Home » General » 46th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

Speakers today warned of escalating violence as the General Assembly adopted its annual resolution pledging to support the people and Government of Afghanistan.

The Assembly held its annual debate on the situation in Afghanistan during which it adopted the resolution on the matter (document A/73/L.44) by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (Libya, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe) — reversing its trend to adopt the text by consensus.

Through the terms of the draft, the Assembly pledges its continued support to Afghanistan as it rebuilds a stable, secure and economically self‑sufficient State, free of terrorism and narcotics. It further encourages all partners to support constructively the Government of Afghanistan’s reform agenda and emphasizes that threats to stability and development in the country and the region require closer and more coordinated cooperation.

“Violence has brought untold suffering and devastation for our people,” said the representative of Afghanistan as the Assembly began its debate. While denouncing foreign meddling, he said security forces have inflicted heavy losses on the Taliban and other transnational terrorist networks.

Recent developments in the context of the Afghan peace process provide hope, he stressed, pointing to talks with the Taliban, a three‑day ceasefire and an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in July which denounced war and left “no grounds of religious justification for the war” as positive steps forward. He said the draft “exemplifies the international community’s commitment to improve the situation on the ground” and highlights the direct link between regional economic cooperation and peace.

The representative of Germany, who introduced the draft, said the preeminent concern in Afghanistan is the fragile security situation. The only path towards a sustainable resolution to the crisis is an Afghan‑led and Afghan‑owned peace process. He said the draft calls on all parties to the conflict to recognize their responsibility to enter direct peace talks without preconditions.

Explaining his country’s position, the representative of the Russian Federation called for a recorded vote as the draft “failed to account for current realities and reflect the collective approaches of the international community to find a settlement in Afghanistan”. The draft ignored Moscow’s concerns and as such he could not vote in favour of the text. Stressing that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating due to the activities of certain States, he regretted that the draft ignored the regional threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).

Throughout the debate speakers lauded recent parliamentary elections as a step towards the consolidation of democracy but warned of escalating violence across the country.

“Insurgent attacks and coalition air strikes have resulted in civilian casualties,” said Pakistan’s representative, calling for a negotiated political settlement to the conflict. “The global community has remained steadfast in its support for the Afghan people,” she said, adding that Pakistan has suffered from the situation in Afghanistan.

The presence of foreign forces, which gave an impetus to extremist recruiting, is one of the underlying causes of instability in the country, said Iran’s representative. “That’s why we have never believed that such forces have contributed to Afghanistan’s peace and stability,” he said, stressing that Iran’s support for draft resolution must not be misinterpreted as according any support for the continued presence of foreign forces in that country.

A delegate from the European Union said there have been internal reforms in many areas, but they need to be translated into visible progress, contributing to a solid democratic and peaceful society. Such a society must respect human rights as well as the rule of law and be conducive for economic development.

The representative of Belgium called on the Government to hold orderly, inclusive and credible presidential elections in 2019 to build on the successes of parliamentary polls. To pursue inclusiveness within Afghan society, he said Belgium contributed €2 million to the Afghanistan country office of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women).

The common theme that emerged throughout the debate was the assertion that peace initiatives will only succeed if they are Afghan-led, with delegations calling on the Taliban to participate in unconditional talks.

The representative of the United States said that an inclusive peace in Afghanistan will benefit all Afghan men and women, accelerate the country’s economic growth and ensure that its territory is no longer exploited by terrorists. He called on the Taliban to commit to a peaceful outcome and appoint an authoritative negotiating team. “Peace in Afghanistan is possible”, he said, and the international community must seize this opportunity.

For the matter, the Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary‑General titled “The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security” (document A/73/374–S/2018/824).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Australia, India, Maldives, Norway, Turkey, China, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.

The Assembly is scheduled to reconvene at 4 p.m. today to consider the situation in the Middle East.

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