Statement by Anna Evstigneeva, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, at the "Arria-Formula’’ VTC of the UNSC members on the Peace Process in Afghanistan: «What can the Security Council do to support peace process in Afghanistan?»
We welcome President of the Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Afghanistan Hanif Atmar. We also thank SRSG and Head of UNAMA. Deborah Lyons, Fatima Gailani, member of the Afghan negotiating team and Laurel Miller, Asia Director of International Crisis Group for their respective briefings.
Afghanistan is now at a critical juncture and the key issue is the peace process.
The Security Council pays closer attention to the situation in this country and consistently expresses its support to Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Indeed, the start of the Afghan peace negotiations in September in Doha was a remarkable step forward in the efforts to bring the end to the protracted war and to lead the revival of the peaceful, united, independent and prosperous Afghanistan free of terrorism and drug crime. This achievement was fully welcomed by international community, including the Security Council. This momentum gave all of us hope that it would open the new brighter chapter in the history of Afghanistan.
There is no doubt that this peace process should remain inclusive. We fully share the aspiration of the Afghan people to have a future where all their fundamental rights and freedoms, including those of women, are preserved, protected and built upon.
However, we see some hurdles in reaching this goal. Many issues are still jeopardizing fragile peace. We strongly encourage all parties to conflict to put aside their differences, and move on to substantive talks.
Ongoing violence remains a source of our major concern. Cowardly terrorist attacks become a regular practice in the country. As a result we receive heartbreaking figures of the civilian casualties, among which are women, children, students, religious minorities, medical workers and many others. Terrorist activities, including those of ISIL, take place amid loud declarations of significant reduction of presence of foreign troops. Drug production, cultivation, trade and trafficking remain source of support for terrorism and still poses a serious threat for the country, as well as for the region and the whole world.
Russia remains committed to facilitating peace process. We have repeatedly stressed that success of the inclusive future political settlement must be based on «acceptable-to-all-agreement». In this spirit we continue to work with both Afghan sides. We welcome all other regional and international efforts aimed at promoting peace negotiations.
We are convinced that UN should continue to play its critical role in supporting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We recognize the work UNAMA is doing along with the steps taken by its Head, Ms. Deborah Lyons in this regard.
Afghanistan urgently needs sustainable, comprehensive and real assistance and attention of all the regional and international players, including the UN. Unanimous support of the Security Council and its readiness to speak with one voice will also remain vital.
But let me be clear: this support should not be used as a bargain or a manipulation. There should not be any attempt to dictate the will to the Afghan people.
Afghanistan should not become an arena for competition but rather a unifying platform for cooperation of all actors working together to bring peace, stability and sustainable development in this country.
I thank you.