August 17, 2021 9:05:56 am
The UN Security Council on Monday called for the establishment through inclusive negotiations of a new, united, inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan with full women participation as it reaffirmed the need to ensure that the Taliban or any other Afghan group should not support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.
The 15-nation Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban took control, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and chaos, uncertainty and tragedy unfolded on the streets and at the airport as thousands tried to flee the ravaged nation.
The Council meeting on Afghanistan was the second in just over 10 days, held under India’s current Presidency of the powerful UN body.
After the meeting, Council members, in a statement, called for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and “the establishment, through inclusive negotiations, of a new government that is united, inclusive and representative including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.”
The Security Council members “reaffirmed the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country.”
The Council members also called for an immediate end to the violence in Afghanistan, the restoration of security, civil and constitutional order, and urgent talks to resolve the current crisis of authority in the country and to arrive at a peaceful settlement through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of national reconciliation.
Addressing the UNSC meeting, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the international community must be united and utilise all available instruments to ensure that “we must speak with one voice to uphold human rights in Afghanistan.”
The Security Council statement underlined that institutional continuity and adherence to Afghanistan’s international obligations, as well as the safety and security of all Afghan and international citizens, must be ensured.
The Council underscored that a sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, just, durable and realistic political settlement that upholds human rights, including for women, children and minorities.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN and President of the Council for the month Ambassador T S Tirumurti, speaking in his personal capacity, said that as a neighbour of Afghanistan and a friend to its people, the current situation prevailing in the country is of “great concern to us in India.”
“There are many unanswered questions. We also hope that there is an inclusive dispensation which represents all sections of Afghan society. Voices of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities must be respected. A broader representation would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy,” Tirumurti said.
The Council also expressed deep concern about the number of reported serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses in communities affected by the ongoing armed conflict across the country, and stressed the urgent and imperative need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
They underscored the particular situation of vulnerability of humanitarian and medical personnel, interpreters and other international service providers.
Reiterating their support to the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Council emphasised the importance of the safety and security of UN personnel as well as of diplomatic and consular personnel of UN member states.
The members of the Security Council also called on strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and on all parties to allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors providing assistance, including across conflict lines, to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all those in need.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on “all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism.”
UK Ambassador to the UN James Kariuki said that the Taliban had pledged at Doha to engage in the peace talks in good faith but their actions on the ground betrayed that promise.
China told the Council it hoped the Taliban in Afghanistan will unite with all parties and ethnic groups in the country “to establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits its national conditions in order to lay the foundation to achieve lasting peace in the country.”
China’s deputy UN Ambassador Geng Shuang also spoke out in support of Pakistan’s request to speak at the Council meeting on Afghanistan and expressed regret that Islamabad was not allowed to participate in the meeting.
“A few Council members said in their statement that they wish to see that a greater role is played by Afghan’s neighbours and neighbouring countries. We learnt that some regional countries and Afghan’s neighbours had made requests to participate in today’s meeting. It is regrettable that their requests were not granted,” Geng said.
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