The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday afternoon welcoming recent steps towards ending the conflict in Afghanistan. All 15 members supported the resolution, tabled by the United States, which endorses a joint US-Afghan declaration on peace and an agreement signed between Washington and the Taliban.
“The developments endorsed by this resolution are the product of more than a year of unprecedented US diplomatic engagement with the Taliban, in coordination with our partners in Afghanistan, the region, and around the world”, said Cherith Norman Chalet, the US Acting Deputy Permanent Representative.
The agreement with the Taliban calls for the fundamentalists to severe ties with international terrorist groups and to prevent them from using Afghanistan to carry out attacks against the US.
The Taliban also would participate in an intra-Afghan dialogue. While negotiations were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, they were postponed due to renewed violence and political discord at the highest levels of government.
Both incumbent Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory in the presidential election last September and held, in effect, duelling inauguration ceremonies on Monday.
The US has welcomed President Ghani’s steps towards agreement on an inclusive government, and Mr. Abdullah’s commitments to peace and inclusivity.
“We hope the people of Afghanistan seize the opportunity to achieve an historic peace settlement that ends the conflict in Afghanistan; preserves the gains of the last two decades in human rights, basic freedoms, and the meaningful participation of women in political and civil institutions; and ensures that the territory of the Afghan people will never again be used by international terrorists to threaten the world”, Ms. Norman Chalet said.
The Security Council vote took place just hours after the Group of Friends of Women in Afghanistan met at UN Headquarters. Its members, who include women ambassadors, champion women’s participation in the country’s future.
Group co-chair Ambassador Karen Pierce of the United Kingdom said the resolution sends a clear message on women’s inclusion.
“We expect to see the effective and meaningful participation in the peace process of women, as well as youth and other minorities. And while any peace deal is ultimately for afghans to decide upon, we affirm that it should protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all”, she said.
Remembering Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Prior to voting, Council members observed a minute of silence in honour of former UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, who died last week at age 100.
The Peruvian diplomat was the UN’s fifth Secretary-General and served two terms: from 1982-1991.