Media stakeout following SRSG Tadamichi Yamamoto's briefing to the Security Council

26 Sep 2017

Media stakeout following SRSG Tadamichi Yamamoto's briefing to the Security Council

NEW YORK - Media stakeout following the briefing to the Security Council by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto.



New York - 25 September 2017

(near verbatim)

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  • UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto

Tadamichi Yamamoto: Good evening.

The Security Council meeting on Afghanistan has just ended. I would say that the important thing was that there was very strong support for political efforts for peace and there was strong stress on the need for the countries in the region to contribute and to make efforts.

The other thing was the strategic review of UNAMA. There was, I think, unanimous support for the outcome of the strategic review, particularly on the fact that there was a clear focus on the work of UNAMA.

Question: I wanted to ask you about this attack in Sar-e Pul; I wanted to know whether it is your analysis that this was the Taliban and ISIS actually working together to make an attack and if so what do you think it portends for things in Afghanistan.

Yamamoto: Well, I think it was mainly actually Taliban. Of course we should be very careful to make a final pronouncement but it was the Taliban. We know that the area has been under Taliban influence for some time. That particular province the attack took place was close to a town which was critical from their strategic point of view. The town or the area has been under a threat for some time. So Taliban just went in to take the place to really to clear the place so their strategic interest can be realized.

Question: Did you see any evidence, is it Taliban or against ISIS, is the situation to a degree that ISIS is in Afghanistan and the Taliban is opposed to them or do they sometimes work together? What’s your analysis of that?

Yamamoto: Well, we haven’t seen them working together, no, we haven’t seen that evidence. They, on the other hand, actually, contrary to what you say, usually the Taliban and ISIS are fighting against each other. Taliban actually does not like the ISIS to come into Afghanistan.

Question: A number of countries remarked that they would like to be able to report or see more progress on peace process and that while some good things have happened they are kind of disappointed in the pace of that. Any thoughts on that?

Yamamoto: Most countries really would like to see more progress on the peace process. The peace process, however, is of course very complex process. What we would really like to see at this moment is to really to see the political efforts to explore how to begin the peace process. Because you have to bring Taliban and the Afghan government together. That will require much more work. But we have to start the contacts and the exploratory processes to get to that stage because the actual process -preparatory process- really take a long time and we believe that the time is particularly ripe now with the countries in the region really getting more interested. You have seen for instance United States coming out clearly with its position, many countries in the region and key countries are taking very strong interest in trying to move the diplomatic initiatives. So now we do see really the concurrence of many countries getting interested in the political process so we do hope that this will provide us the opportunity to make some sort of step forward. And UNAMA naturally is very much keen to participate in the process and work with the Afghan government, particularly to help them in their own effort to lead the process particularly through the so called Kabul Process for Peace.

Question: You’ve mentioned the US; could I just ask you one thing? Obviously the Trump administration announced that it wants to send more troops. Do you have a view as UNAMA? Do you think how could they be used, how should they be used? Are you willing to say what you think is behind that? If it’s a good thing for your work?

Yamamoto: US policy from our point of view had one important thing which is to really to sort of say clearly that the policy is conditions based. So it does give clarity to the policy and I think that’s very, very important. And we also know that they are really trying to work to bring about a political process and that’s their real goal. It’s been clearly said by the US government that there is no military solution, that they are seeking a political process.