UN key to bringing political solution in Afghanistan - President Chirac
Speaking at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday evening, President Chirac said he had discussed with Secretary-General Kofi Annan the actions taken by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, as well as ways in which they could proceed.
The French President noted that while the military process in Afghanistan would take a long time, political action was crucial. He added that the present Taliban regime was not appropriate from the perspective of human rights, women's rights and the current misery of the Afghan people.
Stressing the need to foster an Afghan Government rooted in democracy, the President said the UN "naturally" would have a role in this process.
President Chirac also expressed concern about the plight of vulnerable Afghan civilians. "We are engaged in a process that risks being translated into a humanitarian catastrophe," he said, adding that such an outcome would be unacceptable.
Emphasizing that the UN would be decisive in preventing a catastrophe, he said he had suggested to the Secretary-General that he appoint an eminent personality to coordinate humanitarian assistance. Mr. Brahimi, the President added, was certainly qualified but simply did not have the time, as he was taken up with overseeing the entire mission.
President Chirac said he had also suggested to Mr. Annan that he convene an urgent meeting of donors to accelerate the aid effort and the Secretary-General had responded positively to that suggestion.
The President said France, working with the United Kingdom, was preparing a draft resolution on Afghanistan for the Security Council, which would hold an open debate on the situation in that country on 13 November. If all went well, the draft would be adopted by the end of that week, he added.