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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC on UNAMA

2021/03/23

Madam President,

I thank SRSG Lyons for the briefing. And I have listened carefully to the statement by Akbar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. I also welcome the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the meeting to address the council.

At present, the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan through political means is the only right way and the common goal of all parties. Since the start of the intra-Afghan talks last September, the Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed on the code of conduct to advance the talks, and progress has been made. We appreciate the efforts by all parties in Afghanistan in this respect. As the intra-Afghan talks are hard to come by and the negotiation enters the substantive stage, the process will not be an easy one. But as long as the two sides set store by the interest of the country and the people, demonstrate political determination and wisdom, and remain committed to dialogue and consultations, they will arrive at a viable path towards political solution. In light of the recent developments, I would touch on three points.

First, the Afghan peace process should continue to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. China has taken note of some new initiatives on the Afghan issue from the international community recently. We welcome all efforts conducive to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. At the same time, China has always maintained that the Afghan peace and reconciliation process must adhere to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned principle. The future of Afghanistan should be in the hands of the Afghan people themselves. The country's future political arrangement should be decided independently by the Afghans and no solutions should be imposed from the outside. All elements in Afghanistan especially women should participate in the peace process on an equal footing. Efforts by the international community should serve to encourage and support the peace and reconciliation process, and must respect the ownership of the Afghan people. We welcome the positive outcome of the extended Troika held in Moscow last week. This helps build international consensus and encourages all parties in Afghanistan to advance the peace talks. At present, there are various mechanisms on the Afghan issue internationally, plus some recent initiatives to hold conferences on it. We hope that the relevant parties will fully communicate and coordinate with each other and define the goals in order to form synergy. Relevant conferences should yield tangible results, and should not be convened for the sake of convening. China noted that the Secretary-General appointed a personal envoy on Afghanistan and regional issues last week, whose mandate and objectives should be further fleshed out along with the division of labor with the SRSG, among others.

Second, we should help Afghanistan achieve security and stability as soon as possible. Cessation of fighting and violence and enjoyment of peace are the greatest aspirations of more than 37 million Afghan people, and also the common expectation of regional countries and the international community. The current violent and frequent attacks in Afghanistan and insecurity remain worrisome. China condemns the violent attacks against civilians and civilian facilities such as schools and medical facilities and hospitals, and calls on all parties in the country to actively respond to the Secretary-General's global ceasefire initiative, and stop the fighting and violence as soon as possible. The international community should continue to support the Afghan security forces in its capacity building, so that it can effectively respond to the threats of transnational crimes and drug trafficking, crackdown on the activities of terrorist organizations such as ETIM, protect civilians, and ensure the protection of women and children from violence. Consideration should be given to the impact of withdrawal of foreign forces on peace and security in Afghanistan. China maintains that foreign troops cannot come and leave as they wish. Withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan should be orderly and responsible to avoid leaving a security vacuum that will undermine the security and stability of the Afghanistan and other countries in the region.

Third, we should support Afghanistan in carrying out regional cooperation to promote its economic and social development. Afghanistan is the hub for South and Central Asia. Only by strengthening connectivity and engaging in regional cooperation can Afghanistan fully tap its graphical advantages, promote development, and improve people's livelihood. The international community should help Afghanistan engage in regional cooperation and connectivity, implement its 2021-2025 National Peace and Development Framework, solve a series of thorny issues such as poverty refugees and drugs, so as to achieve stability and prosperity at an early date. China has all along actively supported Afghanistan's economic and social development and help deepen connectivity and economic and trade cooperation with regional countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. China encourages UNAMA to make good use of the working group of the six neighboring countries, and actively contribute to promoting regional cooperation and connectivity between Afghanistan and regional countries. COVID-19 has posed huge challenges to the economic and social development of Afghanistan. China has delivered multiple shipments of anti-pandemic materials to Afghanistan. We will continue to work with the international community to provide necessary help in controlling the pandemic as soon as possible and promoting economic and social recovery.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that as a good neighbor and a true friend of Afghanistan, China will as always stand with the Afghans and be a supporter, a mediator and a facilitator for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. We will make greater contributions to the achievement of peace, reconciliation, development and prosperity in the country.

Thank you, Madam President.

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