SRSG Yamamoto at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan press conference

28 Nov 2018

SRSG Yamamoto at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan press conference

GENEVA - The following is a transcript of a press conference on 28 November 2018 following the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan.


The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, at a press conference after the Geneva Confeence on Afghanistan

[near verbatim]

Geneva, 28 November 2018

* * *

Thank you very much.

Good evening members of the media.

Some of the details have been explained by the two previous speakers, so I’d like to give you more of the context and some of the highlights seen from the United Nations point of view.

The context is that this is probably the most comprehensive international conference on Afghanistan to talk about civilian aspects of international assistance to Afghanistan. This is held every two years since Tokyo in 2012. And this is one of the two pillars – the other pillar, security, is discussed by NATO in NATO summit meetings, the last one of which was done this year in Brussels in July. We have to look at this in pair, so to speak. Here in Geneva we look at the civilian component of international assistance.

There is a very particular feature to this civilian assistance to Afghanistan in that it is called a mutual accountability framework, meaning that both sides, international and Afghanistan, make commitments, and they both look at the commitments and review these every two years at the ministerial level.

So what we did here is to look at what Afghanistan has done since Brussels, which was the last ministerial, and we’ve found that Afghanistan has done and achieved much. On that basis, the international community has made strong commitment to supporting Afghanistan in the future, at least until 2020, when we expect another ministerial meeting.

This is one thing that we have to understand – that it was a very strong commitment of the international community, but in the whole context, starting from 2012, and going into 2024, until the end of the transformation decade, and that it is based on mutual accountability. This is very important.

The second thing is that this was the first ministerial meeting when the issue of peace has been taken up with so much weight in addition to the regular issues that are development, growth, social issues and reforms. Everybody agreed that the international community should continue to assist Afghanistan, as has been done in the past, but, in addition, they also agreed an extra thing, which is that the international community will continue to assist Afghanistan after a peace agreement is reached. This is very important. The international community said that we will not just say, “OK, we got a peace agreement, that’s it.” We will not say that. We will continue to assist Afghanistan after the agreements, so the agreement is implemented well, and it’s sustainable so Afghanistan can grow.

This also sends a message to various actors, of course to the Afghan people, but also to the insurgents, the Taliban, that even when they join, or when they are part of the government, the international community will continue to assist Afghanistan. So, this is, I think, very important.

The other thing is that people talked much about the nexus or the relationship between development and peace, that peace is needed for good development and that development can ensure peace to be sustainable. The key words here have been “sustainable peace.” Sustainability means that agreement has been implemented with the participation, understanding and cooperation of the people and the international community, so that it lasts. This issue of sustainability is something people noted in this meeting.

I also want to say that in the process of the international community committing to continue to assist Afghanistan, they looked really carefully at the achievements made, and also the challenges which remain. I would also say that the other important thing, seen from our point of view, is that it was very important that there was a unified view that peace efforts should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and that efforts of various countries for constructive purposes should strengthen the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned efforts, and that, to the extent possible, they should be aligned and coordinated with the Afghan efforts. I think it was very important that there was such an understanding, a general understanding, among the members of international community.

I’ll stop there. Thank you.

Q&A: Question about whether the Taliban is ready to meet with the government on peace.

SRSG: The Taliban has been more interested to talk about peace, but they have to maintain their position that they would first want to talk about the withdrawal of the international forces than talk with the Afghan government. But it is the view of all members of the international community that there has to be direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government for the conflict to be resolved. Everybody is working upon the Taliban to have direct talks with the government.