Situation in Afghanistan - 8742nd Security Council Meeting

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10-Mar-2020 00:43:59
Security Council welcomes significant steps towards ending war in Afghanistan, unanimously adopting resolution 2513 (2020).

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United States Representative Stresses Her Country’s Ongoing Support for Afghan People, Citing Trillion Dollar Investment

The Security Council welcomed the significant steps taken towards ending the war in Afghanistan and opening the door to intra-Afghan negotiations enabled by the recent peace agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban.

However, the Council warned that easing the sanctions regime that the Council imposed on the country in 2011 will depend on the Taliban making sustained efforts to embrace peace.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2513 (2020), the 15-member Council called upon the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to pursue additional confidence-building measures — including by reducing violence and releasing prisoners — in good faith, thereby creating the conditions for a swift start to intra-Afghan negotiations leading to a durable peace.

Any political settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women, young people and minorities, the Council affirmed. It must also respond to the Afghan people’s strong desire to sustain and build upon the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001, including adherence to the rule of law and ensuring accountable and inclusive governance.

It went on to call upon all States to provide their full support to promoting the successful negotiation of a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement that ends the war for the benefit of all Afghans and contributes to regional stability and global security.

In addition, the Council expressed its readiness — upon the start of intra-Afghan negotiations — to review the status of individuals and groups designated in the sanctions established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011), “mindful that Taliban action, or the lack thereof, to further reduce violence, make sustained efforts to advance intra-Afghan negotiations, and otherwise cease to engage in or support activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan, will affect the review”.

Signed in Doha, Qatar, on 29 February, the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the United States of America and the Taliban contains provisions for reducing violence and a ceasefire, the withdrawal of United States and other foreign forces, and negotiations — starting this month — between the Government and the Taliban. It also contains assurances on counter-terrorism. Annexed to resolution 2513 (2020) were the Agreement and the Joint Declaration between the Governments of Afghanistan and the United States.

In the ensuing discussion, several delegates insisted that a successful Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process must include women, youth and minorities. They also called for an immediate reduction in violence and underscored the role to be played by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) going forward. Some speakers welcomed the inauguration of Ashraf Ghani to a new term as President of Afghanistan on 9 March and — alluding to a separate ceremony by his political rival Abdullah Abdullah — warned against the establishment of parallel governmental structures.

The representative of the United States said her country’s Government will carefully monitor and assess whether the Taliban live up to their side of the bargain. Citing challenges to the peace process, such as the high levels of violence on the Taliban’s part, she emphasized that more must be done to reduce violence against Afghan forces. She also stressed her country’s ongoing support for the Afghan people. “After almost two decades and more than a trillion dollars in investment in Afghanistan’s security and development, the United States is not walking away.”

The Russian Federation’s representative cautioned that the path ahead will be difficult, underlining the need for the parties to set aside parochial interests and political ambitions when intra-Afghan negotiations get under way. The first step must be for all stakeholders to abandon violence and launch a concerted fight against terrorism, he stressed.

China’s representative called for an orderly and responsible withdrawal of foreign troops to avert a security vacuum and the potential resurgence of terrorist groups. The focus for the future should be on reconstruction, increased investment in infrastructure, regional connectivity, sustainable development and the abandonment of violence by all, he added.

At the meeting’s outset, the Council observed a minute of silence in honour of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, who passed away on 4 March.

Also speaking today were representatives of Germany, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, France, Estonia, Belgium, Viet Nam, Indonesia and South Africa

The meeting began at 4:02 p.m. and ended at 4:46 p.m.

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