UN / AFGHANISTAN

23-Aug-2005
SRSG Jean Arnault briefing on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security. UNTV / IRIN

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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN

TRT: 2.17

SOURCE: UNTV / IRIN

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CHANNEL 1 ENGLISH / RUSSIAN / NATS
CHANNEL 2 ENGLISH / RUSSIAN / NATS

DATELINE: 23 AUGUST 2005, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

23 AUGUST 2005, New York City

1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations headquarters
2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Med shot, Security Council Members
4. Med shot, Security Council Members
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jean Arnault, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
"Indeed, after a drop in the numbers of incidents in late July and early August, attacks have resumed with increased intensity in the South, South East and East, with ambushes and IED's remaining the tactics of choice of the extremists."
6. Wide shot, security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations:
"In spite of an estimated slight decline in the area cultivated with poppy for 2005, drug trade continues to be along with the action of the insurgency and extremely worrisome obstacle to putting the country on to the tack of normality. In our view, the search for alternate livelihoods for poppy growers must be combined with a tougher stance against processors and traffickers."

FILE - IRIN - Afghanistan, September 2004

8. Various shots, harvesting opium in Afghanistan

23 AUGUST 2005, NEW YORK CITY

9.SOUNDBITE (Russian) Ambassador Andrey Denisov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
"One of the key things to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan remains countering the production and spread on drugs recent expert evaluation produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime cooberate the conclusion that international efforts to halt the Afghan narco-threat are still insufficiently not effective enough and Afghanistan is virtually on the brink of becoming a drug State."

FILE - IRIN - Afghanistan, September 2004

10. Various shots, soldiers destroying poppy fields



STORYLINE:

While troubling developments on the security front were a reminder of the hurdles that Afghans faced in rebuilding their country, a senior United Nations official today said he was confident that by year's end a representative new National Assembly would be established, and with it Afghanistan's political transition would be successfully completed.

Mr. Arnault noted that Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recent report on the situation in Afghanistan addressed in detail concerns regarding deteriorating security in June and July. Attacks had recently resumed with increased intensity in the south, east and southeast, with ambushes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) remaining the tactics of choice of the extremists, with deadly effect.

The number of attacks against UN staff had decreased compared to last year, and those against the candidates and electoral workers had been mostly indirect. However, Mr. Arnault said it was too soon to rule out attempts at causing major disruptions of the elections. In addition, increased insecurity in the provinces along the eastern border was a cause of concern for the elections there.

With a little over three weeks left before historic parliamentary and provincial elections that will herald the end of the so-called Bonn process - which formally set Afghanistan on the road stability in 2001 - Mr. Arnault briefed the Council on the preparations for the ballot.

Highlighting the country's voter registration campaign, ballot preparation and candidate vetting procedures, he said that overall, the democratic approach was generating new popular expectations vis-■-vis the government and elected officials, and more demanding criteria by which they would be judged. In doing so, it was also shaping, to a large extent, the contents of the post-Bonn agenda.

Some 40 million ballots were ready for distribution, he said, adding that contingency plans were in place to address any shortages at the polling stations. Some 30,000 Afghan national police would be required to secure the "first ring" around the polling sites and act as a quick reaction force. International military forces were on the ground and would be deployed as a back up. He warned that nearly $30 million in international funding was still needed for electoral costs, including ballot printing and transportation.

Brazilian Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg told the council that in spite of an estimated decline in poppy cultivation, the drug trade remained a worrisome obstacle. Offering alternate livelihood for poppy growers should be combined with a tougher stance vis-■-vis drug cultivators. The effect of national disasters, the return of more that 3 million refugees and other factors added additional burdens to the country's reconstruction and return to normalcy.

Ambassador Andrey Denisov of the Russian Federation said countering production and trafficking in drugs remained one of the key preconditions for stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan, he continued. The efforts to halt the Afghan narco-threat were not effective enough, and the country was actually on the brink of becoming a drug State.

A strategy aimed at ensuring tight control of the Afghan borders through strengthening and establishing new anti-drug "security belts" could be the most effective one under current Afghan conditions. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) had drawn a plan of actions to counter the terrorist and drug threats emanating from Afghanistan. A working group on Afghanistan had been established to coordinate actions in cooperation with the Afghan Government. He called upon the States concerned and international and regional organizations to closely coordinate their actions in the post-conflict settlement in Afghanistan, in light of the central role of the United Nations, so that the country could resolve its political and economic problems and become a democratic State.

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UNTV / IRIN
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U050823a