UN Security Council Extends Mandate of Afghanistan Mission

UN Security Council Extends Mandate of Afghanistan Mission

18 Sep 2019

The Security Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for one year.

Resolution 2489, which won the unanimous support of the 15 members of the Security Council, extends UNAMA’s mandate till Sept. 17, 2020.

It tasks UNAMA to “provide outreach as well as good offices to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process” and to support the organization of Afghan elections, including the presidential poll scheduled for Sept. 28, 2019.

UNAMA is also asked to promote coherent support by the international community to the development and governance priorities of the Afghan government.

The mission is asked to support regional cooperation, with a view to promoting stability and peace, as well as assisting Afghanistan in utilizing its role at the heart of Asia to promote regional cooperation and connectivity.

Tuesday’s compromise text does not include a specific mention of the Chinese plan, but references support for regional cooperation and connectivity, and working toward a prosperous Afghanistan.

“As a direct neighbor, China most wants to see peace, stability in Afghanistan,” said Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said after the vote. “To have lasting peace in Afghanistan we always think there must be impetus for economic development.”

While there are some new provisions in the mission’s mandate to reflect developments on the ground, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said the resolution could have been stronger.

“I should note that the reason we cannot empower the mission with a stronger substantive mandate today is a member’s insistence on language that highlights national political priorities, rather than ways in which we can most effectively assist the people and government of Afghanistan,” she said.

Previous resolutions adopted in 2016, 2017 and 2018, welcomed international development for Afghanistan, including the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Washington raised objections to inclusion of the language in March, however, when the resolution came up for renewal.

The U.S. envoy accused China of making the resolution “about Chinese national political priorities rather than the people of Afghanistan” and said the Belt and Road initiative was notorious for “problems with corruption, debt distress, environmental damage and lack of transparency.”

At the time, the council overcame the stalemate by simply extending the mission for six months.

Previous resolutions adopted in 2016, 2017 and 2018, welcomed international development for Afghanistan, including the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Washington raised objections to inclusion of the language in March, however, when the resolution came up for renewal.

The U.S. envoy accused China of making the resolution “about Chinese national political priorities rather than the people of Afghanistan” and said the Belt and Road initiative was notorious for “problems with corruption, debt distress, environmental damage and lack of transparency.”

The resolutions mandating the mission in 2016, 2017 and 2018 all included references welcoming and urging efforts like China’s Belt and Road initiative to facilitate trade and transit. In March, the US and some other council members said they could no longer accept that language.

The UN mission, which was established in 2002, is helping Afghanistan prepare for September 28 elections and is pushing for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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