Aug 30, 2021

UN Security Council Afghanistan Press Briefing Transcript August 30

UN Security Council Afghanistan Press Briefing Transcript August 30
RevBlogTranscriptsUN Security Council Afghanistan Press Briefing Transcript August 30

The U.N. Security Council held a meeting to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on August 30, 2021. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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Mr. President: (00:44)
The 8,848 meeting of the Security Council is called to order. The provisional agenda for this meeting is the situation in Afghanistan. The agenda is adopted. The Security Council will now begin its consideration of item two of the agenda. Members of the council have before them document S/2021/762, the text of a draft resolution submitted by France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it.

Mr. President: (01:37)
I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now. Will those in favor of the draft resolution contained in document S/2021/762 please raise their hand. Those against? Abstentions?

Mr. President: (02:26)
The result of the voting is as follows. 13 votes in favor, zero votes against, two abstentions. The draft resolution has been adopted as resolution 2593 of 2021. I now give the floor to those members of the council who wish to make statements after the vote. I give the floor to the representative of the United States.

United States Representative: (03:02)
Thank you, Mr. President. Today’s resolution establishes three clear expectations regarding the future of Afghanistan. First, the Security Council expects the Taliban to live up to its commitment to facilitate safe passage for Afghans and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan, whether it’s today, tomorrow, or after August 31st. Consistent with the right to leave any country, including one zone, everybody must be allowed to safely leave Afghanistan for whatever reason, whenever they want by air or by land. This is of the utmost importance to us.

United States Representative: (03:52)
Sadly, the United States is grieving the loss of 13 young service members who made the ultimate sacrifice while diligently working to help people depart the country in safety. We’re also mourning the hundreds of Afghans who were killed or injured during the attack outside of the Kabul Airport. They went to the airport in search of a better life. The international community, and those in Afghanistan must honor their memory by doing everything we can to continue to help those who wish to leave.

United States Representative: (04:28)
As of this morning, the United States has facilitated the evacuation of more than 122,000 American citizens, foreign nationals, and at risk Afghans out of Afghanistan, since the end of July. So many have made this possible. Our courageous service members, our tireless diplomats, and dozens of countries, including many on this council. Our allies and partners around the world have contributed to the airlift serving as transit countries and some resettling Afghan refugees permanently. We are grateful to all who have joined forces in this remarkable effort.

United States Representative: (05:13)
Second, the resolution makes the security council’s enduring commitment to assisting those who remain in Afghanistan crystal clear. It underscores that all parties need to facilitate humanitarian assistance and that humanitarian actors be given full, safe, and unhindered access to continue service delivery to those in need. The Afghan people are suffering, not just from conflict and massive internal displacement, but also from a nationwide drought and the COVID 19 pandemic. UN agencies are warning that humanitarian needs in the coming months will be vast. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that nearly a half million Afghans have been internally discussed place this year alone.

United States Representative: (06:06)
The World Food Program estimates that 14 million people in Afghanistan are at risk of starving without food assistance. And UNICEF has reported that COVID-19 vaccinations have dropped by 80% in recent weeks. Vital humanitarian assistance must flow to people in desperate need. Third, the resolution reiterates in strong terms several of the council’s enduring calls regarding the situation in Afghanistan. Today, we have spoken once again on the urgent need to tackle the serious threat of terrorism in Afghanistan. Last week’s horrific attack in Kabul demonstrated the very real threat that terrorist groups like ISIS-K pose. President Biden has made clear that we will do what’s necessary to defend our security and our people and the entire international community is committed to ensuring that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for terrorism.

United States Representative: (07:17)
Through this resolution, the Security Council has also reiterated the vital importance of respect for the rights of Afghanistan’s people, including its women, girls, and minorities. We will not waiver on this point. Respect for the rights of all the people of Afghanistan goes hand in hand with the needs for parties to engage in an inclusive negotiated settlement to bring stability to Afghanistan, which the council also emphasizes through this resolution.

United States Representative: (07:53)
As Afghanistan enters the next chapter, it is imperative that the international community remain unified and resolute, including in holding the Taliban accountable for its commitments. One such commitment, which the Taliban has made publicly and privately is that those who wish to leave Afghanistan will be able to do so. Today’s resolution signals just how seriously the security council takes that commitment, along with the commitments to allow humanitarian aid to flow and prevent terrorism. Through this resolution, the security council has issued a set of calls that are clear, necessary, and in the interest of Afghan’s people. Moving forward, we must address the most pressing security threats, stand up for the rights of the Afghan people, and lay the groundwork for a stable and inclusive Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan deserve nothing less. Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President: (09:04)
I thank the representative of the United States for her statement and now give the floor to the representative of France.

France Representative : (09:14)
[French 00:09:14].

Mr. President: (12:43)
I thank the representative of France for her statement. I give the floor to the representative of the United Kingdom.

United Kingdom Representative: (12:50)
Thank you, Mr. President. Today, this council has spoken clearly on the situation in Afghanistan and set out its minimum expectations of the Taliban. The immediate priority is ensuring that all those who wish to leave Afghanistan can do so safely. We have been clear that the Taliban must adhere to their own stated commitments to ensure safe passage beyond the 31st of August.

United Kingdom Representative: (13:29)
Second, Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorists. We have condemned unequivocally the attack on Kabul Airport last week, and we reiterate our condolences and sympathy to the bereaved and to the injured. A coordinated approach will be vital to counter any extremist threat emanating from Afghanistan and we call on the Taliban to uphold their commitments contained in the Doha Agreement.

United Kingdom Representative: (14:10)
Third, the humanitarian situation requires urgent attention. We are coordinating closely with partners to strengthen efforts to support humanitarian assistance and ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian workers and organizations.

United Kingdom Representative: (14:35)
Finally, the gains of the last 20 years must be protected. And human rights, including those of women and children and minorities, safeguarded. This resolution lays down a marker that the international community will be watching closely. Today’s resolution is an important step towards a unified international response to the situation in Afghanistan. We will continue to build on this to ensure the council holds the Taliban accountable on its commitments. The Taliban will be judged by the international community on the basis of their actions on the ground, not their words. Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President: (15:34)
I thank the representative of the United Kingdom for her statement, and I’ll give the floor to the representative of Ireland.

Ireland Representative: (15:40)
Thank you very much, Mr. President, and we welcome the adoption today of this resolution on Afghanistan, and want to express our appreciation to France, the United Kingdom, and the United States for their efforts in bringing it forward. Mr. President, Ireland voted in favor of this resolution because we believe in the importance of the council’s voice at this critical juncture for Afghanistan. We would of course have preferred a united message.

Ireland Representative: (16:11)
Our thoughts today are with those Afghans who are desperately trying to reach safety outside their home land, with women and children who know their fundamental rights are now at risk, and with all Afghans suffering humanitarian need, including those hungry and without safe access to water. This, Mr. President, is where our collective attention needs to be. We cannot look the other way. That is why the focus in this resolution on ensuring full, safe, and unhindered access to the UN and all humanitarian actors to deliver life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian aid is so important. We also welcome the emphasis on the upholding of human rights and to-

Ireland Representative: (17:03)
… says on the upholding of human rights, and the clear and unequivocal reaffirmation of the importance of the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in any negotiated political settlement. We would, of course, have preferred stronger language in respect of human rights, particularly given the situation now faced by the women and girls of Afghanistan. On the 19th of August, Ireland and Mexico jointly urged this council to place the utmost priority on women and girls. Ireland calls on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian refugee and human rights law.

Ireland Representative: (17:46)
I repeat what I said in this chamber on the 16th of August, telling the international community what it wants to hear will fool no one. We have noted the public statements by the Taliban. We will judge you by your actions, and not by your words. Right now, the international community must continue to demand that all those who need to leave Afghanistan, Afghans, and foreign nationals are free to do so in a safe, secure, and orderly way. We reiterate our firm view that this access at any air or land crossing must be without preconditions. Mr. President, Ireland will not be found wanting in our determination to work alongside fellow security council members, to ensure that we maintain laser focus on the situation in Afghanistan, including as our end assumes the presidency of this council for the month of September. Thank you.

President: (18:51)
I thank the Representative of Ireland for her statement. I now give the floor to the Representative of the Russian Federation.

Representative of the Russian Federation: (18:59)
[Russian 00:18:59].

President: (22:16)
I thank the Representative of the Russian Federation for his statement. I now give the floor to the Representative of Estonia.

Representative of Estonia: (22:26)
Thank you, Mr. President. In light of the uncertain developments in Afghanistan and the urgent and precarious security situation in Kabul Airport, Estonia gave its support to this resolution today. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. Humanitarian organizations and the UN have committed to stay and to deliver relief and assistance, but they need unimpeded access and assurances that their staff and aid providers can work and deliver assistance without interference or threats to their safety. This includes the need for a functioning and secure airport in Kabul, that enables people and goods to move as necessary.

Representative of Estonia: (23:11)
Furthermore, although a lot about the situation in Afghanistan is currently unclear, the last two weeks have shown that there are many aspects on which there is agreement. To highlight four, we have all called for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. We have all acknowledged that for peace to be sustainable, an inclusive negotiated political settlement must be reached with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women. We have together underscored the importance of adherence to international norms and standards and human rights, in particular for women, children, and minorities, and we have all reaffirmed the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan. With this in mind, I want to simply conclude that we look forward to building upon these in the interest of all the people of Afghanistan. Thank you.

President: (24:05)
I thank the Representative of Estonia for his statement. I now give the floor to the Representative of China.

Representative of China: (30:56)
[Chinese 00:24:21].

President: (31:04)
I thank the Representative of China for his statement. There are no more names inscribed on the list of speakers. Before adjourning the meeting, as this is the last scheduled meeting of the council for the month of August, I would like to express sincere appreciation of the delegation of India, to the members of the council, and to the secretary to the council, for all the support they’ve extended to us. Indeed, it has been a busy month, and one in which we are [inaudible 00:31:34] to seek consensus on several important issues within our purview. We could not have done it alone and without the hard work, support, and positive contributions of every delegate, every delegation, and the representatives of the secretariat, including the conference service officers, interpreters, verbatim reporters, and security stuff. As we end our presidency, I know I speak on behalf of the council in wishing the delegation of Ireland good luck in the month of September. The meeting is adjourned.

Speaker 1: (32:16)
[crosstalk 00:32:16].

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (34:00)

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (34:00)
Good afternoon. As India’s presidency of the UN security counsel for the month of August draws to a close, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and partners, members of the UN security counsel, and the larger UN membership for the support and cooperation extended to us. A special word that I would put in for our permanent representative, Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti and his very able team, for the successful conclusion of our presidency. As you are aware, the month of August has been a very busy month for the security counsel. There are some very key issues that have come up for consideration in the counsel. We have had the issues of maritime security, we have had Afghanistan, we have had the Middle East, we have had Myanmar, we have had Syria, and Yemen. A very notable initiative that our delegation took was the organization of the first comprehensive consideration of the issue of maritime security at a high level event chaired by our Prime Minister, Shri Narenda Modi Ji.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (35:52)
This event was attended by heads of state and government members of the counsel. We also had two events on technology and peacekeeping, and counter terrorism, which were chaired by our external affairs minister. I was in particular very happy to preside over the adoption of today’s important resolution on Afghanistan, which has unequivocally conveyed that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country, or to shelter, train terrorists, or plan or finance terrorist acts. It underlines terrorist individuals and entities designated by UN security counsel 1267. This is of direct importance to India. The resolution also notes the statement by the Taliban on the 27th of August, and the security counsel does expect them to adhere to their commitments, including regarding the safe, secure and orderly departure from Afghanistan of Afghans and all foreign nationals. The resolution also recognizes the importance of upholding human rights, especially of Afghan women, children and minorities, as well as to inclusive negotiated settlement and to humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. These are some of the key aspects of the resolution which have been highlighted by India. Needless to say, the adoption of the resolution is a strong signal from the security counsel and the international community on its expectations in respect of Afghanistan. You would recall that under our presidency, the security counsel had adopted three press statements on Afghanistan following related developments on the 3rd, the 16th and the 27th of August. I also wish to take this opportunity to extend condolences on behalf of our delegation and our country to those Afghan nationals and US troops who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in Kabul.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (38:17)
Separately, earlier in the day I was privileged to preside over the counsel’s deliberations on the Middle East peace process. In particular, the Palestinian issue. We also steered discussions and the adoption of three other important mandate extensions of UN security counsel on Mali. On Mali sanctions, the extension of the mandate for the United Nations interim force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, and the adoption of UNSOM, which is the Somalia resolution. With today’s meetings, the India’s presidency of the security counsel now reaches a successful closure. Each of our initiatives were designed to produce, to the extent possible, consensus based, substantive and forward looking counsel outcomes. This is a testimony to the constructive and bridging role that India has attempted to play during its residency.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (39:26)
I would like to thank the United Nations secretariat, in particular the United Nations security counsel division directorate, for the support extended to us during our presidency. I thank you.

Amanda: (39:41)
Mr foreign secretary? Hi, Amanda from Al Jazeera English. Regarding today’s resolution, how confident are you that this resolution will send a signal to the Taliban to make good on the commitments that have been made regarding things such as safe passage of Afghan nationals, foreign nationals, and also how long are you prepared to wait to see that the Taliban makes good on those commitments? And if they don’t, what other measures might you consider?

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (40:15)
I think it would be useful to take more than one question at a time.

Yoshita Singh: (40:21)
Thank you. [inaudible 00:40:22] Yoshita Singh with Press Trust of India. Given the security situation now in Afghanistan, after the ISIL-K attack on the airport and the counterstrikes now with the US, as a regional country, how does India view the security situation? And also, the senior Taliban leader, Sher Mohammed Abas, has said that India’s very important for the subcontinent and that the group wants to continue Afghanistan’s cultural, political and economic trade with India. How does India view these statements? Thank you.

Valera Robeco: (40:57)
Thank you. [Valera Robeco 00:40:58], from [inaudible 00:40:59]. So, today’s resolution is aiming to be a step in showing a united international community, but you got two abstentions. So, what does it mean to have a Russia and China abstention on this resolution? Thank you so much.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (41:22)
Well, let me start by saying that as a neighbor of Afghanistan’s, a country with whom we have a historical connect, today’s resolution as well as the counsel’s engagement over the month of August on Afghanistan has been very, very important. I’ve already mentioned to you about the number of outcomes on Afghanistan that the counsel has produced over the last month, and I think all of these are very, very significant outcomes. India’s endeavor over the last 20 years has been to provide develop and assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Over the last two decades, we have extended over $3 billion of Assistance to Afghanistan in infrastructure development, capacity building, education, agriculture, areas that are important for the people of Afghanistan.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (42:09)
Today’s UN security counsel resolution therefore is a very important and timely pronouncement, coming as it does under India’s presidency of the UN security counsel. As I said, I want to highlight the fact that the resolution makes it very clear that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any other country, in particular and also underlines the importance of combating terrorism. It also refers to those individuals and entities that have been designated under security counsel resolution 1267, and that context I may mention that the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the [inaudible 00:42:53], the [inaudible 00:42:53] and the [inaudible 00:42:54] are UN security counsel prescribed entities. Terror entities that need to be called out and condemned in the strongest possible terms. So, I think from that point of view, it has been quite unequivocal in the counsel, and I think that also reflects the views of counsel members as we understand it from the discussions.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (43:17)
Today’s resolution also highlights the importance of upholding human rights, in particular in the case of women, children, and minorities. India has always provided a very strong support to minority communities in Afghanistan. In particular, the Sikh and Hindu minority communities, and it is an important part of our effort to try and bring those Afghan nationals, including minorities who want to leave Afghanistan, and evacuate them. And I think the resolution in that sense has indicated a need for developing a safe zone for the passage of travelers in and out of Kabul airport, which is indeed a very positive development.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (44:03)
So, all in all I would say that the resolution highlights the will of the counsel to take necessary steps that are very important for the international community in its engagement with Afghanistan. And as far as we are concerned, we are extremely happy, as I said, as a neighbor of Afghanistan’s to be part of this important process of continued engagement on this very, very important issue. I thank you for your time and your support. Thank you very much.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla: (44:30)

Barbara Woodward: (45:57)
Good afternoon everyone. As you have just heard, the security counsel has just adopted resolution 2593, which sets out the counsel’s clear expectation that any Afghans or foreign nationals who wish to leave Afghanistan, be granted safe passage to do so at any time, whether via the airport or land borders. The resolution demands that the Taliban live up to their commitments under the Doha agreement, to ensure the Afghan territory does not become a safe haven for terrorists. It’s ordinary Afghan men, women and children who will suffer the most if it does. The resolution also calls for complete access for the UN and humanitarian agencies, to get aid to those who need it and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. This resolution shows that there is a minimum standard that the International community expect the Taliban to abide by, and the Taliban will be judged by their actions on the ground, not the words coming out of the presidential palace, and the security counsel of course has tools at its disposal to hold them to account for those actions. Thank you.

Amanda: (47:28)
[inaudible 00:47:28]

Barbara Woodward: (47:28)
Hi Amanda.

Amanda: (47:29)
This resolution has been talked about as a first step. UNAMA’s mandate, the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan, the mandate’s coming up for renewal mid month in September. What other measures are you looking at to strengthen the UN presence on the ground, and to make sure that the Taliban abides by commitments it’s made to protect civilians and form an inclusive government?

Barbara Woodward: (47:57)
Yeah. No, thank you. And I think you’re right, this is a first step. We’re all horrified by the bomb attack on Kabul airport, the suicide bomb attack, and send our condolences to the bereaved. And this is a security counsel first response to that situation. As I say, we’ve wrapped in concerns about safe passage, counter terrorism, humanitarian access and human rights. But I think as we look ahead, you’re right, we’ve got the UNAMA mandate renewal coming up next month. That will be an important opportunity to look into the medium term. The security counsel does have, I think two important avenues here.

Barbara Woodward: (48:40)
The first is that we know that the Taliban want to see the lifting of some of the sanctions on Afghanistan, and that will be an important consideration. The flip side of that is of course the security counsel could consider further sanctions on Afghanistan. We’d want to be careful in doing that because the women and men and children of Afghanistan are already suffering hugely. But there will be opportunities in the coming days and weeks, now we’ve got this resolution decided, I think to built on in the UN security counsel, among the permanent five members, further consultation among the G7, which we’ve been chairing, and G7 an extended format, working with regional partners to look at ways where we need to move forward on some of the longer term questions. Thanks.

Speaker 2: (49:32)
[inaudible 00:49:32] Hi, [inaudible 00:49:33] from [inaudible 00:49:34] newspaper. My question is regarding UN troops. In your national capacity, are you in favor of having UN troops securing the Kabul area or the airport? And do you have any comments, since you are one of the three countries who were responsible for the resolution, any comments on the fact that China and Russia abstained, and the comments they had in the counsel? Thank you.

Barbara Woodward: (49:59)
Thank you. So, I think on the first question, I mean it is critical that the airport is properly secured, and the tragedy of the bombing, the suicide bombing at the airport was that it called that into question, and apart from the 300 or more people killed and injured, meant that the possibility of safe passage was severely disrupted. I think there’s still an open question about how the airport is secured, and I know that’s one of the questions that is under discussion. So, we don’t have a particular view on how it should be done, but important that the airport is secure. And then in terms of the abstentions, there were two abstentions as you know from Russia and China. Of course, you really need to ask them for their reasons, but I think I’d say a couple of things. The first is that this was a short resolution, it was a response to the attack, and as I say captured the key points on counter terrorism, humanitarian access, human rights, and safe passage-

Barbara Woodward: (51:03)
… access, human rights, and safe passage in particular. But what really struck me from the discussions we had today in the council, and the discussions we’ve had in the four meetings leading up to today, is the shared importance that we all attach to the stability and security of Afghanistan, that Afghanistan should not become a haven for terrorism, and that it should not be in a position to disrupt its neighbors. So I think there’s a lot of shared ground for us to work from, although in this case, Russia and China abstained rather than voted for the resolution. Thank you all. Thank you.

United States Representative: (52:01)
Hello. How’s everybody? Good afternoon. Let me start by thanking all of you for being here today. Today, the Security Council spoke clearly on the situation in Afghanistan. The resolution we adopted today put forward by the US, UK, and France outlines three clear expectations regarding the future of Afghanistan. First, the Security Council expects the Taliban to live up to its commitment to facilitate safe passage for Afghans and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan today, as well as going forward. Second, the Taliban and all parties need to facilitate humanitarian assistance, and humanitarian actors must be given full, safe, and unhindered access to continued service delivery to those in need. And third, the Security Council reiterates its enduring call on the importance of counterterrorism, respecting human rights including those of women, girls, and minorities, working towards stability and peace in Afghanistan.

United States Representative: (53:19)
As you all know, the United States is grieving the loss of 13 young service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of America’s highest ideas, working to save the lives of others, and we’re also mourning the hundreds of Afghans who were killed or injured during the attack. They went to the airport in search of a better life, and today we honor their memories. As of this morning, we have flown more than 122,000 people out of Afghanistan since the end of July, and so many have made this possible. Our courageous service members, our tireless diplomats, and dozens of countries worked to make this happen. Today’s resolution furthers these life-saving efforts, and it addresses the challenges we face in Afghanistan, both now and going forward. This is incredibly important. After all, we cannot airlift an entire country to safety. This is the moment where diplomacy has to step up. Last week, the Taliban committed to the safe passage and freedom to travel for Afghans and foreign nationals.

United States Representative: (54:38)
And by adopting this resolution, the Security Council has shown that the world expects the Taliban to live up to these promises today, tomorrow, and after August 31st. This is of the utmost importance to us. And while we address the needs of those who leave Afghanistan, this resolution also affirms the Security Council’s enduring commitment to those who remain. The Afghan people are suffering not just from conflict and massive internal displacement, but also from a nascent nationwide drought and from the COVID-19 pandemic. UN agencies are warning that humanitarian needs in the coming months will be vast. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that nearly a half million Afghans have been internally displaced this year alone. The World Food Programme estimates that 14 million people in Afghanistan are at risk of starving without food assistance, and UNICEF has reported that COVID-19 vaccinations have dropped by 80% in recent weeks.

United States Representative: (55:51)
Vital humanitarian assistance must flow to people in desperate need. And the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan… As the single largest donor, the United States is absolutely committed to helping our partners on the ground provide food, protection, shelter, essential healthcare, water, sanitation, hygiene services, and so much more vital humanitarian aid to Afghans. Finally, this resolution reiterate several serious concerns the Security Council has about Afghanistan’s future going forward, including the importance of counterterrorism and respecting human rights. Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorism, and we need to ensure Afghanistan respects the inalienable rights of its people, including women, girls, and minorities.

United States Representative: (56:49)
We will continue to work with our allies, with our partners, and with all the countries who share our interest in a safe, stable Afghanistan that fulfills its obligation to its people and the international community. Today, the Security Council took decisive action, and we must continue to do that going forward. The United States will keep pushing here at the United Nations and in other diplomatic contexts to protect the rights of the people of Afghanistan and to do everything in our power to advance security and peace. Thank you, and I’ll take a couple of questions.

Speaker 3: (57:32)
Thank you, Madam Ambassador. [inaudible 00:57:35]. You just said that you can’t leave all the country to leave. But what happen if a million people, two million people, three million Afghani wants to leave, and maybe come to this country? [inaudible 00:57:48] now has the UN, with this resolution, and tell me that they can. So what is your respond to millions of people that would like to leave?

United States Representative: (57:56)
We took out 122,000 people in the past barely month and a half. And as I said, we simply can’t take out the entire country, but we are working to continue to provide opportunities for people to leave, and that’s what this resolution did. It provided for safe passage for any Afghan who wishes to leave the country, and we will work to assist them in that effort going forward. Our efforts don’t end on the 31st of August.

Valera Robeco: (58:33)
Thank you. Thank you, Madam Ambassador. [inaudible 00:58:34]. Can I have a comment from you on the abstention of Russia and China? Do you think that that undermined the hope of having a unified response from the international community on the situation in Afghanistan?

United States Representative: (58:49)
You know, we were disappointed with the abstentions of Russia and China. I will tell you that within the P5, we consulted very closely. We took into account some of the concerns that both the Chinese and the Russians raised in the draft resolution that was eventually approved. So the fact that they abstain I think they will have to explain themselves, but I think the Security Council spoke strongly, and what’s in the resolution, I think, are issues that are important to every single member of the Security Council, including China and Russia.

Speaker 4: (59:36)
Thank you. Thank you, Ambassador. [inaudible 00:59:40] from [inaudible 00:59:40] newspaper. My question is about the issue of recognition of Taliban.

United States Representative: (59:46)
I’m sorry, the issue of-

Speaker 4: (59:47)
Recognition of Taliban. When is it for you a time or a period where would you say we are ready to try to think about recognizing the Taliban? And what needs to be done there on the ground from your side?

United States Representative: (01:00:04)
Look, we’re not in a place yet where we are prepared to recognize Taliban. They haven’t even formed a government yet, so we need to see what kind of government they form. We insist that that government be inclusive and that it allows for the participation of women, and that it takes into consideration as it forms itself the rights of all Afghans, including minorities. So we will see what kinds of actions they take before any decisions are made about recognition.

Speaker 5: (01:00:35)
Thank you very much.

United States Representative: (01:00:35)
That’s it. Thank you all. That’s it.

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