Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the third meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, in Tunxi, China, today:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I thank China for organizing this third meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries.
For more than four decades, the Afghan people have lived through a hell of instability, violence and conflict. But, throughout, they could count on the generosity and support of its neighbours — including for Afghan refugees. The world must follow your example of solidarity and generosity.
As it moves into a new period in its history, Afghanistan confronts an exceptionally complex series of humanitarian, socioeconomic, development and political challenges. The country’s stability — and the prospects and hopes of its people and the region at large — depend on all of us uniting around their needs in three areas.
First, humanitarian relief. The United Nations is undertaking a massive humanitarian operation in the country. We now have access to all parts of Afghanistan and helped avert a humanitarian catastrophe over the winter months. But the situation remains precarious. We appreciate your support in the movement of aid workers and humanitarian supplies.
Now is the time to urgently scale up support for refugees and the communities that have so generously hosted them. This includes combined appeals for over $5 billion — the largest-ever for a single country. It includes our One UN Transitional Engagement Framework for Afghanistan, seeking an additional $3.6 billion. And it includes today’s humanitarian pledging summit in London.
Second, economic revival. Afghanistan needs a strong foundation for recovery and reconstruction. That requires injecting liquidity and vitality into the Afghan economy, to pull it back from the brink of total collapse.
And third, constructive engagement. Afghans need an inclusive and representative Government — one that respects international humanitarian law and upholds human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially for women and girls. And I was particularly concerned when I saw that girls are now not allowed to go to secondary schools.
We need to build security and to forge peace in a country that has been, for too long, a haven for terrorism and drug trafficking. The Security Council’s recent extension of the mandate of the United Nations mission — including political outreach and good offices, coordination of assistance, and human rights promotion — is a clear example of the broad-based engagement required to prevent Afghanistan from spiralling any further.
But, none of our efforts to promote peace, stability or co-operation are possible without all of you. Let’s continue working as one to support the people and future of Afghanistan. As neighbours. As partners. As a global community.