19 September 2013
Statement by H.E. Mr. G. Hossein Dehghani Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of
the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations On “The Situation in Afghanistan”
Before the Security Council of the United Nations
19 September 2013, New York
Check against delivery
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I would like to start by thanking Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing and comprehensive report on UNAMA work and for his analysis of the current situation in Afghanistan. I also thank Ambassador Tanin for his statement today at the Council. I express my appreciation to the Secretary General for the report contained in document S/2013/535.
I would like to focus my comments today on some key areas related to the current situation in Afghanistan, namely regional cooperation and other issues related to neighboring countries including Iran’s relation to Afghanistan.
Turning first to regional cooperation, we believe that this is critical for achieving long-term stability and economic development in Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic of Iran is engaged in a number of important regional initiatives on Afghanistan that aim at greater regional connectivity to promote economic and commercial cooperation, as well as to root out the scourges of illicit narcotics, terrorism and extremism. We welcome in particular regional initiatives such as the Heart of Asia process and adoption of plans on confidence-building measures between Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries which surely could serve as a good basis for further cooperation at the regional level. The Islamic Republic of Iran is an active participant in the Heart of Asia process and Istanbul process. In the economic field, the international and regional partners should concentrate their efforts at laying the foundations for a sustainable economic growth and better conditions for livelihood in Afghanistan. For this purpose there is a need for accelerated progress on economic cooperation with the regional and international partners in accordance to the national objectives set forth by Afghan Government.
The newly elected Government in the Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to consolidate and expand its relations with the neighboring countries including Afghanistan which we share religious, linguistic and cultural commonalities. This provides an opportunity for Afghanistan to count on Iran and other neighboring countries to face the Challenges such as insecurity, lack of infrastructures, narcotic drugs and the issues related to the refugees which remain to be resolved. We have continued our dialogue with Afghan authorities on bilateral cooperation, particularly in relation to increasing cooperation on security matters and counter-narcotics efforts. During the President Karzai’s attendance in the inauguration of President Rouhani on 4 August, a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation between Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the National Security Council of Afghanistan was signed. This memorandum covers issues of mutual interest including intelligence sharing in combating security threats such as terrorism, narcotics and organized crime. We welcome the Triangular Initiative on cooperation on countering narcotics. This initiative provides the basis for better coordination for joint operations among border liaison offices, communications and the exchange of information in combating narcotic drugs.
The World Drug Report 2013 released on 26 June highlights the poppy cultivation rise by 15 per cent in 2012 at the global level, which an important part being produced in Afghanistan. This makes it clear that the narcotic drugs problem remains to be one of the serious challenges that Afghanistan is facing. This menace has hindered the advancement of the country towards development and has put the security of Afghanistan along with that of the region in danger. As it is rightly underlined in the report of the Secretary General there is an inter-connection in the challenges regarding a successful transfer of political authority through elections and peace and reconciliation efforts and the impact of the increasing mobility of extremist groups, the readiness of national security forces, and rising narcotics production and trafficking. Moreover, narcotic drugs, as the financial source of terrorism, has worked as a breeding ground for terrorists, extremists and illegal groups who attempt to destabilize the Afghan Government. Undoubtedly the increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in the past and current year plays an important role in reinforcing terrorism and insecurity in Afghanistan. The continued increase in poppy cultivation and drug trafficking in Afghanistan indicates that the preventive measures have not yielded the expected results and that the international community has unfortunately failed to curb this menace so far. We strongly believe that those who carry the responsibility to combat narcotic drugs on behalf of the international community should think of more robust projects regarding the elimination of poppy cultivation and preventing narcotic traffic and the proceeds emanating therefrom. In this regard my country hosted the Seventh Regional Financial Intelligence Unit meeting on 7 July 2013 to enhance regional cooperation in tackling money-laundering and suspicious financial transactions. The aim of the Meeting was to develop a common instrument to improve information exchange on suspicious transactions, including to tackle the profits of drug trafficking. A regional training on anti-money-laundering, illegal financial flows and suspect cash transactions was also held in Tehran from 30 June to 3 July 2013 with the participation of experts form the countries in the region. We hope such initiatives would bear fruitful results.
As our officials reiterated during their bilateral meetings with Mr. Ján Kubiš during his recent visit to Iran, there is a strong desire for constructive engagement with the international community on issues of mutual interest, including Afghanistan. The central role of the United Nations in coordinating international and regional efforts to improve the situation in Afghanistan especially in the post 2104 era, was once more reiterated.
We support UNAMA in fulfilling its mission for providing assistance for peace and reconstruction of the country within its mandate and through a robust regional engagement of neighboring countries on issues such as border security, immigration, refugees and drug control. The role of UNAMA should evolve on the basis of the situation on the ground, emerging realities and, above all, the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan. We wish all success for an independent, stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan free from terrorism, extremism and illicit drugs.
I thank you for your kind attention.