The Security Council on Tuesday decided unanimously to extend, until September 17, 2020, the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Support for the Afghan government in pursuing peace talks, as requested by the Afghan delegation, was included as a last-minute provision. Christoph Heusgen (Germany), introduced the amendment, explaining that the delegation of Afghanistan requested that the text be amended to read: “Provide outreach as well as good offices to support the Afghan-led and Afghan‑owned peace process, if requested by and in close consultation with the Government of Afghanistan”. Heusgen stated that this addition is “extremely important” for Afghanistan.
China’s Belt and Road Project, to increase trade and transportation infrastructure for Afghanistan and regional neighbors, was not mentioned in the new resolution, as it has been in the past.
“To our regret a few countries refused to keep the text of consensus previously agreed,” said China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun.
US Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft said that the new resolution reflects changes on the ground, but added: “The reason we cannot empower the mission with a stronger, substantive mandate today is a member’s insistence on language that highlights national political priorities rather than ways in which we can most effectively assist the people and the government of Afghanistan.”
The mission is tasked to support the Afghan electoral process, and more broadly to strengthen the capacity of the government and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, as well as civil society. It will also support education, human rights and women’s full participation in decision-making, including in the peace talks.