Afghanistan, at UN, calls for revitalizing relations with international community
KABUL - Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta today called for revitalizing the sense of partnership and cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community, and said that despite irregularities the recent elections were a success.
“We must aim to build upon our many joint achievements as well as to address our mutual shortcomings and deficiencies,” he told the General Assembly on the fifth day of its 64th annual General Debate, citing the upcoming international conference on Afghanistan.
“What the Afghan nation expects and deserves from a renewed partnership with the international community is the reassurance of long-term commitment and solidarity. They are rightly fearful of being abandoned once again to lawlessness, extremism, and external interference.
“Abandoning the Afghan nation, which has endured years of suffering and pain, will undermine the spirit of collective cooperation and the ideals of the UN. It will also undermine, for many generations to come, the moral credibility of those who fail to honour their promises and commitments to Afghans. Furthermore, it will embolden extremists in the region and beyond,” he added.
He expressed profound gratitude for all the international help so far, adding: “The generous support and sacrifices of the international community were vital to our proud achievements in Afghanistan.”
On the August elections, he cited the struggle with terrorism, drugs, weak state institutions and corruption but said a new Afghanistan is emerging, one that is a growing democracy with rising state institutions, a budding civil society, a growing private sector and strong international solidarity.
“It was the first time in the modern history of Afghanistan that Afghan institutions were tasked with organizing and holding a nationwide election,” Mr. Spanta added. “Taking into account the socio-historic realities of Afghanistan, we have passed this national test successfully…
“As with any emerging democracy, undoubtedly, there were irregularities. But one should not assess a young terrorist-inflicted democracy with the criteria of stable, prosperous, and centuries-old democracies. This is not a call to condone fraud and irregularities. But in passing judgment, we should be conscious of the context, the process and the full picture, rather than of only one aspect or issue.”
He said that in an increasingly interdependent world the UN must assume greater responsibility for finding collective solutions to poverty, underdevelopment, environmental degradation, extremism, fundamentalism, terrorism, cultural prejudice, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the arms race.
“Rather than just managing and reacting to problems, the UN must find ways to address the structural causes of the world's problems and conflicts. To these ends, closer cooperation between the UN, the International Criminal Court, international financial organizations and global civil society is vital in moving towards more just and equitable relations between nations,” he declared.
Afghanistan’s northern neighbour, Uzbekistan, told the Assembly that the Afghan war was the source of security threats in Central Asia. “It is not a secret any more that the Afghan problem, which began 30 years ago, has no military solution,” Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov told the Assembly.
“It is impossible to improve and radically change the situation in the country without solving such urgent issues as reconstruction of Afghanistan’s economy, communications and social infrastructure destroyed by war, without involving in this process the Afghan people.”
He also stressed the interdependence of the world, calling for close cooperation between the UN and such regional structures as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
For its part, Germany – one of the biggest troop contributing nations and main bilateral donors to Afghanistan – said that “against the backdrop of the difficult security situation, the further build-up of Afghan security forces gains an even greater importance,” Thomas Matussek, Germany’s Ambassador to the UN, said.
To this end, Germany will continue to send more police instructors to Afghanistan, he said.
In the face of criticism, he pointed to “encouraging accomplishments,” especially economic growth and the rehabilitation of infrastructure.
“The basic prerequisites for Afghanistan’s sustainable development are good governance, the resolute fight against corruption and an improvement in state services,” Mr. Matussek stressed. “These are essential if the population is to once again nurture hope for the future.”