Afghanistan needs support to ensure stability, recovery, Annan tells Security Council

Afghanistan needs support to ensure stability, recovery, Annan tells Security Council

Kofi Annan briefs Security Council
Noting progress since the new Interim Authority assumed control of Afghanistan in December, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today told the Security Council that continued international support was needed to ensure the country’s short-term stability and future reconstruction and growth.

“The international community must rise to the challenge today, and then stay engaged for the long haul,” the Secretary-General Kofi Annan said as he briefed the Council this morning on his recent trip, which included visits to Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Qatar. The Council was meeting to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General said that security was the “number one preoccupation” of everyone he met during his trip last month to Afghanistan and that a second important concern was the need for the Interim Administration to have the resources to pay public servants.

“Without resources, the Administration will quickly lose credibility and will be unable to extend its authority elsewhere in the country, thereby undermining the chances of success of the longer-term peace process,” Mr. Annan warned.

One key element in Afghanistan’s recovery will be the support of its neighbours, the Secretary-General stressed, adding that in his talks with the leaders of Pakistan and Iran, they both pledged to work with each other and with Afghanistan’s other neighbours to ensure that country’s stability.

“Such a regional approach holds great promise, and I intend it to be a major pillar of United Nations strategy in confronting this challenge,” Mr. Annan noted.

Briefing the Council on his visit to Islamabad, the Secretary-General said that during discussions on the relations between India and Pakistan he had stressed the need not only for immediate military de-escalation, but also for a “sustained and determined dialogue” aimed at resolving the situation and preventing future crises.

The Secretary-General also noted that the Middle East situation was a subject of great concern in Iran and Qatar. Mr. Annan stressed that there was an urgent need to get the parties back to the negotiating table, “where all issues should be addressed – terrorism as well as occupation.”