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Security Council voices support for boosting UN presence in Afghanistan

Security Council voices support for boosting UN presence in Afghanistan

Afghan refugees (file photo)
The Security Council has endorsed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendations to strengthen the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) so that it can better assist the people of the strife-torn nation rebuild their country and their lives.

In his recent report, Mr. Ban advocated strengthening UNAMA in a number of key areas, including increased staffing and possible structural changes, to reflect what his Special Representative Kai Eide needs to achieve.

“Addressing current priorities will require additional personnel in the areas of elections, support for the Afghanistan National Development Strategy, aid effectiveness, institution-building and the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he noted.

In a statement read out by Ambassador Le Luong Minh of Viet Nam, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for July, the 15-member body endorsed the recommendation that “in order for UNAMA to fulfil its mandate, much greater substantive, administrative, and security resources will need to be expeditiously mobilized in the areas mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General.”

The Council welcomed in particular the intention to proceed with another expansion of UNAMA’s field presence through the opening of six new provincial offices over the next 12 months.

Welcoming the strengthened partnership between the Afghan Government and international community exhibited at last month’s Paris Conference – where dozens of countries and organizations pledged resources to help Afghanistan rebuild and advance peace, security and development – the Council endorsed the key elements coming out of that meeting.

These include the importance of holding free, fair and secure elections in 2009 and 2010, the need to ensure the respect of human rights of all Afghans and the provision of humanitarian assistance, and the need to improve aid effectiveness to ensure that the benefits of development are tangible for every Afghan.

Mr. Eide told the Council earlier this week that he was convinced that “if we do not live up to the commitments undertaken in Paris, then we will jeopardize the support that we depend on – both in Afghan public opinion and in the public opinion of donor countries.”