Afghanistan: intensive diplomatic efforts underway at UN
The United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, today said that the country's neighbours have welcomed the reported general amnesty issued by the United Front following its capture of the key northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
In a statement released Saturday after a meeting of the political directors of the "Six-plus-Two" Group, Mr. Brahimi said "they urge all parties to the conflict to observe fully the principles and requirements of international humanitarian and human rights law. They also called upon all parties to facilitate the immediate return of international staff to Mazar-i-Sharif to respond to urgent humanitarian and other needs."
The Group comprises Afghanistan's six neighbours - China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - as well as the United States and the Russian Federation.
The envoy also shared his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and US President George W. Bush, who reviewed the situation within the country, including humanitarian aspects, as well as in the region as a whole, according to a statement released by the UN afterwards.
Mr. Annan and President Bush also discussed how best to bring stability to Afghanistan once the military action was over as well as efforts to establish a broad-based government. President Bush emphasized his wish to work closely with the UN in this regard.