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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Debate on Afghanistan

2021/09/09

Mr. President,

First of all, I welcome you to New York to preside over today's meeting, and welcome the presence of Pakistan and other countries of the region. I thank Special Representative Deborah Lyons and the two civil society representatives for their briefings.

As an ancient civilization in Central Asia, Afghanistan has experienced many vicissitudes of life. Over the past 20 years, Afghanistan's peace and development have been fraught with twists and turns and challenges, and the Afghan people have suffered immensely. 20 years on, the various Afghan factions have failed to achieve unity, only to see their internal differences widen. 20 years on, terrorist forces in Afghanistan have not been eradicated and terrorist organizations have become increasingly emboldened and rampant. 20 years on, the Afghan people have been denied development and dignity and have been teetering between poverty and instability.

Only history can do justice to what has happened in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. The recent abrupt changes in Afghanistan remind us once again that military interventions and power politics cannot gain popularity, and foreign models and democratic transformations are hard pressed to gain a foothold. What relevant countries have done in Afghanistan in the past 20 years has ended in failure. They should seriously reflect on it and correct mistakes in a timely manner, rather than walking away from the problems of their own doing and leaving them to Afghanistan and other countries in the region. After all, they bear the inescapable political, security, economic and humanitarian responsibilities for Afghanistan and are more obliged than other countries to help Afghanistan maintain stability, prevent chaos, and embark on the road of peace and reconstruction. They should earnestly honor their commitment to the Afghan people and take concrete actions to participate in the international community's assistance efforts in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

As we speak, Afghanistan finds itself buried in rubble and ruins. The Taliban in Afghanistan has announced the formation of an interim government as a necessary step towards restoring order and post-war reconstruction. According to the Afghan Taliban, the interim government was set up to restore social and economic order as soon as possible. We hope that the Taliban will learn lessons from history, honor its commitments, unite all ethnic groups and factions, build a broad-based and inclusive political architecture, pursue moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, protect the rights and interests of women and children, resolutely combat terrorist groups, and develop friendly and cooperative relations with other countries, no least it neighbors. Today, Afghanistan stands at a historic crossroads. We sincerely hope that Afghanistan can make the right choice and find a development path suited to its national conditions.

The international community should, on its part, play a constructive role in Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction on the basis of respecting the sovereignty, independence and territory integrity of Afghanistan, respecting the will of the Afghan people, and adhering to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned principle. There should be more dialogue with and guidance to the new authority in Afghanistan, and we should guard against conceiving presumptions, or worse, creating difficulties. The international community should urge and help the Taliban to honor its commitments in the areas of politics, development, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and human rights. In particular, it should prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a hotbed of terrorism and base for terrorists. All countries should abandon double standards and, in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions, resolutely combat all terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, and ETIM, so as to prevent them from conglomerating and stirring up trouble in Afghanistan,

China welcomes Secretary-General' proposed meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan slated for September 13 in Geneva, and hopes that the international community, major donor countries in particular, will step up assistance to Afghanistan. At the same time, the international community should help Afghanistan tap into its advantages in natural endowment, geographical location and human resources, carry out regional cooperation and connectivity activities, promote economic and social development, and improve the well-being of its people. One of the major causes for the current economic difficulties in Afghanistan is the freezing of Afghan overseas assets. These assets belong to Afghanistan and should be used for Afghanistan, not as leverage for threat or restraints.

Mr. President,

The situation in Afghanistan is closely related to the peace and development of the entire region. Over the years, Afghanistan's neighbors and countries in its vicinity have actively supported Afghanistan's peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process, and made enormous efforts to promote peace and development in Afghanistan. These countries are on the front lines of the fight against terrorism outflow, cross-border drug smuggling, and refugee and migrant exodus. The international community should understand their difficulties, respect their sacrifices and support their efforts. A foreign ministers meeting was held yesterday among Afghanistan's six neighbors, during which in-depth discussions were held on such topics as the current situation in Afghanistan, epidemic prevention and control, port opening, migratory regulations and control, humanitarian aid, counter-terrorism and security, cooperation in drug control and other issues. A series of consensuses were formed, whereby all agreed to focus on common concerns and strengthen communication and coordination among one another, so as to create an enabling external environment for restoring stability of Afghanistan.

As its close neighbor, China has always respected the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, adhered to non-interference in its affairs and pursued a friendly policy towards all Afghanistan people. To meet the immediate needs of the Afghan people, China will donate, for the first batch, 3 million doses of vaccines to Afghanistan, to be followed by another 200 million RMB worth of food supplies, vaccines and medicines on an emergency basis. When the security and other conditions are met, China is poised to help Afghanistan build projects that will help improve livelihoods, and in so doing, to the best of its ability support Afghanistan in its peaceful reconstruction and economic development.

Mr. President,

Under the current circumstances, China supports the UN in playing a bigger role in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and helping Afghanistan achieve a smooth transition and embark on the path of peaceful development at an early date. China appreciates the work by Special Representative Lyons and UNAMA. We look forward to thorough studies and in-depth discussions with other Council members in order to come up with proper arrangements for the next phase of the UN presence in Afghanistan.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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