UN urges closer alliance in Central Asia to resolve Afghan conflict

    19 de enero de 2018

    United Nations, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- The UN Security Council warned on Friday of the risks posed by the Afghan conflict and urged the forging of closer links among Central Asian countries to address those threats.

    Kazakhstan, the Council's current chair, introduced the initiative to discuss the situation in Afghanistan from a regional perspective.

    The 15 members agreed on a statement supporting the joint efforts of Central Asian countries to promote an area of peace, cooperation and prosperity.

    The Council welcomed the idea of intensifying regional cooperation in all areas, including the fight against drugs, counter-terrorism and border management.

    "The entire international community has a stake in peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, and the countries of Central Asia have a particularly important role," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during the meeting.

    The Portuguese diplomat stressed that the landlocked region needs closer cooperation to move forward, praising efforts to reverse a decades-long decline in trade and positive interaction among the countries.

    "I am heartened over recent signs of change for the better," he said, citing projects in the areas of water, energy, commerce and security cooperation.

    Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov defended the integration process in Central Asia and said he hoped that greater dialogue and exchanges would produce solutions to shared problems.

    Abdrakhmanov, who chaired the meeting, stressed that one of the greatest current threats is the increase in presence of terrorist groups in northern Afghanistan, in particular, Islamic State.

    The fight against terrorists is also a priority for the international powers, including Russia and the United States, who insisted on the issue during Friday's session.

    "We will not allow Afghanistan to serve as a safe haven for terrorists as it did in advance of Sept. 11, 2001," US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said.

    The American insisted that countries such as Pakistan have to do more against terrorists and should not allow the current status quo to continue.

    This month, the US decided to suspend security aid to Islamabad, accusing the Pakistani government of not doing enough to combat the Taliban and other groups.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that northern Afghanistan is becoming a "training ground" for international terrorism under the auspices of Islamic State.

    Despite the need to continue the fight against terrorists, both the US and Russia stressed that the Afghan conflict cannot be resolved by force alone and they called for negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban.