expressed by Member States could also be applied to the formulation of new strategies and policies to promote and consolidate peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the region.

Last month, on 6 May 2003, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Ambassador Brahimi, presented a comprehensive report on the situation in Afghanistan. I am very grateful to Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guehenno for his briefing today. I also thank Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Their statements were very interesting and essential. Mr. Brahimi described the continued implementation last month of the Bonn Agreement by the Transitional Afghan Government and the challenges facing the Government in discharging its functions. Since his briefing was comprehensive and covered a broad range of issues, we would like to pinpoint some aspects of the developments in Afghanistan between the last briefing and that of today. We would like to highlight some major problems that need the sustained attention of the international community.

First of all, there is the recovery and reconstruction and its impacts on peace and security. The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution on Afghanistan adopted on 6 December 2002 (A/RES/57/113 A-B), underscored the interrelationship between reconstruction and the consolidation of peace. The fourteenth preambular paragraph of Part A of the resolution recognized the need for continued strong international commitment to rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes and indicated that visible progress in this regard could further enhance the Government’s authority and greatly contribute to the peace process. The same resolution, in the sixteenth preambular paragraph of Part B, clearly indicated that economic recovery and reconstruction in Afghanistan and the security and improvement in the lives of the Afghan people are closely interrelated.

Furthermore, the United Nations Secretary-General, in paragraph 7 of his report (S/2002/737) dated 11 July 2002 concerning the enhancement of security in Afghanistan insightfully refers to the drastic impact of limited resources on the efforts of the Transitional Government to widen its authority:

“The Interim Administration’s efforts to extend its influence and control have been hampered … by the limited resources at its disposal. These limitations have affected its ability to provide services, build roads and create jobs”.

Again, in paragraph 70 of his recent report dated 18 March 2003 (A/57/762S/2003/333), the Secretary-General rightly reiterates the importance of reconstruction in the country:

“Too many Afghans remain dissatisfied at the pace of reconstruction and economic development, and await their ‘peace dividend'”.

We strongly believe that the consolidation of peace, security and stability largely depends on the international community’s sustained engagement in providing the necessary assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan’s social and economic infrastructure. It is worthwhile mentioning before the Council the two major lessons learned during the past 18 months since the establishment of the new Government in Afghanistan.

First, it is imperative that the international community channels its assistance through the national development budget of the Afghan Transitional Authority and focuses its attention on building the capacity of the Afghan Government. A relevant mechanism for the monitoring of the expenditures could be established.

Secondly, additional resources are needed, beyond the pledges made in Tokyo in January 2002. In view of the level of destruction caused by 23 years of conflict and based on the in-depth evaluation carried out by the Afghan Government, President Karzai, during his recent official visit to the United Kingdom, renewed his plea for an additional $15 billion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. In that regard, a new pledging conference should be considered.

With respect to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), the Afghan Government is of the view that effective DDR is a central element of long-term peace-building and conflict prevention in Afghanistan. It was with that conviction that Afghanistan attended the second Tokyo conference, hosted by the Government of Japan on 22 February 2003, which aimed to mobilize international support for the process of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. In that regard, we will launch the DDR process by the end of this month, in accordance with a timetable and appropriate plan. The Afghan Ministry of Defence and other ministries concerned are deploying major efforts in that field.

It is obvious that disarmament entails the collection of arms and ammunition; demobilization implies the separation of combatants from military service or armed troops. Unlike disarmament and demobilization, which can be described as being time-bound, reintegration is a process. As such, it demands a sustainable reintegration programme encompassing the immediate and long-term social and economic inclusion of former combatants into their communities as productive and law-abiding citizens. The viable creation of economic growth and development, the establishment of income-generating projects, the provision of education and training programmes and the response to the psycho-social impact of war should all be part of that programme. This requires the launching of major projects, such as the reconstruction of highways, providing employment for workers. It also requires the construction or reconstruction of major installations such as textile and cement factories. However, if DDR is to be an integrated process, there can be no gaps or delays as a result of slow funding. The success of DDR has major implications for the security of the country. It is fundamentally dependent on economic growth and on the creation of employment. Ex-combatants must be able to earn a living by legitimate means.

We would like to avail ourselves of this opportunity to express the gratitude of the Afghan Government to the Government of Japan, as the lead nation, for its generous contribution in funding the DDR process in Afghanistan.

With respect to narcotics, which has been the main topic of discussion today, poppy cultivation and the production and trafficking of illicit drugs remain a major national concern. Afghanistan’s opium economy grew as a consequence of the degradation of agriculture and economic infrastructure due to more than 23 years of war. There is a strong political will for the eradication of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. To that effect, the Afghan Government has issued two decrees banning the cultivation, production, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs. However, the practical success of the implementation of those decrees depends to a large extent upon credible law enforcement and the availability of alternative sources of livelihood for farmers. Supporting the central institutions of Afghanistan in establishing and consolidating effective Government control over the opium-producing areas is essential for any drug control strategy. Likewise, other initiatives should focus on re-establishing a sustainable rural economy not only for landowners but also for seasonal labourers and labour forces involved in the opium economy. We feel that much attention is given to the cultivation of poppy in Afghanistan. Giving attention to the cultivation of a few alternative crops with an international market value is vitally important.

To that effect, the Afghan Government has prepared the Afghan national drug control strategy. That strategy encompasses programmes for alternative livelihoods, the enhancement of the capacity of law enforcement agencies and the improvement of national legislation. My Government, with the support of the international community, is committed to eliminating opium production through the implementation of the national long-term drug control strategy by the year 2013.

We are thankful to the Government of the United Kingdom, which, as lead nation, is working closely with Afghan authorities, donors and the United Nations to integrate provincial anti-drug activities and to identify quick-impact and long-term alternative livelihood programmes and infrastructure projects.

We would also like to thank France for convening the conference on drug routes from Central Asia to Europe, held in Paris on 21 and 22 May. We are committed to cooperating closely with all regional and international efforts to combat the cultivation, production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs. The Afghan authorities welcome the decision taken by the Group of Eight to assist Afghanistan in its effort to combat the cultivation and trafficking of opium.

On 18 May 2003, in order to strengthen and consolidate the Afghan structures and to improve financial and administrative systems in Afghanistan, the National Security Council of Afghanistan held a meeting and took a number of important decisions in the presence of the governors of provinces that generate customs revenues. Under article 2 of the outcome, all the income of the provinces should be deposited in the central treasury. This effort by the Government to centralize revenue collection was welcomed by the Afghan people and by provincial governors and has yielded tangible results.

Work on the new constitution is progressing, and the Government remains engaged in the formulation of the new constitution. Work on the constitution has entered a new phase of public consultation. The process will take up to 50 days to complete with the help of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Constitutional Review Commission. The first office of the Commission has now been opened in Kandahar, and field offices will be opened in Kunduz, Mazar-e-Sharif, Bamyan, Herat, Gardez and Jalalabad. The main purpose of these offices will be to lay the groundwork for public debate on the new Afghan constitution. This will provide the opportunity for every Afghan, regardless of ethnic origin, language, sex, religious sect or political affiliation, to express himself or herself freely and openly and to voice opinions on what will become the constitution of Afghanistan.

Let me express our sincere gratitude to the United Nations, to the United States of America, to all countries members of the International Security Assistance Force – especially the lead nations: the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands – and to the anti-terrorist coalition forces for their remarkable performance in assisting Afghans to create a more stable and peaceful environment following the collapse of Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in 2001. We welcome NATO’s decision to provide leadership and expanded logistical assistance for the United-Nations-mandated ISAF in Afghanistan starting in August 2003.

Afghanistan supports and welcomes the establishment of the provincial reconstruction teams. That initiative contributes much to the cause of security and to the development of various parts of the country.

Afghanistan endorses and supports the statement prepared by the President of the Security Council and would like to stress its recognition that Afghanistan continues to need considerable political and financial support from the international community and the fact that it urges donors to meet their commitments.

Last but not least, allow me to express on behalf of the Government and the people of Afghanistan our deepest condolences to the Government and the people of Germany on the death of German members of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The cowardly suicide attack which took place on 7 June was carried out by terrorists who are against peace, stability, development and prosperity for the Afghan people. In the face of such a threat, the countries in the region should extend and reinforce their cooperation against terrorism, extremism and fanaticism within the framework of Security Council resolutions, particularly resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1373 (2001). For the same purpose, the forces engaged in combating and containing the spread of terrorism in Afghanistan and the region should be further strengthened. To that effect the Afghan Government renews its request to the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council to consider the provision of adequate resources, equipment and training for professional personnel for the effective combat against and annihilation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in and around Afghanistan.

The President

A number of speakers remain on my list. I propose, with the consent of Council members, to suspend the meeting until 3 p.m.

The meeting was suspended at 1.25 p.m.
Source Code of undemocracy.com protected by AGPL Open Knowledge