Statement by Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, at the open VTC of UNSC members on the situation in Afghanistan
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Ms. Deborah Lyons for her observations and assessments of the situation in Afghanistan. UNAMA plays an important role in coordinating international assistance to this country. The Russian Federation supports its mandate and activities. We welcome the first briefing of Ms. D.Lyons in the Security Council and wish her every success.
We have also attentively listened to the assessments of Director of UNODC Ms. Ghada Fathi Waly. We thank Chairperson for Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Ms. Shaharzad Akbar for her respective briefing.
We have studied carefully the recent Secretary-General’s report about the activities and efforts of the United Nations in Afghanistan.
The key issue that is on the radar today is peace process. The Russian Federation consistently supports the “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process in Afghanistan.
As the SRSG has rightfully mentioned, one of the crucial factors to start inter-Afghan negotiations and definitely not the easiest one, is the prisoner release. We emphasize that this issue remains one of the key preconditions vital for future peace talks. We note several positive steps taken by the Government and Taliban in this regard and call for the rapid release of remaining prisoners in the coming days.
We affirm our principal position that the upcoming Afghan peace process should be inclusive. All efforts should be focused on promoting national reconciliation, which will lead to the end of the long-standing war in the country and the revival of a peaceful, united and independent state, free of terrorism and drug crime.
We have no illusions that direct intra-Afghan talks might be complicated and protracted, especially given the different understanding of future political architecture of Afghanistan by both sides. Russia has always stood and still stands ready to facilitate negotiations. Enabling Afghan parties to find an “acceptable-by-all agreement” and establishing a sustainable peace in the country are at the heart of our efforts within “Troika plus Pakistan” that remains a very important driving force for peace process in Afghanistan. For that reason, we also actively participated in Four-party virtual conference of the Special Representatives of Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan on Afghanistan on 18 May 2020 and in Trilateral virtual meeting of Russia-US-Afghanistan on 15 June 2020.
We truly believe the regional actors can and should play their substantive role in promoting peace process. The regional players and neighbors will undoubtedly be the first beneficiaries of the resolution of this protracted conflict in Afghanistan. Their cooperation and assistance is crucial to Afghanistan’s peace, stability and development. In this regard, we emphasize that Moscow Format that holds under its umbrella all key participants, including Afghanistan itself, can play its crucial role.
Against this backdrop, the security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile. It is worsened by the ISIL activities in the country. We fully condemn recent barbaric and coward terrorist attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar which resulted in high number of victims and for which ISIL-Khorasan claimed responsibility. Continued presence of ISIL in Afghanistan is still our serious concern. This represents a real threat to the security of both Afghanistan and its neighbors, the countries of Central Asia and Russia’s southern regions. We strongly believe that underestimating this problem is unacceptable. We urge all sides in Afghanistan to take decisive action against Al-Qaida, ISIL, ETIM, TTP and other international terrorist organizations operating against regional countries.
We are also intensively monitoring developments regarding the fight against drug trafficking in Afghanistan. In this regard, we support, Mm. President, your intention to focus the today’s meeting on counter-narcotics issue. This threat remains a serious concern for the country as well as for the region and the whole world. Drug production and drug trafficking are sources of significant financial support for terrorism. We call for all sides to completely eradicate this problem in the country. We are ready to fulfill our obligations by assisting the collective efforts against this threat, including through our active participation in the UNODC, as well as CSTO and SCO.
Needless to say, Afghanistan is at a crucial juncture and needs full support and attention of the international community, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Appropriate regional cooperation and international assistance, as well as joint efforts of the regional and international players will remain imperative in order to achieve lasting peace and stability in the country.
I thank you.