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Cablegate: Unga Debates Situation in Afghanistan

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #1080/01 3222348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 172348Z NOV 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5383

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 001080

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AORC AF UNGA
SUBJECT: UNGA DEBATES SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN

1. SUMMARY: On November 10, the UN General Assembly
considered the situation in Afghanistan, and adopted by
consensus a resolution reaffirming international commitment
to rebuilding the country. Virtually every speaker expressed
strong concern over the increase of attacks against
humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan. Delegates agreed
that a successful strategy would be centered on the principle
of Afghan ownership. Many noted the progress that has been
made over the past seven years, and emphasized that refocused
international coordination was needed to overcome the
remaining challenges. END SUMMARY

2. On November 10, the UN General Assembly considered the
situation in Afghanistan, and adopted draft resolution
A/63/L.17, entitled "The Situation in Afghanistan," by
consensus. Nineteen delegations spoke, many underscoring the
need to promote social and economic development before the
security situation fully could be addressed. Virtually every
speaker expressed strong concern regarding the significant
increase in attacks against humanitarian aid workers in
Afghanistan. Several speakers, including Ambassador
Khalilzad, offered their condolences in light of the deaths
of two Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan the day before the
debate.

3. The Afghan PermRep reminded the Assembly of the "noble
purpose" of the international force in Afghanistan, which he
defined as "to prevent the malady of terrorism from infesting
a nation and the world." "Never again," he declared, "will
the Taliban regime have control of a country and crush the
hopes, dreams and lives of their own people. Never again
should Al Qaeda have sanctuaries in Afghanistan and elsewhere
to project its extremist terror to kill thousands of innocent
people across the world." The PermRep called for a strategy
based on three principles: increased Afghan ownership at
every level and in every dimension; international refocus on
the overall security of the Afghan people; and a re-emphasis
on regional partnerships. He highlighted the progress made
in building schools, health clinics, roads, and
telecommunications infrastructure, in human rights and rule
of law, and in counter-narcotic efforts. The Taliban was
fighting a "war of perception" he stated, and the
international community must remain vigilant to demonstrate
its success to the Afghan people. Noting that there were two
Afghanistans, one portrayed in the media, and the other
"experienced by millions of Afghans building daily lives in
peace," the PermRep implored the Assembly not to forget the
"second Afghanistan."

4. Ambassador Khalilzad delivered the U.S. statement, which
stressed that success required the Afghan government to make
tough decisions to implement agreed policies in the areas of
local governance, combating corruption, enforcing rule of
law, achieving economic development, pursuing robust
counter-narcotic efforts, and reform of the police forces.
Ambassador Khalilzad underscored the important role played by
Afghanistan's neighboring states in cooperating against
terrorists and extremists. He noted that the U.S. deeply
regretted the accidental loss of civilian lives in
Afghanistan, and assured the Assembly that the U.S. would
take every precaution to prevent civilian casualties. The
statement also called upon Member States to assist the Afghan
people in preparing to deal with food shortages and cold
weather, in order to avoid a worsening humanitarian situation
this winter. (The complete text of the U.S. statement can be
found at www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov.)

5. The Pakistani PermRep focused on the stress the situation
in Afghanistan was causing in Pakistan, including its massive
population of Afghan refugees, and the high number of deaths
of Pakistani soldiers and innocent civilians on its border
with Afghanistan. Pakistani support for international
efforts in Afghanistan, he continued, required "reciprocal
cooperation based on goodwill, respect for each other's
sovereignty and territorial integrity, and mutual commitment
not to allow our respective territories to be used against
each other." The French PermRep affirmed the European
Union's support for identifying criteria to measure aid
effectiveness; establishing a database to track resources per
donors' commitments; and strengthening the Afghan
institutions working to combat corruption. He emphasized
that the challenges in Afghanistan required a political
solution.

6. In introducing draft resolution A/63/L.17, the German
PermRep reminded the Assembly that the reconstruction and
development of Afghanistan remained the "heart" of the
international community's efforts, with the ultimate
objective of improving the lives of Afghans. The resolution,
he stated, would emphasize the Assembly's solidarity with the
Afghan people and send a strong message of support for the
international community's efforts to rebuild the country
after "devastating years of Taliban terror." The PermRep
highlighted the progress made in Afghanistan during the past

seven years, noted the need for further efforts to improve
governance in Afghanistan, and encouraged the Afghan
government to take further actions to combat terrorism, drug
production and trafficking, and corruption, as well as
continued judicial reform efforts.
Khalilzad

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