Iran continues strong support to Afghanistan, UNAMA: Envoy

Tehran, Sept 17, IRNA – Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo said Tehran will continue its support to Afghanistan through strong bilteral relations as well within United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

‘Iran continues its full support for the promotion of security, stability and comprehensive and sustainable development in Afghanistan since we consider the security in Afghanistan to be the security of our borders and the Region,’ he said in statement to the Security Council session on ‘The Situation in Afghanistan’ on Thursday.
He said the formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan, and assuming full leadership is a ‘major step’ towards establishing peace and prosperity in the country. ‘Iran continues to fully support the national unity government and is confident that this government is well positioned and enjoys necessary capacities to face the political, economic and security challenges.’
The latest Secretary General’s report on Afghanistan, Khoshroo added, indicates that although the overall numbers of attacks show a very slight decrease compared to 2014, the sustained conflict grew in both intensity and geographic scope.
‘The spike in terrorist attacks in Kabul, following the confirmation of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar was visible. The deterioration of security, especially in the north and west Afghanistan is a matter of concern.’
He condemned all violent attacks committed by Taliban and other terrorist groups as well as any cooperation with them, saying ‘we believe this will encourage them in their odious behavior and thus counterproductive to establishing peace in Afghanistan.’
The Iranain envoy also said Afghanistan should become the objective for regional and international cooperation, rather than competition, in order to establish and strengthen peace, security and development in the region.
‘With the increasing emergence of Daesh and its affiliate in Afghanistan, along with the vast spectrum of terrorist and extremist groups, as the report of the Secretary General suggests, the international and regional powers have a greater responsibility to and can reap enormous benefits from assisting the national unity Government, especially in its fight against terrorism.’
Khoshroo said Iran welcomes the statement by President Ashraf Ghani concerning the signing of the nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers and his describing of the JCPOA as an opportunity to strengthen peace, stability, and economic cooperation in the region.
On bilateral cooperation he observed, ‘We see the expansion of our political and economic ties with neighboring Afghanistan as a priority, Iran stands ready to increase its bilateral cooperation, particularly on security matters, counter-narcotics efforts, developing projects and economic cooperation in the fields of infrastructures and agriculture as well as durable solution for Afghan refugees.’
The Iranian envoy said there are great potentials to be explored in the fields of trade and transit.
‘We expect the tripartite agreement on Chah Bahar port facilities to be finalized between India, Afghanistan and Iran by the end of September 2015. Access to this port would be very beneficial for Afghanistan as a land locked country. To complete the ongoing two railroad projects from Iran to Harat and Farah cities in Afghanistan are also important steps to boost up the economic activities between the two countries and the region.’
Also on the Counter-narcotics measures, he said, ‘We are particularly concerned about the reports indicating that the opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan shows increase in recent years. This increase is mainly due to prevailing insecurity and poverty.’
‘It is a real threat for this Region and beyond and should be addressed by the international community in a very serious and comprehensive manner . In this regard, We welcome the regional initiatives taken by the countries of the region, including China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and Iran to this end.’
He reitereated that strong support and commitment from international donors, Afghan authorities and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is essential to deter the menace of drug cultivation and drug trafficking.
‘Narcotics are not only a social health challenge but also, and more importantly, a major source of income for extremist and terrorist groups. Thus, the international community should especially appreciate and support the Triangular Initiative on cooperation on countering narcotics among Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. This is a useful initiative that will benefit Afghanistan as well as transit and destination countries and must be supported by the international community.’
Referring to hundred thousands of Afghan refugees who continue to live in Iran, he added, ‘We continue to participate in the work of Tripartite Commission in order to plan for voluntary, safe, dignified and gradual repatriation of Afghan refugees and continued management of the refugee populations in Iran.’
‘Decrease in voluntary repatriation underlines the importance of meeting the reasonable needs of repatriated refugees in Afghanistan in order to reverse that trend, and underscores the necessity for mobilizing more international support for this purpose. We also continue our support to hundred thousands of Afghan students, from primary to university education pending their eventual repatriation.’
Khorshroo said Iran supports UNAMA as well as UN agencies in their efforts to provide development and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan through a ‘robust regional engagement’ on issues such as border security, immigration, return of refugees and drug control measures.
‘The role of UNAMA should be further streamlined, taking into account the work of Tripartite Commission, comprised of the Government, as the main partner, from one side and the international donor community, UNAMA and UN from the other side,’ he said.