MONITORING (SW) - The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto has briefed the UN Security Council about the harsh realities of life for many Afghans and the human cost of the war which continues to inflict a devastating toll on civilians.
He said the events of recent days and weeks have shown, more than ever, the urgency of finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict. He said efforts over the past year produced opportunities for peace. ''This created hope, but also fear for many. But one point remains clear: conflict can only be resolved by direct talks between Afghan people. These talks must be inclusive, representing the whole spectrum of Afghan society. It is imperative therefore that direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban commence as soon as possible'', he said.
Yamamoto said many efforts have been made for this purpose working with Afghan parties. "Those efforts have created an opportunity where the beginning of direct talks between the two Afghan parties seems to have come within reach. Yet, often, the period just before coming to an agreement is the most difficult phase. All those who are concerned with peace efforts, above all the parties to the conflict, need to continue to work to bring about direct talks", he said.
The UN Secretary-Generl's Special Representative caledl on the parties to continue to seize opportunity of direct talks so that a peaceful future could be built. "On 28 September, the people of Afghanistan are scheduled to head to the polls in the fourth presidential election since 2001. The country would make another step in strengthening the foundation of a representative democratic political system. The United Nations supports fully the efforts of the Independent Election Commission, IEC, and Electoral Complaints Commission, ECC, security institutions, civil society, and above all, candidates, their supporters and voters to conduct credible and inclusive elections on schedule", he said.
Yamamoto said credible elections would provide an important political foundation for the future of the country as well as legitimacy and authority to the elected President, which would be particularly important in view of the expected peace process. "Voter turnout is important for elections. 9.6 million people have registered. Voter turnout could be negatively affected by security, but also by the general interest of voters", he said.
He said the United Nations commends the efforts of all those concerned to bring about direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban and the United Nations will continue to assist such efforts.