The situation in Afghanistan
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Liu Zhenmin
|Mr. Le Luong Minh
Adoption of the agenda
The situation in Afghanistan
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter from the representative of Afghanistan, in which he requests 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 that representative to participate in the consideration of the item, 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.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council also have before them document S/2008/376, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by Afghanistan, Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.
It is my understanding that the Security Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. If I hear no objection, I shall now put the draft resolution to the vote.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0
Belgium, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Libya, Panama, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam
There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 1817 (2008).
I now give the floor to those members of the Council who wish to make statements following the voting.
France welcomes the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 1817 (2008) on combating the trafficking in chemical precursors of heroin in Afghanistan, which is one part of the overall fight against drug production and trafficking, on the eve of the international conference in support of Afghanistan, which will be held in Paris tomorrow, 12 June 2008. The conference reflects France’s renewed commitment to Afghanistan, as decided upon by the President of the French Republic, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy. Its primary aim is to reaffirm the international community’s political and financial support for reconstruction in Afghanistan. It will also serve to review the objectives and approaches of donors, in the context of its consideration of the Afghanistan Compact adopted at the London Conference in 2006.
The Paris conference will give the Afghan Government an opportunity to present its national development strategy to the international community. France shares the hope expressed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Mr. Kai Eide, that the conference will make it possible to craft a new agreement between the international community and Afghanistan. It is in that spirit of enhanced partnership that the issue of combating the drugs trade will be addressed at the conference; clearly, this is a major cause of concern for the international community. Drug trafficking in Afghanistan undermines efforts to attain good governance. It is a source of financing for terrorism and fuels threats to the country’s stability and security.
Here, France fully supports Afghanistan’s National Drug Control Strategy and international efforts to combat the scourge of drugs. It is particularly important to support regional initiatives. Indeed, the entire international community should act to shoulder this collective responsibility. We particularly commend the efforts and sacrifices made by Afghanistan and its neighbours to combat drug trafficking.
Combating drug trafficking requires an integrated approach taking into account all dimensions of the phenomenon. For that reason, the London Pact sets out cross-cutting priorities involving security, governance and economic and social development. In particular, developing alternative livelihoods is essential to success, as stressed in the resolution we have just adopted.
France has sought an emphasis by the Security Council on a particular element of the problem of narcotics trafficking: combating trafficking in the chemical precursors that are essential for processing opium into heroin. That is a weak link with respect to which we can and should step up our endeavours. A system already exists for monitoring the trade in chemical precursors; here, it should be emphasized that the vast majority of these materials are used for perfectly legitimate purposes. That system, which seeks to prevent the diversion of these precursors for illicit purposes, is based on the 1988 Vienna Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The Paris Pact initiative, begun in 2004 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the context of follow-up to the Conference on Drug Routes from Central Asia to Europe, includes specific section on the trafficking of precursors. It is also a good framework for enhancing cooperation in this field.
But increased efforts by all are needed to use existing mechanisms more effectively. We hope that the adoption of today’s resolution will provide fresh political impetus that will mobilize the international community, in support of Afghanistan and its neighbours and in close partnership with the relevant agencies, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Narcotics Control Board, on the issue of combating the trafficking in chemical precursors in Afghanistan.
The adoption of this resolution on the eve of the Paris conference indicates the international community’s determined and unanimous commitment to combat drugs — of which Afghanistan itself is the primary victim. I thank the Afghan authorities for their unflagging support for our initiative. My thanks go also to the other countries of the region for their constructive partnership in discussing the text of the resolution, as well as to all members of the Security Council for their very constructive participation, including those that, along with Afghanistan, agreed to sponsor the draft resolution we have just adopted.
The Russian Federation welcomes the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1817 (2008) on controlling the illicit trade in chemical precursors used for drug production in Afghanistan. We consider that this complements the Security Council’s systematic efforts to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and to bolster international support for its Government in the fight against the threat posed by terrorism and drugs. The Council’s decision is especially significant in the light of the international conference in support of Afghanistan, to be held tomorrow in Paris. We hope that the present resolution will help give further impetus to enhanced international action on a comprehensive solution to the Afghan drug problem, including success in carrying out the tasks agreed upon at the Ministerial Conference organized in Moscow in 2006.
The expanded production of Afghan heroin, which is gaining a monopoly on the world drug market, is giving rise to growing demand for supplies of chemical precursors. Without a smoothly functioning international system for controlling the movement of precursors, it will be impossible to halt the trend towards growing drug production and the consequent financing of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
The Security Council has sent a clear signal in support of smoother and more efficient international efforts in this field. We believe it is fundamentally important to pursue efforts to strengthen control of transnational movements of funds derived from illicit trafficking in drugs and precursors, as well as of money laundering and other criminal activities. The purpose is to break the technological and financial links in the chain of the contemporary drugs industry in Afghanistan and to create a single system comprising anti-drugs and financial security belts. In that regard, we support the appeal for comprehensive implementation of resolution 1735 (2006), including with respect to individuals who use resources derived from the illicit trafficking of drugs and precursors to support terrorist groups.
We also support the resolution’s important provision related to enhancing the role of regional organizations in international efforts to counter the flow of Afghan narcotics and to control precursors. Successful counter-narcotics operations undertaken with the participation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a wide array of its international partners and the Afghan authorities show the importance of tapping the potential of regional organizations. It is our view that pooling the efforts of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force could have a significant positive effect.
We welcome the adoption by consensus of this important resolution on an issue of the greatest concern, related to counter-narcotics in Afghanistan, thanks to the initiative of the French delegation. We are confident that this step will give political impetus to the fight against the illicit trafficking in precursors in Afghanistan, in particular through stricter implementation of existing obligations under the relevant United Nations conventions. We are pleased with this further demonstration of the cohesion of the Council in addressing the situation in Afghanistan. That cohesion is based on common strategic interests that go beyond the issue under consideration today.
It is also important that Afghanistan and the other countries of the region were extensively consulted in the preparation of this resolution. Every relevant actor should feel comfortable with the content of the resolution. Furthermore, we welcome the strong link established in the text between this initiative and the crucial role played by existing bodies and agencies. I refer in particular to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the Economic and Social Council; to the 1988 Vienna Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and its treaty body, the International Narcotics Control Board; to the Paris Pact; and to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. To achieve success in this field we need an integrated approach within the United Nations system.
Finally, we hope that the adoption of this resolution will galvanize the discussions on this issue at tomorrow’s Paris conference on Afghanistan. Obviously, there will be many more crucial topics to be discussed in Paris. We will soon propose for the consideration of the Council further possible actions to reflect and acknowledge the outcome of the conference.
There are no further speakers inscribed on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.