Виступ Посла з особливих доручень МЗС України Олега Герасименка на дебатах РБ ООН щодо ситуації в Афганістані.

Mr. President,

Let me start by expressing my delegation’s condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. We express our sincerest condolences to the relatives of the victims and the government of the Afghanistan and hope that those responsible will be brought to justice.

I join others in expressing our gratitude to Special Representative Yamamoto for his and his team’s efforts in Afghanistan.

While aligning with the statement of the European Union to be delivered later today, I would like to raise several points in my national capacity.

We take positive note of the latest accomplishments of the Afghan National Unity Government in addressing existing challenges.

First, we see some encouraging progress on the political track with high-level merit-based appointments, consistent work on countering corruption, and creating conducive environment for future parliamentary and presidential elections through strengthening electoral institutions and improving respective legislation.

Second, the Government is moving forward with the justice sector reforms, in particular the anticipated revision of the Penal Code to duly incorporate state obligations under the UN conventions against corruption and torture, as well as under the Rome Statute. This will ensure that those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity will be held accountable.

Third, protection of human rights and promotion of gender equality received additional impetus. The Government continues to work diligently on drafting respective legislation to counter and eliminate harassment of women and children. Overall, the progress of the country in the human rights area has been impressive.

Fourth, efforts to counter illicit drugs used for terrorism financing have been resumed, resulting in almost a double increase in eradication of opium poppy cultivation areas as well as successful counter-narcotics operations.

Fifth, the conference held in Kabul on 6 June on President Ghani’s initiative should foster regional peace and security cooperation.

Mr. President,

At the same time, these achievements have been accompanied by complex internal political developments, increasing tensions between political parties in anticipation of the upcoming election season.

Let me stress that it is absolutely imperative to preserve what has been achieved with such an enormous effort and sacrifice. It is up to the Afghan stakeholders to demonstrate maturity and put aside their differences for the sake of achieving sustainable and comprehensive peace and national accord.

Meanwhile, terrorism remains a major threat to Afghanistan and directly affects the peace and stability in the region, with Taliban announcing its annual offensives and ISIL affiliates raising their heads.

Attempts of several regional players to cooperate with certain factions in the Taliban ostensibly with the goal of preventing ISIL from expanding its presence in Afghanistan are alarming. We express particular concern at these endeavors. Tactics based on the notion “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is questionable in general and should in no way be applied to contacts with terrorists. We are of the view that such collaboration can only exacerbate the already difficult situation in the country. Let us not forget the lessons of so distant past.

It is disturbing that despite extensive military pressure and the attempts to decapitate ISIL presence in Afghanistan, it launched a string of high profile attacks in Kabul (on a military hospital in March and, most recently, in the heart of the diplomatic district this past May).

All this creates an atmosphere of fear and terror, thus contributing to instability and prolongation of conflict, and provokes social frustration and angry protest, as we have seen recently in the capital.

In this light, we call on the Afghan authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into these attacks so as to prevent their recurrence in the future, as well as to improve the protection of diplomatic missions and their personnel.

Let me also use this opportunity, Mr. President, to echo and support the call of the Afghanistan’s Ambassador on this Council to act upon strict enforcement and strengthening of the sanctions regime.

We are also concerned by the continued suffering of civilians, especially the high number of losses among women and children, as a result of the fighting between the Afghan Security Forces and Taliban, as well as from landmines and explosive remnants of war. We note the Government’s commitment to prevention and mitigation of civilian casualties, as well as its intention to ratify Protocol V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. In this regard, we call on international humanitarian demining actors, in particular UNMAS, to work together with UNAMA in promoting mine risk education programmes, as well as assisting the Government in conducting mine clearance operations.

The growing number ofinternally displaced persons, as well as of refugees repatriated to Afghanistan is another point of concern.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 600,000 refugees could return this year. Yet, the reports by UNAMA on the sharp increase of civilian casualties during clashes between the Afghan Security Forces and Taliban show how unsafe this situation is for the affected population.

In this regard, we also regret that the UNHCR had to significantly cut cash grants to Afghan returnees (from 400 to 200 USD), while they continue to struggle with severe food insecurity.

Mr. President,

Regional cooperation is crucial for stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan. In order to bring sustainable peace and prosperity to the country, key stakeholders have to spare no effort in confronting the major regional threat posed by terrorism.

We agree with the Secretary-General’s findings that this goal can be achieved with the improvement of bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan through a constructive dialogue.

We commend the readiness of the Afghan leadership to extend the hand of friendship and to seek ways of improving bilateral relations with neighbours through developing mutual security cooperation. In this vein, it is imperative to strengthen border controls to cut terrorist flows and to deprive Taliban fighters of shelter or any kind of assistance.

We hope that the arrangements made at the Kabul Process conference on 6 June will help reboot peace talks and enlist neighbours in a regional fight against terrorism. In this regard, we urge the guarantors in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group to assist in accomplishing these endeavors.

In conclusion, Ukraine would like to reiterate its strong support for UNAMA activities in assisting Afghanistan to cope with security, economic and development challenges, as well as enact national reforms aimed at creating sound foundation for peace, security and prosperity both in this country and in the wider region.

We expect that the strategic review of UNAMA’s mandate, priorities and related resources, as requested by UNSC resolution 2344 to be completed by this July, will result in enhancing the Mission’s efficiency.

Our common goal is to make irreversible the process of steady transformation of Afghanistan into a stable and prosperous nation, living in peace and harmony with all its neighbours.

I thank you.