The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., spoke today at the UN Security Council High Level Quarterly Debate on Afghanistan.
The meeting focused on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, and follows the release on 15 June of the UN Secretary-General’s latest quarterly report on this issue.
Addressing the online meeting of the Council, Minister Coveney emphasised Ireland’s concern at the lack of progress in the peace process.
“The people of Afghanistan have repeatedly made clear their strong desire for peace. Those engaged in violence – including the Taliban – must respect this desire. A ceasefire, and a serious engagement in peace negotiations, is the only way to end the cycle of violence.”
The Minister made clear that any easing in sanctions and restrictions can only be considered when genuine progress is demonstrated in reducing violence and in progressing the peace negotiations, in accordance with Resolution 2513.
The Minister highlighted that all Afghans, and especially women, need to be meaningfully engaged in peace negotiations, and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“The peace process in its substance must also protect the rights of women. The international community cannot support any rollback of the rights of more than half of the Afghan population. Women’s rights cannot be the price of peace.”
Minister Coveney also stressed the need for a response to the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and condemned in the strongest terms the recent attacks on vaccination workers and against Halo Trust employees.
In concluding, the Minister again appealed to the Taliban to re-join and constructively engage in the Doha process, noting that it is “essential to addressing the urgent humanitarian and development needs of the Afghan people.”
22 June 2021
Notes to Editors
- This meeting, chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Eva-Maria Liimets, is one of the High Level events of Estonia’s Presidency of the UN Security Council in the month of June. Estonia and Norway are the current co-penholders on Afghanistan on Security Council.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Haneef Atmar participated in the meeting. Briefings were provided by Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ms. Deborah Lyons; Executive-Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ms. Ghada Waly; and Director of the Afghan Women’s Network, Ms. Mary Akrami.
- This meeting is the second quarterly debate on the situation in Afghanistan since Ireland took up its seat on the Security Council on 1 January 2021. The mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is due for renewal in September 2021, during Ireland’s Presidency of the Security Council.