STORY: Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan – Secretary-General’s Press Conference
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 13 Sept 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday hailed significant international financial support and solidarity with the people of Afghanistan at a flash appeal in Geneva, in which he appealed for a “lifeline” for the country’s most vulnerable people.
“Today, we have already heard clearly more than $1 billion in pledges…It represents a quantum leap in relation to the financial commitment of the international community towards the Afghan people,” said Mr. Guterres.
In an encounter with journalists on the sidelines of the high-level ministerial meeting in Geneva, Mr. Guterres noted that the fact that nearly 100 Member States had taken part - in addition to more than 30 regional and international organisations – underscored that the crisis in Afghanistan remained a crucial issue for the global community.
The UN top official also reiterated the importance of ensuring that assistance did not come at the expense of hard-won gains for women and minorities in Afghanistan in the last 20 years.
“We are of course very much concerned in making sure that humanitarian assistance is an entry point for effective engagement with the Taliban in all other aspects of concern of the international community,” he said, after appealing for $606 million to get urgent assistance to 11 million people for the next four months.
While immediate concerns have focused on the provision of emergency aid to avert a major humanitarian crisis in the country, Mr. Guterres warned that such assistance “will not solve the problem if the economy of Afghanistan collapses. And we know that the risk is enormous, and that there is a dramatic lack of cash.”
Pressed on the nature of the written assurances that the Taliban delivered in a letter to the UN over the weekend concerning aid assistance, the UN Secretary-General explained that there were in fact “two documents; one was guaranteeing full humanitarian work of the UN and the respect by the Taliban to that full humanitarian work; and the second, that they are able to provide security and even escorts when there are situations of insecurity that would justify it. So not only there is an attitude of acceptance but there is an attitude of support.”
It was also important to underline that the Taliban communiqué also appealed for international support for development, to combat the drug trade and security.
“There is a clear interest of the Taliban also to engage with the international community and I think this is what gives also the international community some leverage.”