UNAMA Head Reiterates Afghan Elections and Peace as “Top Priority” for UN

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed regarding the efforts related to the upcoming presidential elections and the work to create an initial peace framework in Afghanistan, that both processes are “top priorities for the United Nations”.

“Considering the various media reports speculating about the position of the United Nations on these two fundamental issues, let me be clear: Neither process should be harmed or held back by the other; both processes must move forward with the full force and commitment of all stakeholders. While there are clear links between these critical processes, as they both will substantially affect Afghanistan’s future, the United Nations will continue to do all it can in both areas”, Mr Yamamoto said in a statement released by UNAMA.

Mr Yamamoto assured that he told the United Nations Security Council less than two weeks ago, that the presidential elections scheduled for 28 September will be a key moment to reaffirm the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s democratic political structure, and that this vital political foundation needs to be laid to ensure that the vote will be credible and the outcome accepted.

“All participants in the process – candidates, supporters, government officials, civil society organizations, national security forces, political leaders, political parties, media, the election management bodies and voters – have an important role and collective responsibility to ensure that the process is credible and transparent”, he affirmed.

He also expressed that Afghanistan cannot afford a contentious and protracted post-election crisis that could result in a president with brittle democratic and domestic legitimacy, as this would harm the new president’s ability to bring the Afghan people together in a meaningful and representative peace process.

In addition to fully supporting the efforts of Afghanistan’s electoral management bodies with technical guidance through the 28 September presidential elections, Mr Yamamoto assured that the United Nations will continue to work to support all peace efforts, which are of utmost importance.

“Attaining peace will require the efforts of many, but with the international community’s support for Afghanistan’s full ownership of the process, I am cautiously optimistic that we are moving in the right direction”, he conceded.

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