SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON UNITED NATIONS PERSONNEL IN TALIBAN-HELD TERRITORIES OF AFGHANISTAN
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON UNITED NATIONS PERSONNEL IN TALIBAN-HELD TERRITORIES OF AFGHANISTAN19980828 Demands That All Afghan Factions Stop Fighting And Cooperate To Create Broad-Based, Fully Representative Government
The Security Council this afternoon condemned the attacks on the United Nations personnel in the Taliban-held territories of Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to investigate urgently those heinous crimes and to keep the United Nations informed of the results of its investigation.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1193 (1998), the Council condemned the killing of the two Afghan staff members of the World Food Programme (WFP) and of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jalalabad, and the Military Adviser to the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul.
The Council further demanded that all Afghan factions, in particular the Taliban, do everything possible to assure the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and other international and humanitarian personnel. It also demanded that all parties, in particular the Taliban, do everything possible to ensure safe and dignified passage out of Afghanistan of the personnel of the Consulate-General of Iran and other Iranian nationals missing in Afghanistan.
In related provisions, the Council appealed to all States, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, specialized agencies and other international organizations to resume the provision of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan as soon as the situation on the ground permitted, and urged all Afghan factions to facilitate international humanitarian efforts and to ensure unimpeded access and adequate conditions for the delivery of aid.
It demanded that all Afghan factions stop fighting, and resume negotiations without delay and preconditions, and cooperate with the aim of creating a broad-based and fully representative government. It reiterated that the Afghan crisis could be settled only by peaceful means, and stressed that territorial gains through military operations would neither lead to a durable peace in Afghanistan, nor contribute to a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in that multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country.
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The Council reiterated, once again, that any outside interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan should cease immediately. In that respect, it called on all States to take resolute measures to prohibit their military personnel from planning and participating in military operations in Afghanistan and immediately to end the supply of arms and ammunition to all parties to the conflict.
In another provision, the Council demanded that the Afghan factions refrain from harbouring and training terrorists and their organizations and that they halt illegal drug activities.
Also by the text, the Council asked the Secretary-General to continue investigations into alleged mass killings of prisoners of war and civilians, as well as ethnically based forced displacement of large groups of the population and other forms of mass persecution in Afghanistan, and to report to the General Assembly and the Security Council.
Statements were made this morning by the representatives of Austria, on behalf of the European Union and associated States, Pakistan, Tajikistan, India, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
In its resumed meeting this afternoon, statements were made by representatives of the Russian Federation, China, Portugal, United Kingdom, Japan, Kenya, France, Sweden, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Brazil, Gambia, United States and Slovenia.
The meeting was called to order at 11:34 a.m.; suspended from 12:50 p.m. to 3:22 p.m.; and adjourned at 4:21 p.m.
Council Work Programme, Draft Resolution
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Afghanistan. It had before it the following draft resolution, sponsored by Costa Rica, France, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan:
"The Security Council,
"Having considered the situation in Afghanistan,
"Recalling its previous resolution 1076 (1996) of 22 October 1996 and the statements of the President of the Security Council on the situation in Afghanistan,
"Recalling also resolution 52/211 of the General Assembly,
"Expressing its grave concern at the continued Afghan conflict which has recently sharply escalated due to the Taliban forces' offensive in the northern parts of the country, causing a serious and growing threat to regional and international peace and security, as well as extensive human suffering, further destruction, refugee flows and other forcible displacement of large numbers of people,
"Concerned also by the increasingly ethnic nature of the conflict, by reports of ethnic and religious-based persecution, particularly against the Shiites, and by the threat this poses to the unity of the Afghan State,
"Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan, and its respect for its cultural and historical heritage,
"Deploring the fact that despite repeated pleas by the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General to halt foreign interference in Afghanistan, including the involvement of foreign military personnel and the supply of arms and ammunition to all parties in the conflict, such interference continues unabated,
"Reiterating its view that the United Nations must continue to play its central and impartial role in international efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict,
"Deeply concerned at the serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and deploring in this regard the measures taken by the Taliban which resulted in the evacuation of the United Nations humanitarian personnel from Afghanistan and expressing hope for their early return under conditions of security,
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"Expressing its grave concern at the capture by the Taliban of the Consulate-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Mazar-e-Sharif and at the fate of the personnel of the Consulate-General and of other Iranian nationals missing in Afghanistan,
"Deeply disturbed by the deteriorating security conditions for United Nations and other international and humanitarian personnel,
"Deeply concerned also at the continuing presence of terrorists in the territory of Afghanistan and the production and trafficking of drugs,
"Remaining deeply concerned at the continuing discrimination against girls and women and at other violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law in Afghanistan,
"1. Reiterates that the Afghan crisis can be settled only by peaceful means, through direct negotiations between the Afghan factions under United Nations auspices, aimed at achieving a solution accommodating the rights and interests of all Afghans and stresses that territorial gains through military operations will neither lead to a durable peace in Afghanistan, nor contribute to a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in this multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country;
"2. Demands that all Afghan factions stop fighting, resume negotiations without delay and preconditions, and cooperate with the aim of creating a broad- based and fully representative government, which would protect the rights of all Afghans and would observe the international obligations of Afghanistan;
"3. Reiterates once again that any outside interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan should cease immediately and calls upon all States to take resolute measures to prohibit their military personnel from planning and participating in military operations in Afghanistan and immediately to end the supply of arms and ammunition to all parties to the conflict;
"4. Calls upon all States neighbouring Afghanistan and other States with influence in the country to intensify their efforts under the aegis of the United Nations to bring the parties to a negotiated settlement;
"5. Reaffirms its full support for the efforts of the United Nations, in particular the activities of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan and those of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary- General for Afghanistan in facilitating the political process towards the goals of national reconciliation and a lasting political settlement with the participation of all parties to the conflict and all segments of Afghan society;
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"6. Condemns the attacks on the United Nations personnel in the Taliban-held territories of Afghanistan, including the killing of the two Afghan staff members of the World Food Programme and of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jalalabad, and of the Military Adviser to the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul, and calls upon the Taliban to investigate urgently these heinous crimes, and to keep the United Nations informed about the results of the investigation;
"7. Demands that all Afghan factions and, in particular the Taliban, do everything possible to assure the safety and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations and other international and humanitarian personnel;
"8. Condemns also the capture of the Consulate-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Mazar-e-Sharif, and demands that all parties and, in particular the Taliban, do everything possible to ensure safe and dignified passage out of Afghanistan of the personnel of the Consulate-General and other Iranian nationals missing in Afghanistan;
"9. Urges all Afghan factions and, in particular the Taliban, to facilitate the work of the international humanitarian organizations and to ensure unimpeded access and adequate conditions for the delivery of aid by such organizations to all in need of it;
"10. Appeals to all States, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, specialized agencies and other international organizations to resume the provision of humanitarian assistance to all in need of it in Afghanistan as soon as the situation on the ground permits;
"11. Expresses its readiness to call, on a priority basis, for all possible financial, technical and material assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan once the conditions are established by the achievement of the lasting peaceful solution of the Afghan conflict, and for the voluntary, safe and secure return of refugees and internally displaced persons;
"12. Reaffirms that all parties to the conflict are bound to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and in particular the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and that persons who commit or order the commission of grave breaches of the Conventions are individually responsible in respect of such breaches;
"13. Requests the Secretary-General to continue investigations into alleged mass killings of prisoners of war and civilians as well as ethnically- based forced displacement of large groups of the population and other forms of mass persecution in Afghanistan, and to submit the reports to the General Assembly and the Security Council as soon as they become available;
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"14. Urges the Afghan factions to put an end to the discrimination against girls and women and to other violations of human rights, as well as violations of international humanitarian law and to adhere to the internationally accepted norms and standards in this sphere;
"15. Demands the Afghan factions to refrain from harbouring and training terrorists and their organizations and to halt illegal drug activities;
"16. Reminds all parties of the obligation to abide strictly by the decisions of the Security Council and expresses its firm intention, in accordance with its responsibility under the Charter, to consider such further steps as may be required for the implementation of this resolution;
"17. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to keep it regularly informed of the situation in Afghanistan;
"18. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
HANS PETER MANZ (Austria) spoke on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. He said the European Union strongly condemned the armed attack against two staff members of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA) on 21 August in Kabul, which had caused the death of an Italian national and left a French national injured. The European Union urged the Taliban in Kabul to take immediate steps to investigate that heinous crime and to keep the United Nations informed of the results of the investigations.
He said the European Union strongly deplored the fact that third parties, instead of using their influence on the warring factions to support the efforts of the United Nations to restore peace, continued to interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs in a destructive manner by supplying the factions with weapons, fuel, arms, ammunition and other materials for military use. The European Union wished to reaffirm its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan.
The European Union called on all Afghan factions to recognize, protect and promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to life, liberty and security of persons, and to fully respect the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, he said. The Union denounced the continuing discrimination against girls and women in Afghanistan. It also reiterated its call upon all factions to close down training camps for foreign terrorists inside Afghanistan.
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As had been expressed in its "Common Position" of 26 January, the European Union was determined to play an effective role in efforts to stop the fighting, and to restore peace, stability and respect for human rights and international principles in Afghanistan, he said. It remained committed to using all its influence to bring about a sustainable peace in Afghanistan, put an end to foreign intervention, and encourage intra-Afghan dialogue, in particular through support for the central role of the United Nations.
MUHAMAD NAJM AKBAR (Pakistan) said the issue of Afghanistan was being taken up at a time of significant and far-reaching developments in that country. The Afghan people had hoped to see peace in their country after a prolonged foreign occupation. The fulfilment of that dream remained distant as a result of internal strife among Afghans. It was too long a suffering for a valiant and resolute people, who had been resolute in drawing a new course in international politics. There must be an end to their despair and misery.
No other country had suffered more from the conflict in Afghanistan than Pakistan, he said. Pakistan continued to host more than 1.5 million refugees and stood almost single-handed in looking after them. Pakistan had also been the victim of terrorism, drug trafficking and arms smuggling as a result of the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan's dream was to see peace established without any further bloodshed. Pakistan was in favour of a peaceful and negotiated settlement. It had been the only country to deal with all parties to the conflict.
Recent air strikes by the United States in Afghanistan were likely to complicate the situation, he said. The violation of Afghanistan's territorial integrity was a matter of serious concern. While Pakistan firmly condemned terrorism, it could not support any course that was taken outside established international norms.
The United Nations must come to terms with the realities on the ground in Afghanistan, he said. There was an urgent need for the opening of a channel of communications with the true representatives of the people of Afghanistan. United Nations agencies and Member States must provide all necessary assistance without preconditions. Pakistan appealed to the United Nations to grant formal representation to the Government in Kabul.
RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said his country had actively supported the idea of adopting a special resolution on Afghanistan and was one of the draft's co-sponsors. He welcomed the Council's readiness to discuss the dangerous recent developments there and possible steps to redress them. The Taliban leadership had been banking on a military solution with direct support from outside, which could not fail to affect the Tajik/Afghan border. His country was profoundly concerned about reports of new violations of human rights and international law, including humanitarian law. The possibility of an uncontrollable breakthrough by Afghan refugees into Tajikistan could not be discounted. Further, there were serious concerns about Afghanistan becoming a major exporter of terrorism and drugs.
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In view of those concerns, the development of a troika of the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan was timely, he said. The situation must not be allowed to undermine national internal stability; Tajikistan and its neighbours were doing all they could to protect common interests and security. Recent events had demonstrated the impossibility of resolving the conflict by force. No matter how impressive military victories might seem, they could only lead to a spiral of armed confrontation, and making remote the prospects for peace and stability.
The United Nations must reaffirm its leading role in efforts to provide a settlement to the crisis. There was need for urgent practical steps aimed at assisting a peaceful settlement. As a member of the group of neighbours and friends of Afghanistan (the "six plus two" group), Tajikistan was ready to support all efforts to see that the parties engaged in the process of achieving a peaceful solution. There was a need to hold in the region a meeting of high-level representatives of the "six plus two" group aimed at resolving the conflict. Today's Council resolution adopted should have an impact on all Afghan parties, as well as on the States concerned.
RAJAT SAHA (India) said a genuine power-sharing arrangement in which all Afghan people were represented must take hold if peace was to return to the country. The anarchy in Afghanistan had drawn terrorist groups to it. The responsibility for allowing Afghan territory to be used for the training of international terrorists fell on those who gave them sanctuary. India had on many occasions drawn the world's attention to the presence of training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan where terrorists were trained and equipped to carry out violent activities in India, particularly in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the crisis in Afghanistan had three main elements: the continuing war, fomented and sustained by foreign interference; the use of Afghanistan as a haven for international terrorism; and the lack of respect in the areas controlled by the Taliban for international norms and human rights. Countries which instigated the fighting should encourage the factions they supported to return to the negotiating table without preconditions, with the aim of creating a broad-based and fully representative government. He called for an effective international cooperation to act against those responsible for international terrorism. The international community must ensure the observance of human rights in all of Afghanistan.
HADI NEJAD-HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the escalation of conflict, tension and further spread of lawlessness, resulting from the recent military offensive in the north of Afghanistan by the Taliban, had justifiably raised grave concern for most neighbours of Afghanistan and for the rest of the international community. That concern stemmed from the display of absolute disregard by the Taliban for the wishes of the international community, as
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manifested by the decision of the Security Council and the General Assembly and the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for the rejection of further bloodshed and attempts to find a political settlement in which the views of all Afghan people were considered.
He said that reflective of the status of the Taliban were the daily reports of abuse and gross violations of human rights, particularly against women and girls, under the name of Islam, as well as murders and constant harassments of foreign relief workers and United Nations staff, forced displacement of Afghan people on ethnic and religious grounds -- which had been referred to as Taliban-style ethnic cleansing -- and daily and indiscriminate bombardments of civilians. Iran respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, a country which Iran would like to see continue its proud heritage of political independence and non-alignment. The fate of Afghanistan should be determined by the Afghan people themselves. They would have to make the political decision to opt for peace. Peace could not be imposed on Afghanistan from abroad.
He said Iran was co-sponsoring the current resolution in order to send a strong message to the Taliban that their pursuit of a military solution was not acceptable to the international community, and that they would be viewed disfavourably as long as they disregarded the wishes of the international community. Also, the continued detention of Iranian nationals by the Taliban was unacceptable to his country. It was hoped that the demand for their release would be heeded. VOLKAN VURAL (Turkey) said that in addition to the extensive human suffering and destruction, the current situation posed a growing threat to regional and international security. Reported human rights violations, especially against women and girls, in areas controlled by the Taliban, as well as executions of civilians and prisoners of war, and efforts to change the country's demographic structure were deplorable. Crimes against United Nations personnel and members of the Consulate General of Iran must be urgently addressed. Turkey was also concerned for Afghanistan's neighbours, who were increasingly suffering from drug trafficking, an influx of refugees, and political tensions originating from the crisis. The region's political atmosphere had begun to deteriorate and regional stability might be impaired.
Military victories achieved by external support were illusions, he said. They could provide neither a lasting nor a viable solution. A political dialogue among the Afghan people was necessary. Establishment of a broad- based government in which all groups were represented was the only way of establishing lasting peace. Collective diplomatic efforts, with the United Nations playing a central role, were the most effective means of encouraging the parties to conduct dialogue and forge a solution. Enhanced bilateral diplomatic activity between the countries interested could contribute to that process.
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The Organization of the Islamic Conference should continue its useful cooperation with the United Nations, he said. Today's resolution provided a good framework on which future diplomatic efforts could be based, and included almost all the elements needed to inspire the parties to find a way out of the deadlock. Initial political dialogue among the parties, aimed at establishing a broad-based government, should be followed by consideration of specific measures. Those should include demilitarizing Afghan cities, preventing the supply of arms, developing a civilian police force, and dismantling camps harbouring extremists and terrorist elements, most of whom were non-Afghans. The international community's pledge to assist in Afghanistan's reconstruction once peace was established was most valuable, and Afghan parties must seize the opportunity. Turkey remained committed to contributing to the future rehabilitation of Afghanistan.
ALISHER VOHIDOV (Uzbekistan) said his country was concerned with the continuing conflict in Afghanistan, which it considered as a major threat to international and regional peace and security, particularly in Central Asia. It strongly supported the preservation of the country's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. It was confident that there could be no military solution to the conflict and urged the Afghan parties to refrain from further hostilities and to negotiate a settlement. All parties should be involved in the peace process, which should aim at the formation of a broad- based, fully representative government.
He said Uzbekistan was deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and hoped that the Afghan parties would do everything possible to create the necessary conditions for the United Nations and other international humanitarian organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to all in need in the country. Uzbekistan resolutely condemned the violations of universally recognized norms of international law and international humanitarian law in Afghanistan. The United Nations must continue to play its central and impartial role in international efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict. He reaffirmed his Government's proposal for a meeting of the "six plus two" group be held in Tashkent, which could positively contribute to a political settlement of the Afghan conflict.
YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) expressed grave concern about the situation in Afghanistan. The evacuation of United Nations personnel would exacerbate the already severe humanitarian crisis. His country firmly condemned the recent events and shared the international community's serious concern about the seizure of Iranian citizens. On 15 August, his country's President had called on the Afghan parties to cease hostilities. Together with the States parties to the Treaty on the Security of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Kazakhstan reserved the right to take all practical measures needed to preserve security in the region.
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The recent events threatened stability in central Asia, he said. On his President's initiative, a high-level meeting had been held with his country, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, during which discussion had addressed the situation in Afghanistan and its possible impact on countries in the region. Kazakhstan was firmly committed to the implementation of the resolutions of United Nations bodies. It favoured having the United Nations play a central role in the achievement of a settlement. He called for an immediate cessation of foreign interference in the conflict, favouring a speedy resolution to the conflict. Mr. AKBAR (Pakistan) said his delegation had taken the floor again to set the record straight on a matter of crucial importance to the Council, to Pakistan, and to the international community. The matter had been under the consideration of the Council for the past 50 years. It was deeply regretted that today there had been another effort by India to distort facts that were well known to the Council, which was the guardian of its own resolutions.
Pakistan wished to remind the Council that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory, he said. India had consistently and wilfully obstructed the will of the Council to implement the resolutions adopted on the India/Pakistan question. India had deployed troops which had committed acts of State terrorism against the people of Jammu and Kashmir. India had violated every norm of international behaviour in its ruthless campaign to keep the people of the region under subjugation. Any effort to distort the facts was strongly denounced.
MOHAMMAD SHARIF GHALIB (Afghanistan) said that what had been heard from the Pakistani delegation was nothing but a commitment to the pursuit of a policy of intervention and hegemony towards Afghanistan. The international community no longer held ambiguity of any kind regarding the situation in Afghanistan, particularly in the wake of the recent development, which had drawn attention to the manifest military involvement of Pakistan in Afghanistan. His delegation would, therefore, refrain from further explanation.
He said it would suffice to say that elements killed in the recent United States missile strikes on the terrorist camps in eastern Afghanistan had been identified by intelligence sources and the world news media as Pakistani nationals -- either plain clothes army officers of the Pakistani Government, or members of the organization based in Pakistan and evidently engaged in terrorist activities worldwide. It came as no surprise that Pakistan continued to preach to the international community to accord recognition to its mercenaries, the Taliban in Afghanistan. Only an immediate halt to the Pakistani interventions in Afghanistan and the establishment of a broad-based, fully representative government in the country would lead to an early return of lasting peace and stability in the country.
The meeting was suspended at 12:50 p.m. and resumed at 3:22 p.m.
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SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said a new phase in the civil war was destabilizing the region of Central Asia and beyond, posing a direct threat to neighbouring States. The military expansion of the Taliban in the northern region was being carried on with direct assistance in military planning and involvement. This involvement -- continuing despite repeated appeals by the Secretary-General and the Security Council -- furthered the conflict. Foreign interference must cease; attempts to justify it with references to Afghan history were incomprehensible.
He said the Russian Federation was deeply concerned about violations of human rights and international conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and those not involved in combat. It was shocked at recent attacks and killings and demanded that an investigation be carried out. The Taliban must allow humanitarian groups to continue their work. Further, the Russian Federation condemned the disappearance of Iranian nationals, calling for their immediate release and safe exit from the country. The recent attacks indicated the Taliban's total scorn for international law, and contravened the age-old traditions and culture of the Afghan people.
He called on all States to use their influence to convince the parties of the importance of respecting rights. Convinced that there could be no lasting military solution, the Russian Federation supported the efforts by the Secretary- General's representatives in resolving the conflict. A comprehensive solution must be based on a broad-based representative government. His Government was prepared to participate to support the country in its reconstruction efforts after the peaceful solution to the conflict was achieved.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said that as a friendly neighbour of Afghanistan, China was deeply concerned by the latest developments in that country. The various factions were called on to reach an immediate ceasefire. China believed that any military advance was temporary, and that military means were not helpful in finding a solution. Negotiations under United Nations auspices were the only way to find a solution.
He hoped that the various factions would put national interests, as well as the interests of the people of Afghanistan, above all else to achieve peace and stability. China supported the mediation efforts of Lakhdar Brahimi and hoped that the United Nations would continue to play a strong role in the country. The solution of the question rested with the Afghan people themselves. Their choices should be respected by the international Community. China would vote in favour of the resolution.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said the political and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated further since the Council last discussed the disturbing situation there on 15 April 1997. The warring factions must recognize that the conflict could not be settled on the battlefield, and that any thought
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of a conclusive victory by one party was illusory. Portugal stood for a political settlement on the basis of decisions of the General Assembly and Security Council, as well as for the preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of the country, he said. It, therefore, called on all the factions to agree to an immediate ceasefire and to enter into negotiations under United Nations auspices towards a broadly representative government acceptable to all Afghans.
He said Portugal strongly condemned the attacks on United Nations personnel and urged the Taliban to fully investigate a recent incident in which an Italian national was killed. Portugal called for an immediate end to interference by foreign countries which were fuelling the conflict with arms, personnel and logistical support. It was also concerned about reports of widespread human rights violations, particularly the continuing intolerable discrimination imposed by the Taliban against women, as well as drug trafficking and the continuing presence of terrorists and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. These camps constituted a serious threat to peace and security in the whole region.
Portugal would support the draft resolution before the Council, he said, and urged the Afghan factions to fully comply with it to end the suffering of the Afghan people.
STEPHEN GOMERSALL (United Kingdom) said he shared the grave concern expressed in the resolution and was pleased to be one of its co-sponsors. The recent fighting had prolonged the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and had threatened the stability of the region. It had not led to a lasting solution to the crisis. Only a political settlement, negotiated between the factions and accommodating the interests and rights of all Afghans, could achieve a durable peace. The United Kingdom, therefore, strongly supported the demand that the Afghan factions stop fighting and enter into negotiations, under United Nations auspices, to create a representative broad-based government.
One particularly worrying aspect of the current situation was the increasingly ethnic nature of the conflict, he said. The United Kingdom shared concerns expressed by the Secretary-General and others regarding the consequences of the latest fighting for the Hazara community. All factions should ensure the safety of civilian communities, refrain from indiscriminate acts of violence, and facilitate provision of humanitarian assistance. The United Kingdom was also deeply concerned about reports of outside interference in Afghanistan's affairs. Those with influence on the factions should strive to prevent the supply of arms and other military support and encourage negotiations.
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The crisis in Afghanistan had recently had a direct impact on the international community, and the United Kingdom strongly condemned the attacks on United Nations personnel, he said. It also condemned the seizure of the Iranian nationals. He called on all concerned -- especially the Taliban -- to cooperate in investigating and doing everything possible to ensure the safe return of the Iranian diplomats and other Iranian nationals who were now missing.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said his country shared the deep concern of its Asian neighbours and, indeed, the entire international community, at the continuing fighting in Afghanistan. The hostilities were causing additional hardship to the Afghan people and posed a grave threat to the stability of the region.
While the United Nations played the central role in international efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict, he said, Japan also attached great importance to the efforts of the "six plus two" group. In particular, it welcomed the agreement of the group to strive to check the flow of arms and other supplies to the warring parties.
Japan was especially concerned by the seizure of the Consul-General of Iran in Mazar-e-Sharif and the disappearance of members of the Consulate- General and other Iranian nationals in Afghanistan. He hoped they would be released safely and promptly. Japan strongly condemned and mourned the loss of Colonel Carmine, the Military Adviser of the United Nations Mission, as well as two local staff members of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
He said lasting peace could only be established in Afghanistan through a political process accompanied by international reconstruction assistance. Japan had decided to host the next meeting of the Afghanistan Support Group in December to address the problems of delivering assistance in conflict situations. Japan would continue to vigorously support efforts to achieve a durable peace in Afghanistan through a comprehensive settlement of the conflict, he added.
ROSE A. ODERA (Kenya) said Kenya had joined in co-sponsoring the draft because it believed that the Council had to convey a clear, unequivocal message to the combatants that the problem in Afghanistan had to be resolved by peaceful means. Kenya was also fully aware that the flow of arms, money and other supplies into Afghanistan had definitely exacerbated the crisis. Several attempts to resolve the crisis had not been successful.
Kenya joined in the strong condemnation of the act that had claimed the lives of two valiant officials of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA), she said. The Taliban should investigate the crime.
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She said Kenya shared the disappointment that the Steering Committee had adjourned without completing its work. The strategy which the Secretary- General had laid out was worth going back to. The UNSMA should not give up in frustration. The Secretary-General's approach in encouraging the international community to speak with one voice regarding the road map that needed to be followed was helpful. The combatants should take heed of the current draft resolution and listen to the unanimous voice of the international community.
PHILIPPE THIEBAUD (France) said the situation in recent months had been marked by a fresh outbreak in fighting and a large Taliban military offensive. France was extremely concerned with these developments, which ran counter to the efforts to establish a lasting and peaceful solution. The fundamental principles for resolving the conflict in Afghanistan had been clearly formulated in Council resolution 1076. The Afghan parties must engage in true political dialogue to forge national reconciliation while foreign intervention must cease.
Through their obstinacy, the Taliban had hampered the establishment of a peaceful settlement, he said. However, that fact must not become a source of discouragement, but rather a cause for action, as in the present resolution. France condemned the recent aggression in Kabul and deplored the flagrant violations of international law and the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. The disappearance of personnel from the Consulate-General of Iran and other Iranian nationals were causes of great concern, and he called on the parties -- in particular, the Taliban -- to turn over these personnel immediately.
The conditions prevailing in Afghanistan and, in particular, the attitude of the Taliban had led to the removal of the agencies of the United Nations and other international humanitarian organizations from Kabul, he said. This, in turn, could lead to a new deterioration in the humanitarian situation for the population of Afghanistan. The responsibility for this fell on those who flouted human rights -- particularly those of young girls and women -- and those who refused to recognize universal human rights and who flouted international humanitarian law. While everything must be done to facilitate the safe return of non-governmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations, the international community should not delay in ensuring universally recognized principles. Afghan factions must restrain from harbouring terrorist elements and end illicit drug trafficking. The French delegation would vote in favour of the resolution.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said that more than 19 years of conflict had caused immense human suffering, large-scale material destruction, refugee flows and other forcible displacements of large numbers of people. The conflict provided fertile ground for terrorism and illegal drug production and trafficking, with far-reaching repercussions. There was no military solution;
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only a political settlement would provide the basis for a durable solution and create the conditions needed for the reconstruction and development of Afghan society. Sweden supported the demand contained in the resolution that all Afghan factions stop fighting and resume negotiations without delay.
The Afghan conflict continued to be fuelled by arms, ammunition and other military supplies from abroad, as well as by the apparent involvement from foreign military personnel, he said. Foreign interference had to end. Regional Powers needed to talk to each other and build mutual confidence. Only then could the efforts of the Secretary-General and his representatives to facilitate a peaceful solution bear fruit.
Sweden remained greatly concerned at the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, he said. All parties to the conflict must comply fully with their obligations under international humanitarian law and take full responsibility for the safety and unhindered access of international and humanitarian personnel. Of equal concern were the continued violations of human rights, and especially the discrimination against Afghan girls and women.
For many years, Sweden had been one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, he said. It was ready to continue that assistance when conditions on the ground made it possible. Assistance had been suspended due to restrictions in access, with grave consequences. Sweden fully supported all efforts by the United Nations to reach an agreement with the Taliban in order to make possible the continued delivery of humanitarian aid. Sweden would vote in favour of the draft.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said that, on many occasions, Bahrain had stressed the need to resolve the Afghan crisis peacefully. All Afghan factions were called on to cease hostilities and return to the negotiating table, in order to reach a durable settlement. The international community was called upon to intensify its efforts in cooperation with the United Nations.
The efforts made by the representatives of the United Nations to facilitate the peace process were fully supported by Bahrain, he said. All relevant organizations should resume humanitarian aid to the Afghan people as soon as security conditions permitted. Stressing the need to refrain from using military force in conflict resolution, Bahrain supported the current draft resolution.
MELVIN SAENZ BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said the longstanding conflict in Afghanistan was once again a matter of great concern for all. It was unacceptable to Costa Rica that a faction was responsible for the suffering of so many refugees. It was also intolerable that the Taliban faction was responsible for the human rights violations of so many, including women and girls.
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It was a source of great alarm that there were still more than 10,000 undetonated landmines in the area, and that drug trafficking was used to finance armed struggle, he said. It was unforgivable that minimum access to health care was denied to women and girls.
Under any circumstances, it was intolerable for a United Nations official to be murdered in cold blood; neighbouring countries were contributing to the problem rather than seeking a solution. Costa Rica would stand ready to support the measures deemed necessary to help motivate the factions to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Costa Rica joined in just distress and concern at the prevailing situation in the Afghanistan.
CELSO L.N. AMORIM (Brazil) said the United Nations had an important role to play in helping the Afghan people in this period of conflict. The Organization had acted in an impartial way in the fulfilment of its political mandate, promoting the dialogue among the six neighbours and other interested countries. The United Nations, in cooperation with other organizations, had been instrumental in the provision of much-needed humanitarian assistance.
In order to allow for the return of normality to Afghanistan, it was necessary that the Afghan parties reinitiate a process of political negotiation, he stated. Both the Government of President Rabbani and the Taliban authorities had a responsibility to work in that direction. It was also necessary for human rights to be respected, including the rights of girls and women. All outside interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan should cease immediately, particularly the presence of foreign military personnel.
He said that no political movement would gain international respectability as long as it was perceived as harbouring terrorist activities. Those in a position of authority must ensure the observance of international law, in particular, the obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and the Geneva Conventions. The officers of the Consulate- General of Iran, who had been taken hostage, should be freed immediately.
MAUDO TOURAY (Gambia) said the situation in Afghanistan was of grave concern to his delegation, which had been extremely disappointed when it had learned of the capture of the Consulate-General of Iran. The Gambia vehemently condemned that act as a blatant disregard for international law. It joined others in demanding that all parties do everything possible to ensure the safe and dignified passage out of Afghanistan of the parties concerned. Another matter of grave concern to the Gambia were the attacks on United Nations personnel. The parties to the conflict must do everything possible to ensure the security of United Nations personnel and international and other humanitarian workers.
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The war in Afghanistan was very fluid, he observed. The Gambia believed that there was no military solution to that extremely complex conflict. The international community had expended a lot of resources, time and energy to help the Afghan factions out of that undesirable situation. The belligerents must realize that the patience of the international community would soon run out.
He said that the Gambia wished to take the current opportunity to call on the factions to lay down their arms and return to the negotiating table. The Gambia believed that the resolution before the Council was a balanced one and stated in no uncertain terms the demands and position of the international community.
MARK MINTON (United States) emphasized that no faction in Afghanistan could impose its will on the entire country through military action. A lasting settlement could be achieved only by establishing a representative and broad- based, multi-ethnic government that could effectively govern and honour Afghanistan's international obligations. Afghan factions were urged to work with the United Nations and Special Representative Brahimi to reach that goal.
The factions should also facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to all in need, and work to protect the human rights of all Afghans, he said. The United Nations was particularly concerned about the women and girls of Afghanistan, who were subject to systematic discrimination and repression. The factions were called upon to respect internationally accepted norms of behaviour. Terrorism was one of the greatest dangers faced in the new global era. All assistance to terrorists by Afghan factions should cease.
He said that Afghanistan's neighbours should not interfere in that country and, in particular, should not take any actions that could further enlarge or inflame the conflict at this critical time. The United States supported the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and all of its neighbours. He added that the United States was aware of reports that several Iranians had been missing since the Taliban had captured Mazar-e-Sharif. While those reports could not be confirmed, the holding of diplomats for any reason and at any time was unacceptable.
The President of the Council, DANILO TÜRK (Slovenia), speaking as the representative of his country, expressed grave concern about the resumption of large-scale fighting in Afghanistan. Despite immense suffering caused during the years of fighting, the parties seemed determined to pursue the military option, and were not prepared to engage in serious dialogue to resolve the conflict peacefully. The situation had the potential to escalate with alarming and destabilizing effects on the region.
The fighting must be stopped and negotiations resumed towards the establishment of a broad-based government and national reconciliation. In
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this, the role of the international community -- and the United Nations in particular -- was important. The United Nations must offer a coherent approach to the problem. For that to be possible, full cooperation was needed by the countries with influence in Afghanistan, particularly its neighbours.
Full cooperation meant, first and foremost, that foreign military interference in Afghanistan had to cease, he continued. Foreign interference was one of the main obstacles to the efforts for peace in Afghanistan. Solutions must be found to curb the flow of arms and other supplies to the warring factions.
Slovenia strongly condemned the killing of the Military Adviser to the Special Mission in Kabul and the staff members of the WFP and the UNHCR. It expected that a full investigation into those crimes would be conducted.
Slovenia was deeply concerned about the fate of the personnel of the Iranian Consulate-General and other Iranian nationals who had been missing since the Taliban captured the city, he said. He called upon the parties, and the Taliban in particular, to respect their diplomatic status and the provisions of the Vienna Convention and to secure their safe passage out of Afghanistan.
He called on the parties to respect humanitarian law and human rights, expressing particular concern at reports of ethnic- and religious-based persecution, impediments to international humanitarian organizations and displacements of innocent civilians.
His country was also concerned over discrimination against girls and women and urged the Taliban to recognize and protect their rights. As a co- sponsor of the resolution submitted for action, Slovenia would vote in favour of it.
Action on Draft
The Security Council then voted unanimously to adopt resolution 1193 (1998).
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