8620th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Afghanistan

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17-Sep-2019 00:48:07
Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2489 (2019) at 8620th meeting.

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The Security Council decided today to extend, until 17 September 2020, the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to support the organization of elections in that country, including the presidential ballot scheduled for 28 September.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2489 (2019) as orally amended, the Council tasked the Mission with providing outreach and good offices to support the Afghan‑led and Afghan‑owned peace process, if requested by — and in close consultation with — the Government of Afghanistan.

By other terms of the resolution, the Mission will promote, as co-chair of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, international support for the Government’s development and governance priorities, as well as support regional cooperation with a view to promoting stability and peace.

UNAMA will continue, by other terms of the text, to strengthen the capacity of the Government, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and civil society to protect and promote human rights, with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It will also support gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, education, human rights and women’s full participation in decision-making, including in peace talks.

Christoph Heusgen (Germany), co-sponsor of the text alongside Indonesia, introduced the oral amendment, explaining that the delegation of Afghanistan requested at the last minute that operative paragraph 59(b) be amended to read: “Provide outreach as well as good offices to support the Afghan-led and Afghan‑owned peace process, if requested by and in close consultation with the Government of Afghanistan”. This is agreed language from previous resolutions, he said, adding that its inclusion is “extremely important” for Afghanistan.

Speaking after the vote, delegates welcomed the consensus around the draft resolution, recalling that it emerged from a late night of negotiations. They also strongly condemned the most recent fatal attacks in Afghanistan, including one perpetrated at an election rally by President Ashraf Ghani north of Kabul on 16 September.

Karen Pierce (United Kingdom) said her delegation joined the United States and Belgium in noting that one member’s “extraneous issues” made negotiations on the draft resolution more difficult, preventing the adoption of an even stronger text. Portions of the resolution are now “frankly not comprehensible in the English language”, and paragraphs lack the clarity that UNAMA needs to deliver on its mandate, she added.

Zhang Jun (China), describing the resolution as a technical renewal of UNAMA’s mandate, said that, as a direct neighbour of Afghanistan, his country wishes to see it achieve peace, stability and prosperity. Lasting peace requires economic development, he added, emphasizing that no country has a right to deny Afghanistan’s people a better life. He recalled that China emphasized during the negotiations that this is not a good time for a comprehensive resolution, and that it would be a distortion to state that regional cooperation and connectivity have nothing to do with UNAMA’s mandate.

Mariusz Lewicki (Poland) said his delegation would have preferred that the text contain stronger language on the protection of civilians, the role of women, as well as peace and security. Poland is also disappointed at the absence of a reference to the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union, as well as the impact of climate change on the security situation.

José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic) emphasized the importance of eliminating violence against women and promoting the rights of the child. He also called upon the Taliban to refrain from attacking election rallies and polling stations, while expressing deep concern about the humanitarian crisis and the adverse effects of climate change.

Vassily A. Nebenzia (Russian Federation), Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity, stressing the vital importance of upholding the critical role of Afghans themselves in resolving outstanding issues. All Afghan forces and external players must work from a unified and consolidated platform, he said, adding his delegation trusts that dialogue between the United States and the Taliban will resume and direct inter-Afghan negotiations will be relaunched.

Adela Raz (Afghanistan) said her country’s Government and people are fully prepared for the 28 September elections. Emphasizing Afghanistan’s commitment to advancing a peace process that consolidates human rights and democratic gains, she reiterated the importance of Afghan ownership and leadership of that process, stressing that international efforts must support national ones. She went on to underline the importance that Afghanistan attaches to regional cooperation, as well as the high priority it accords to economic projects that help to strengthen connectivity.

Also speaking today were representatives of Indonesia, United States, France, Peru, Belgium, Kuwait and Côte d’Ivoire.

The meeting began at 11:09 a.m. and ended at 11:58 a.m.

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