Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Madam President. We would also like to thank António Guterres, the Secretary-General; Ms. Deborah Lyons, Special Representative and Head of UNAMA; and Ambassador Tirumurti, Chair of the Security Council’s 1988 Sanctions Committee, for their thorough briefings. We also welcome the civil society briefer, Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, and thank her for her valuable insights today.

Madam President,

Since last August, the UAE has followed developments on the situation in Afghanistan with great concern, particularly the continued deterioration of the humanitarian and economic conditions on the ground. Our meeting today offers an important opportunity to consider the best way to achieve stability and security and also to fulfill the aspirations of the Afghan people. It is important for tangible progress to be made with respect to the challenges facing Afghanistan, specifically with regard to forming an inclusive government, protecting women’s rights, combating terrorism, and supporting humanitarian and development needs. Security and stability in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without addressing these issues.

I will start with our key priorities. First, ensuring and protecting the rights of women and girls, in all aspects of society, must remain a priority, including their right to equal access to education. We also affirm the need for Afghan women and girls to have full, equal, and meaningful participation in all fields, as this is an essential element of the development, peace, and security on the ground in Afghanistan. In this context, we must reject the exploitation and distortion of religion – or culture – as an excuse to deprive women and girls in Afghanistan of their basic rights. There is no religious basis for this in Afghanistan or indeed in Islam. In fact, the opposite is true.

The international community must show its solidarity with the Afghan people by providing them with necessary, lifesaving humanitarian aid, as they face one of the fastest growing humanitarian and economic crises in the world. And we reiterate the importance of contributing to the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan which sets out to provide relief to the 22 million people in need in Afghanistan today. And we also call on the Taliban to continue to facilitate and allow UN organizations and humanitarian actors to enjoy safe, unhindered humanitarian aid access to the areas and groups most in need.

We welcome the consensus adoption of resolution 2615 that decided that humanitarian assistance and other activities that are in support of basic human needs in Afghanistan are not in violation of the assets freeze imposed by the 1988 sanctions regime.

The UAE continues its support for international efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable future for the Afghan people. In August, we launched an air bridge that to date has carried more than 485 tons of humanitarian aid, including medical and food supplies. We have also assisted in the evacuation of over 40,000 individuals from Afghanistan, who requested that support, or whose governments requested that support. Of course, this is not sustainable, and we must work collectively to stabilize the situation on the ground – and the liquidity crisis as well – in a robust and accountable way. The UAE will continue to provide support through our humanitarian institutions as well coordinate our approach to Afghanistan as a proactive member of the OIC. We welcome SRSG Lyons’ update that she is closely cooperating with the OIC Special Envoy for Afghanistan as an important step in that direction.

The UAE also joins the international community in expressing its deep concern over the threat of terrorism on the security of Afghanistan and neighboring and regional countries. We have witnessed, over the course of the recent period, violent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan that have claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. And we condemn these attacks, in the strongest terms, and call on the Taliban to take the necessary measures to combat terrorism in Afghanistan, to sever ties with all terrorist groups worldwide, and to prevent such groups from using Afghanistan to threaten or attack other countries.

And we stress here that terrorism in Afghanistan is indeed an international threat, and the fight against which requires regional and international support and cooperation. Supporting the social and economic development of Afghanistan will also significantly contribute to preventing the spread of extremism as others have said here today. And we also affirm the need to promote peaceful co-existence in Afghanistan and protect the full fabric of the Afghan society, including religious minorities, who have been targeted in recent attacks.

Madam President,

We look forward to reviewing the Secretary-General’s strategic and operational recommendations for UNAMA’s mandate that will be issued at the end of this month.

And in regard to the developments that Ms. Lyons mentioned on the positive engagement of Taliban with UNAMA, we hope that this will contribute to ensuring the success of the Mission in implementing its mandate. And we take this opportunity to stress the vital role that UNAMA and all United Nations personnel play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, and we thank them for their work. The UAE believes that going forward, the situation requires a robust UNAMA mandate so that it is best able to contribute to maintaining international peace and security in Afghanistan.

In conclusion, the UAE looks forward to supporting international efforts to achieve security and stability in Afghanistan, and we hope to see positive developments in this direction so that the aspirations of the Afghan people for a dignified life and stable, prosperous future can indeed be met.

I thank you.