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Remarks of Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council briefing on UNAMA

2022-12-20 18:00

Madam President,

I thanks SRSG Ms.Roza Otunbayeva, Under-Secretary-General Mr. Martin Griffiths, and Ambassador Ruchira, as Chair of the Security Council 1988 Committee for their briefings. I also listened carefully to the remarks of Mrs. Mahbouba Seraj.

Afghanistan is at a critical stage of rebuilding. Much remains to be done for the realization of peace and development. Afghan people should not be forgotten. The international community should make greater efforts to provide more support and assistance. In light of the current situation, I would like to make four points.

First, we must resolutely combat terrorism and prevent a comeback of terrorist forces. A series of recent terrorist attacks taken place in Afghanistan led to a heavy casualties, marking an increasingly severe threat of terrorism. As a neighboring country bordering Afghanistan, China is highly concerned about this. The international community should maintain unity and cooperation, abandon double standards and politicization, and help Afghanistan effectively fight terrorism and organized crimes, preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven of terrorist organizations. such as ISIL, Al-Qaeda and ETIM. We urge the Afghan Taliban to steer clear of all terrorist forces and take resolute and vigorous measures to ensure the safety of Afghans and that of foreign diplomats and nationals in Afghanistan. A large quantity of weapons have been left by foreign troops after their withdrawal. Under the current threat of terrorism, high vigilance should be exercised against the proliferation of these weapons. We welcome the positive measures taken by the Afghan interim government to strengthen the control of weapons and ammunition. We hope that UNAMA will step up communication and cooperation with Afghanistan and promote support to the Afghan capacity building.

Second, we should scale up resource input to help lift Afghans out of their difficulties. As the SG’s report shows, 28.3 million Afghans will need humanitarian assistance next year. That is an increase of 4 million from last year. Council resolution 2615 adopted last December makes it clear that humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan is now taken violation of the Council sanctions thus clearing up the waterways and doubts of humanitarian agencies. That resolution however, is not a panacea. It cannot and does not fundamentally address the challenges encountered in the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The international assistance received by Afghanistan for the whole year of 2022 is far lower than that before August 2021. The substantial reduction of donor aid coupled with shortage of humanitarian resources is an important element resulting in the current Afghan predicament. Meanwhile, the obstacles to humanitarian assistance as a result of unilateral sanctions are still outstanding despite the adoption of resolution 2615. We regret to see that the Afghan overseas frozen assets have not been returned to the hands of Afghans. Instead, they were moved from one account that they have no control of to another account that they have no control. There is always excuses for the delay.

Third, integrated measures should be taken to support that sound development of Afghanistan. The intertwined problems facing Afghanistan should be tackled from their roots. The rights and interests of Afghan women and girls in education and employment should be guaranteed. We expect the Taliban authorities to make greater efforts in responding to the concerns of the international community. This has much to do with the overall Afghan stability and its gradual development and progress. In the past year, the Afghan interim administration has worked actively to stabilize the economy, increased steadily its tax revenue and engaged in economic and trade cooperation and connectivity with regional countries. Progress made in these areas should be encouraged. The international community should help Afghanistan restore its domestic market, completely eliminate the root causes for instability, and embark on the road of lasting peace and development. We expect and encourage UNAMA to make more efforts and explorations in this regard, so as to create better conditions for the development of Afghanistan.

Fourth, we should maintain dialogue and engagement with patient guidance. Only through engaging the Afghan interim administration in a pragmatic manner, can we enhance understanding and mutual trust, exert positive influence and better promote the peaceful development of Afghanistan. As the SG said in his report, “all sides must set aside mutual blame and hardened positions, and engage with respect, patience and realism on an agenda that places Afghans future at its center.” Under the current situation, the Security Council should seriously reflect on the Taliban sanctions mechanism and prevent is negative impact on the socio economic development of Afghanistan. Travel exemption is a necessary tool for engagement. It should not become a bargaining chip in negotiations. Regrettably, the Council did not reach consensus on extending exemptions this September. Facts show that the only effect the termination of exemptions had is the increase of difficulties for dialogue and engagement. That was not a wise decision.

Madam President,

For a long time Afghan neighbors and the surrounding countries have made tremendous efforts in supporting the Afghan peace process. In the past year, China provided Afghanistan with 300 million yuan of emergency aid and actively work to deliver 1 billion yuan of bilateral assistance. We have expanded our economic and trade cooperation with Afghanistan opened up the air corridor for Afghan pine nuts exports to China and granted zero tariff to 98% of the products from Afghanistan, sending care and assistance to the Afghans with concrete actions. China support you and UNAMA in playing an important role for assisting Afghans in their peace and rebuilding efforts. China would like to work with the international community and contribute further to peace stability, and development in Afghanistan.

I thank you, Madam President.

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