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Welcoming Karzai, Security Council vows support for Afghanistan’s recovery

Welcoming Karzai, Security Council vows support for Afghanistan’s recovery

Extending a warm welcome to the new Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, the United Nations Security Council today voiced its “unqualified and unreserved support” to his quest for peace, justice and stability in Afghanistan and pledged to help in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

“The Security Council reaffirms its wholehearted commitment to supporting the interim authority and the transitional process,” the Council’s President, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, said in a statement read out in an open meeting after Mr. Karzai addressed the 15-member body during a brief visit to UN Headquarters.

Noting that efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan were “on the right track,” the Council said it remained committed to move this process forward. “We stand ready to extend the necessary assistance to the people of Afghanistan who have suffered virtually every privation known to mankind and who deserve a better future,” the statement said.

Welcoming recent donor pledges to Afghanistan, the Council emphasized the importance of rapid disbursement of assistance and good coordination in its delivery, in full cooperation with the Interim Administration. It also stressed that the reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan should not be derailed by any outside pressure or intervention.

“Here we appeal to the international community to continue extending their valuable support to the Afghanistan Interim Authority to take the country away from the legacy of war, poverty and instability,” said the Council statement.

It also urged leaders and representatives of different ethnic groups within Afghanistan to “forego their differences and invest in the reconstruction of a nation with sound democratic potential.”

While expressing concern about episodes of lawlessness in Afghanistan, the Council hailed the efforts of States contributing to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and welcomed ISAF’s progress in helping to restore security to Kabul and its surrounding areas. “We emphasize that the UN and non-governmental organizations must be allowed to operate in security and with full freedom of movement particularly in those areas most in need of humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.

The Council pledged its continued support for all efforts based on the Bonn Agreement leading to the formation of a broad-based, multiethnic and fully representative Afghan Government committed to peace with its neighbours.

“It is essential for the Afghanistan Interim Authority and the new government of Afghanistan to respect the basic human rights of all Afghan people regardless of gender, ethnicity and religion,” the Council said, welcoming recent “bold steps” by the interim authorities to promote the rights of women, including their appointment to Cabinet posts, and to ban illegal drugs.

Expressing full support for Lakhdar Brahimi, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, the Council also paid tribute to the work of UN humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations operating in Afghanistan and underscored the importance of assuring their security.