UN / AFGHANISTAN

11-Mar-2019 00:03:09
Addressing the Security Council, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said that the last three months have seen significant developments on both peace and elections, with tangible progress being made towards ending the conflict. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN
TRT: 3:09
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 11 MARCH 2019, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior UN flag halfmast
2. Various shots, Security Council minute of silence
3. Med shot, delegates
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tadamichi Yamamoto, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
“The last three months have seen significant developments on both peace and elections. First on peace. Further efforts have been made to bring an end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan, yielding tangible progress.”
6. Med shot, delegates
7. Wide shot, Security Council
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Tadamichi Yamamoto, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
“The United States and the Taliban have continued to engage in intensive direct talks. A number of countries have extended support to facilitate these talks. In the International Contact Group meeting held in London in late January, participants welcomed the ongoing US-Taliban talks and expressed hope that this would enable direct talks to take place between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. In early February, there was a meeting between some Afghan representatives and the Taliban in Moscow, which provided an opportunity for them to have a better understanding of each other’s views and thinking on peace. Despite such engagements, the Taliban have not yet accepted to engage in direct talks with the Government. I stress the imperative need for the Taliban to directly talk with the Government.”
9. Med shot, delegates
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Tadamichi Yamamoto, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA):
“Afghanistan is set to hold a presidential election this year. We expect this to be a critical step forward in further consolidating its representative political system. The holding of the presidential election on schedule, however, will be very challenging. The widespread reports of irregularities during last October s parliamentary elections undermined confidence in the electoral management bodies.”
11. Med shot, delegates
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Hamdullah Mohib, National Security Adviser, Afghanistan:
“The Afghan government and the Afghan people have made commitments to peace. Now it is up to the Taliban to prove their commitment. They have so far failed to seize opportunities for peace. Yet we stand ready to engage in direct talks. If the Taliban genuinely want peace, they should demonstrate it through positive deeds, not by continued attacks against innocent people and our security forces.”
13. Wide shot, Security Council
14. Med shot, delegates
STORYLINE
Speaking to the Security Council members, who held a minute of silence for the victims of the flight crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said today (11 Mar) that the last three months have seen significant developments on both peace and elections, with tangible progress being made towards ending the conflict.

He noted that the UN and the Taliban have continued to engage in intensive talks, but stressed the need for the Taliban to speak directly with the Government of Afghanistan.

Yamamoto stressed that we must recognize that all international efforts need to come to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

He said he expects this year’s presidential elections to be a critical step forward in further consolidating Afghanistan’s representative political system, but that holding them on time will be very challenging.

Also speaking at the Council, Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, said “the Afghan government and the Afghan people have made commitments to peace. Now it is up to the Taliban to prove their commitment. They have so far failed to seize opportunities for peace. Yet we stand ready to engage in direct talks. If the Taliban genuinely want peace, they should demonstrate it through positive deeds, not by continued attacks against innocent people and our security forces.”

In February, the UNAMA released devastating figures showing the direct impact of the conflict on the civilians. Fighting and brutal violence claimed 3,804 civilian lives in 2018, the highest number recorded since the UN started keeping records ten years ago. In addition, 7,189 people were injured in 2018, 5 per cent more than in 2017.
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