Concerted Action to Help Afghanistan A Top Priority: Iran UN Envoy

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations called for strong regional cooperation to contribute to Afghan peace, reaffirming Tehran’s commitment to supporting neighboring Afghanistan and helping it restore stability.

Concerted Action to Help Afghanistan A Top Priority: Iran UN Envoy

Addressing a UN Security Council meeting on “The Situation in Afghanistan”, held in New York on Thursday, Gholam Ali Khoshroo described close regional cooperation with Afghanistan as a priority and a major step to consolidate peace and improved economic status in the region.

He also underlined that Iran continues its full support for the promotion of security and stability with comprehensive and sustainable development in Afghanistan and lends its support to any Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled call for reconciliation and peace process.

The following is the full text of the Iranian ambassador:

In the Name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful

Mr. President;

I would like to express my appreciation to the Netherlands Presidency for organizing this debate. My thanks also go to the distinguished Ambassador of Afghanistan for his statement. I would like to thank Mr. Yamamoto, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), for his briefing and presentation on the SG’s latest Report, as contained in document S/2018/165.

Unfortunately, security remains the major challenge for Afghanistan.

According to the SG’s latest report, 2017 ended with “the highest level of security-related incidents ever recorded”; a wave of deadly complex attacks, in particular three major attacks in Kabul with hundreds of fatalities, continued throughout January 2018. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP) remained operationally resilient, exemplifying the volatile security situation, as conflict between the Government and terrorist as well as extremist groups continued throughout most of the country.

Iran continues its full support for the promotion of security and stability with comprehensive and sustainable development in Afghanistan and lends its support to any Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled call for reconciliation and peace process. It is in this context that we welcomed to participate on the Kabul process and endorsed its final Declaration in February this year, as well as any other similar processes, to help achieve peace and security in Afghanistan.

The Afghan National Unity Government is in the forefront of fighting terrorism, in particular the Taliban, Al-Qaida, Da’esh and its affiliates as well as other terrorist and extremist groups and criminals. The sustained support of the international community is much more needed to support the Afghan Government in this fight as well as to address its complex security, economic and political challenges.

Strengthening our regional cooperation with Afghanistan is a priority and a major step to consolidate peace and improved economic status in the region. Here, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Kazakhstan for its initiative to organize a ministerial debate on regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a model to link security and development during its Presidency over the Security Council in January 2018. The world should regard the situation in Afghanistan not as a ground for competition but as an opportunity to establish peace, security, stability through development; a win-win approach for Afghanistan and its neighboring countries, including Central Asia as well as the international community in general.

Iran has, for more than three decades, hosted millions of Afghan refugees wherein it has shared much needed subsidized goods and services with them, including basic commodities, public health, and public education. This year alone, our schools are providing education to nearly 400,000 undocumented Afghan students.

With that in mind, we welcome and urge further efforts to strengthen the process of regional economic cooperation, including measures to facilitate regional connectivity, trade and transit. Over a decade and in total, Iran has funded more than 300 development projects, including reconstruction and building infrastructures totaling $500 million (US). These projects have the capacity to change regional economic perspectives and can help prosperity and stability in Afghanistan.

During the reporting period, trade through Iran’s Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports increased as of early 2017, marking a significant shift in Afghanistan’s access to markets and international trade.

The findings of the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2017 of the UNODC indicating an 87% growth in opium production are alarming given the fact that narcotics provide a major source of income for terrorist groups. The international community needs to support the relevant international and regional projects and activities, including those carried out by Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan within the framework of the triangular initiative to counter narcotics.

We reiterate our support for UNAMA as well as UN agencies in their efforts to provide development and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan through a comprehensive plan. Sustained ownership and partnership with the Afghan Government is needed in order to utilize the best potentials of UNAMA and the UN system to deliver these necessary services in priority areas as advised by the national Government.

Mr. President;

The General Assembly, through its Resolution A/RES/64/253, recognized 21 March of each year as the International Day of Nowruz. Nowruz, or “new day”, is celebrated in tens of countries, including Afghanistan. Nowruz has served as the common inspiration for peace and conciliation by more than 300 million people around the globe. On the eve of Nowruz, I would like to express my best wishes to fraternal people of Afghanistan, wishing them a happy Nowruz and reassure them of Iran’s full support in their endeavor to reach peace and prosperity in their country.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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