Statement by Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the sitaution in Afghanistan
Prime Minister, we welcome your personal participation in this meeting.
We thank the Secretary-General for providing his assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, and we thank Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Ms. Deborah Lyons for her insights and sharing her vision of the situation on the ground. We appreciate the analysis of the situation with sanctions, provided by Chair of 1988 Security Council Sanctions Committee Ambassador Tirumurti.
We followed closely the remarks of Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, who represents civil society today.
We welcome that representatives of the countries of the region have a say in the discussion of this critical topic.
By the moment of this meeting, it has been 5 months of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
As Secretary-General Guterres and SRSG Lyons justly mentioned today, the situation in the country is constantly changing. We note that the new authorities take some steps to address socio-economic, humanitarian, and human rights problems, as well as curb challenges posed by terrorism and drugs. We proceed from the assumption that it is only the beginning. We still expect Talibs to take solid steps to ensure real ethnical and political inclusiveness of the state authorities, eradicate terrorist and drug threats, and observe fundamental human rights.
Our common priority is to preserve stability in Afghanistan. We are convinced that everyone will benefit from solving this task: the Afghans, the region, and the whole world. Yet it is obvious that against the lack of relevant potential and resources, including financial resources, the new authorities will hardly be able to resolve all the longstanding problems and new challenges rapidly and effectively while acting by themselves. Success at this track will depend among other things on comprehensive international assistance to Afghanistan.
On 22 December 2021, Security Council adopted resolution 2615 on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in the context of the effective 1988 sanctions regime. Hopefully, this will allow to enhance the scale of humanitarian assistance while involving all stakeholders, including the United Nations, its humanitarian agencies, and the key donors.
At the same time, we must admit with regret that these efforts are not enough. Given Afghanistan’s looming economic disaster, the current humanitarian steps are but a “drop in the ocean”. Paralyzed banking system, deficit of cash and unemployment bring to naught prospects for post-conflict recovery. Representatives of the humanitarian community also confirm this. The issue of unfreezing of assets is very urgent. Unless this one is solved, Afghanistan has no long-term prospects to make it out of the crisis. We call on the United States and other Western donors to get the money back to the country. This money belongs to the Afghan people and cannot be used for bargaining or as a tool to punish the Afghans for the new reality that has evolved in their country. Otherwise, the consequences of the collapse will be much larger and will definitely increase the number of refugees, spread terrorist activity, boost drug production and, as a result, lead to even greater instability both in the region and beyond.
The risk of infiltration of militants and drug dealers in the region, including those disguised as refugees, cannot but raise utmost concern of our partners in Central Asia. We maintain regular contacts with all five Central Asian states. Cooperation at the level of regional organizations, within the CSTO and the SCO, remains in high demand. This includes CSTO Working Group on Afghanistan and renewed mechanism of “SCO-Afghanistan” contact group.
We emphasize that attempts to talk to the new Afghan authorities in the language of ultimatums and pressure, instead of diplomacy, while using assistance for recovery and socio-economic development as leverage are counter-productive. We need to learn from the mistakes and miscalculations of the past. We have said on multiple occasions that support for a political dialogue would let us receive effective answers to the pressing questions that we have. The extended “troika” remains an example of such successful cooperation that promotes peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
The developments in Afghanistan will inevitably impact the future of UNAMA, the mandate of which expires on 17 March this year. We expect that in his next report the Secretary-General will provide well-considered assessments, recommendations and proposals as to what should be part of this mandate in these new circumstances.