Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for organizing this morning’s meeting. Let me start by offering my heartfelt condolences for the victims of the Copenhagen terrorist attack and my strong solidarity with the people of Denmark. My hearts and thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those we have lost in recent terrorist attacks.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome UNODC Deputy Executive Director Aldo Lale-Demoz and his colleagues to today’s OSCE Security Committee and I thank him and Secretary General Lamberto Zannier for their comprehensive presentations.
Afghanistan highly appreciates co-operation with both UNODC, which has started long before 2001 and, as a partner for co-operation since 2003, with the OSCE.
We welcome the joint initiative of OSCE and UNODC that was formalized in 2010, to co-operate and co-ordinate their activities and mandates, adding value to the work of the two organizations, exploring synergies and making best use of comparative advantages. Afghanistan, as a recipient of assistance from international and regional organizations for the last decade’s stabilization process in the country, realizes the importance of optimized co-ordination, avoiding of duplication of efforts. In this context, I wish to thank the OSCE Secretary General for his personal efforts toward initiation of OSCE co-operation with other relevant regional organizations.
We welcome the extension of the Joint Action Plan for 2015. Afghanistan continuously benefitted from programmes, projects and assistance provided by both organizations, in numerous areas. We pledge our commitment to further consolidate our alliance in addressing transnational threats such as organized crime, terrorism, corruption, as well as illicit narcotics and chemical precursors, while fostering rule of law issues and good governance.
We are ready to actively participate in joint and integrated regional co-operation programmes, a main pillar of Afghanistan’s foreign policy, and would greatly appreciate continued deliverance of practical action and technical assistance, also inside Afghanistan. Capacity- and institution-building, for government and legislative structures, and civil society organizations, will be crucial during our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). In particular, we seek your support for the empowerment of women.
The global illicit narcotics economy and international terrorism have had a disastrous impact on Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan are prime victims of these transnational threats, and although there has been limited progress in addressing these menaces, the problems remain virulent and extensive. In order to effectively tackle these threats, we must address all forms of organized crime, based on our shared responsibility and applying a holistic approach, and we should focus on curtailing illicit financial flows. Follow the money and you will find the villain.
As I mentioned before, Afghanistan has benefitted from its partnership with the international community for the past decade and we remain strongly committed to our continued partnership with the OSCE and UNODC, for the success of our Decade of Transformation (2015-2024). Afghanistan makes every effort on national, regional and international levels to fight all forms of organized crime. Last week, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani during a meeting with the OSCE Secretary General also emphasized the importance of our partnership with the OSCE, and this week, a parliamentary delegation from Afghanistan will participate in the Winter Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and will address our future partnerships here at the Hofburg and also at the Vienna International Centre. The Afghan delegation in Vienna actively participates in the preparatory process for the OSCE Security Days events, as well as at the UN with preparations for the upcoming Commission on Narcotic Drug session, the Crime Congress in Doha, and the UNGASS-2016 on the World Drug Problem.
Earlier today, I heard also the terminology of “Afghanistan-originated drugs”. While I realize the commitments of our partners, as my EU colleague mentioned, I would like to reiterate the importance of addressing the world drug problem as a global challenge and of applying the principle of shared responsibility. As you know, caused by the cold war and related foreign interventions, Afghanistan became a breeding ground for terrorist activities and organized crime, including illicit drugs. To this day, we remain a prime victim and we pay a heavy price in doing our part in fighting against these transnational, global threats. We believe that no country should be singled out when we discuss global challenges, but we all should join forces and do our part in addressing these transnational, universal threats.