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We all want an Afghanistan at peace, UN chief says in Doha — Global Issues

Speaking to journalists during a two-day meeting with regional and national special envoys for Afghanistan, António Guterres said that there was consensus among delegates over what needs to happen, although the Taliban are not taking part.

“We want an Afghanistan in peace, peace with itself and peace with its neighbours and able to assume the commitments and the international obligations of a sovereign State … in relation to the international community, its neighbours and in relation to the rights of its own populations,” he said.

There was also consensus on the process to reach this objective, he added, noting proposals outlined in an independent review on an integrated and coherent approach conducted by Feridun Sinirlioğlu, in line with Security Council resolution 2679.

Key concerns

It covered all the main areas of concern, Mr. Guterres said, including ensuring Afghanistan does not become a “hotbed” of terrorist activity, becoming an inclusive institutions, in which all its diverse groups feel represented in a “truly inclusive” State.

The review notes the importance of upholding human rights, in particular for women and girls; and concern but also a recognition of the progress made in combatting drug production and drug trafficking.

The UN chief also underscored the need for effective humanitarian assistance to the country, as well as long-term questions on Afghanistan’s future development.

Mr. Guterres further noted ongoing cooperation between Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, such as trade and infrastructure development, or bilateral arrangements on combatting illicit drugs trade.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaking to the press in Doha.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaking to the press in Doha.

Key questions

However, there are a set of key questions, “in which we are stuck”, he added.

“On one hand Afghanistan remains with a government that is not recognized internationally, and in many aspects not integrated in the global institutions and global economy,” he said.

And on the other hand, there is a common international perception of deteriorating human rights, particularly for women and girls.

“To a certain except we are in the kind of a situation of the chicken or the egg,” he said, stating the need to overcome the deadlock and produce a common roadmap, which addresses international concerns and those of the de facto authorities simultaneously.

Unacceptable pre-conditions

In response to a correspondent’s question on the lack of participation of Taliban de facto authorities, the UN chief said that the group presented a set of conditions for its participation, “that were not acceptable.”

“These conditions first of all denied us the right to talk to other representatives of the Afghan society and demanded a treatment that would, I would say, to a large extent be similar to recognition.”

On another question, Mr. Guterres said the meeting was very useful and the discussions were “absolutely needed”.

“Obviously it would be better if we would also have the opportunity after the meeting … to discuss our conclusions with the de facto authorities. It did not happen today, it will happen in the near future.”


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