|Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan to the Security Council on the Situations in Afghanistan|
|(25 August 2004)|
I thank Mr. Jean Arnault, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, for his briefing, and I thank the Secretary-General for his report (S/2004/634).
Four months ago, the Security Council held a public meeting to welcome the important results of the Berlin Conference. The Afghan Government has made unremitting efforts, with the help of the international community, to promote the Bonn process and to implement the consensus made at the Berlin Conference; a great deal of progress has been achieved. We appreciate the important role played by the United Nations, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The holding of free and fair elections and the establishment of a fully representative Government are priority tasks for Afghanistan. The elections will be an important milestone in the political process there. We welcome the fact that the timetable of presidential and parliamentary elections has been set. The Afghan people have high expectations that the elections will bring their country security and development. Although the voter registration process has been subjected to violent attacks and sabotage, extraordinary results have been achieved. This demonstrates that the Afghan people have great confidence and determination with respect to promoting the political process in Afghanistan. Indeed, the successful conduct of the elections and the continued promotion of the process of peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan still constitute a daunting task for the Afghan Government and for the international community.
As the report of the Secretary-General states, the increasingly tenuous security situation in Afghanistan threatens the Bonn process. Therefore, firm measures must be taken to tackle terrorism, factionalism and problems related to narcotics. With the presidential elections drawing near, it is even more necessary and urgent to improve the security situation. Here, let me make a number of observations.
First, we support the Afghan Government as it continues with security-sector reform, steps up its work on building the National Army and the National Police, and promotes disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). It is our sincere hope that all of Afghanistan's ethnic groups and political parties will focus on the national interest and will seek common ground, putting aside their differences and seeking unity, all with a view to maintaining national peace and unity and making a common effort towards economic reconstruction and development.
Second, counter-narcotics efforts must be made. The cultivation of and trafficking in narcotics have put Afghanistan's political, economic and social development in grave danger, along with regional stability. We appreciate the Afghan Government's counter-narcotics measures and call upon the international community to devote greater attention to Afghanistan and to lend it assistance in this regard. China will continue to work with regional countries to implement the Declaration on Counter-Narcotics within the Framework of the Kabul Declaration on Good-Neighborly Relations.
Third, we call on the international community to take action in response to the appeal of the Secretary-General and to provide adequate security assistance to Afghanistan, especially to meet security needs during the presidential and parliamentary elections. We welcome the decision of Spain and Italy to send additional peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan. At the same time, the international community should honour its financial commitments to Afghanistan so as to meet the country's financial needs with respect to the elections, security-sector reform and the restoration of the rule of law.
China attaches great importance to the process of peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and supports it. This year we shall provide $15 million in assistance. China's $1 million in assistance for the elections in Afghanistan will be on the ground by the end of September. On 10 June 2004, Chinese construction workers in Afghanistan were the victims of a terrorist attack; 11 innocent Chinese engineers sacrificed their lives for the process of peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. We strongly condemn that violent atrocity and demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice. I wish also to reaffirm that China will not yield to terrorism of any kind and, as it always has, will participate actively in the process of peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
Thank you. Mr. President.