The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has decided to extend the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for another year, welcoming the newly launched intra-Afghan negotiations, a statement said on Tuesday.
The 15-member UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2543 (2020), extending UNAMA’s mission until Sep. 17, 2021.
Welcoming the start of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, the UNSC “strongly encouraged the parties to continue pursuing confidence-building measures – including additional reductions in violence – and encouraged them to engage in good faith.”
UNAMA and its head Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, within their mandate and in a manner consistent with Afghan sovereignty, leadership and ownership, will continue to lead and coordinate international civilian efforts in Afghanistan in full cooperation with the government.
The Council also laid out a range of priorities, including: the provision of good offices; support for the organization of future elections; strengthening capacity in the protection and promotion of human rights; support for gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment; the coordination and facilitation of humanitarian assistance; and support for Afghanistan’s development and governance priorities.
They called upon all Afghan and international parties to coordinate with UNAMA in the implementation of its mandate and in efforts to promote the security and freedom of movement of UN and associated personnel throughout the country, stressing the importance of measures to ensure the safety, security and health support of the Mission.
It also welcomed UNAMA’s ongoing efforts to implement its mandated tasks and priorities in light of COVID-19, calling for the implementation of the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic as echoed in Council resolution 2532 (2020).
Adela Raz, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, thanked the UNSC for their unanimous adoption of an important resolution “at one of the most critical times in our history.”
Expressing hope that the talks now ongoing between her government and the Taliban will lead to a new period of peace and prosperity, she underlined the importance of national ownership and welcomed the resolution’s references to women, youth and human rights.
She also welcomed the text’s acknowledgement of the difficult compromises made towards peace, citing her Government’s difficult decision to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners to enable peace talks to move forward.