UN Special Representative Ján Kubiš said the main message from his recent meetings in the UN Security Council and with a group of countries called "Friends of Afghanistan" was “strong support to Afghanistan”. He was addressing a news conference in the Afghanistan capital.
“All the members of the Security Council – privately and during the meeting of the Security Council – confirmed one thing: the partnership between the international community and Afghanistan is strengthened and reinvigorated,” said Mr. Kubiš. “This partnership is not just for this coming period of transition but will last after 2014.”
The international community has the hope for, and trust in Afghanistan, he said adding that many countries confirmed their willingness to increase development assistance for Afghanistan in the years to come.
In response to a question from a journalist on a recent report on Afghanistan by the International Crisis Group, Mr. Kubiš rejected that the international support would wane and the country would fall apart post-2014. “On the contrary there is an expectation that Afghanistan will work, will develop, but with problems, with challenges, with difficulties maybe more than now, but still will develop and the international community is ready to do everything possible to support Afghanistan, and frankly to help Afghanistan, not to collapse to this kind of doom and gloom scenarios that are coming from different places.”
Mr. Kubiš said the UN has already started discussion on how to better support Afghanistan in the post-2014 period. “We are with Afghanistan and will remain with Afghanistan as the United Nations,” he said.
At a meeting in Tokyo in July, the international community pledged US$ 16 billion to Afghanistan through 2015 for the country’s economic and development needs. Likewise, a NATO Summit in May made firm commitments to support the Afghan security forces. These deliberations continued during the period that the UN General Assembly was in session in several bilateral and multilateral meetings.
UN will “continuously and increasingly” be engaged in dealing with the key challenges plaguing the country: good governance and corruption, drug trafficking, violations of human rights, and sometimes unpredictable security situatio, he said.
Mr. Kubiš told the Security Council on 20 September that despite “fragile” security situation, the country was making progress on different fronts including security transition.
Fielding a question from a journalist during today’s press conference, Mr. Kubiš expressed his satisfaction that Afghanistan and Pakistan are engaged in dialogue both at the political and military levels to resolve the issue of reported cross-border shelling into Afghanistan. The issue was also raised by Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zalmai Rassoul during a Security Council meeting last month. Mr. Kubiš said the UN, while continuing to monitor and report the situation, has been providing humanitarian support to the people affected by the shelling.
The UN envoy welcomed recent remarks made by President Hamid Karzai reiterating his commitment to hold the 2014 presidential elections on time and to transfer powers to his successor. “These are extremely strong political statements, telling you the intentions of the top representative of the country.” He also welcomed progresses made on the electoral process including a recent Government decision to base the future approach for organizing elections on e-Tazkira (electronic voter identity card).
“I would also like to bring to your attention that we as the international community are engaged on very specific discussions both on e-Tazkira and on other election related issues with the Independent Electoral Commission, with the Ministry of Justice, with the Ministry of Interior, with the Ministry of Communications, with many other organs of the state, including with the Ministry of Defense and with ISAF concerning security conditions,” said Mr. Kubiš.
The United Nations and the international community are committed to support Afghanistan organize the future elections, he said. “This is crucial for us to be able to identify how we, be it the United Nations or the international community, can support in a meaningful way credible and inclusive election.”
Mr. Kubiš called on all Afghan political forces and the country’s neighbours to engage in dialogue and give a push for reconciliation. He also announced that the United Nations would soon start a series of dialogue among the ordinary Afghans at local levels in order to boost reconciliation. This would provide the Afghans a platform in which they can discuss their future and “perhaps deepen and broaden potential possible future national accord”, said Mr. Kubiš. UNAMA had helped organize the first series of such dialogue in 2011.
“The United Nations has a natural place and role in these processes including helping to build national accord, national understanding, eventually national reconciliation with the aim to assist these processes. We will start soon an inter-Afghan track II dialogue, trying to engage and provide platform for Afghan people, representatives of different groups, civil society, political parties and also those that are fighting the Government.”