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Security Council members hold initial talks on future UN role in Afghanistan

Security Council members hold initial talks on future UN role in Afghanistan

Amb. Richard Ryan addressing the press
Members of the Security Council today met in closed consultations with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his top envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, to begin initial discussions on UN's potential role in the country.

"There was an exchange of views on the humanitarian, political and military situation in Afghanistan and a preliminary discussion about the future possible role of the United Nations," the President of the Council, Ambassador Richard Ryan of Ireland, told the press following the Council's meeting with the Secretary-General, Special Representative Brahimi, Personal Representative Francesc Vendrell and other officials.

"Council members reiterated strongly their support for the appointment of Mr. Brahimi, who will oversee UN political, humanitarian and, in due course, rehabilitation aspects of the situation," said the President, adding that the Council would soon hold further meetings with the Special Representative and his Deputy.

"Council members demanded that the Taliban should stop threatening the safety and security of aid workers, and cease obstructing aid destined for the Afghan people," said Ambassador Ryan. "They also called on the Taliban to contribute to the alleviation of hardship by the very large part of the Afghan population comprising women, girls and children."

Gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation, Council members urged States to contribute to the UN emergency humanitarian appeals for Afghanistan, Ambassador Ryan said. While asking neighbouring States to intensify their cooperation with the UN to respond to the refugee crisis, the members stressed that the international community must respond financially to the needs of host countries.

"Members commended the efforts of humanitarian workers in the region, and reiterated the importance of ensuring the safety and security of such workers at all times," he said. "They stressed the need for all States to cooperate with UN agencies and to help create the conditions for humanitarian agencies to operate effectively."

Today's meeting marked the first time that Mr. Brahimi, who previously served as a UN envoy to Afghanistan during the late 1990s, briefed the Council since being reappointed earlier this month to take charge of the UN's overall humanitarian and political work there. Among other tasks, Mr. Brahimi will manage peacemaking activities involving the warring parties and others concerned, with a view to facilitating a fully representative, multiethnic and broad-based government.