Following is the text of Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the meeting on Afghanistan, organized by Iran, in Tehran today:
I thank the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for organizing this discussion at such a critical time. Afghanistan is confronting an epic humanitarian crisis and is on the verge of a development catastrophe. I want to highlight four areas for action.
First, humanitarian relief. For our part — and despite enormous obstacles — the United Nations is undertaking a massive humanitarian operation in the country. We have been acting with the cooperation of the Taliban, who have progressively granted access to the areas requested and provided security when needed.
I thank you for your assistance in the movement of aid workers and humanitarian supplies and would also like to highlight the need for continued collaboration to ensure protection and aid to refugees. International support to hosting countries must match the scale of needs.
Second, we must find ways to avoid a total meltdown of the Afghan economy. We need to work together to make the economy breathe again and to help people survive. Injecting liquidity into the Afghan economy can be done without violating international laws or compromising principles.
Third, the people of Afghanistan need an inclusive and representative Government, that respects international humanitarian law and upholds human rights and fundamental freedoms. I am deeply disturbed by violations of human rights, including the rights of women, children and ethnic minorities, and recently, horrific terrorist attacks on religious institutions that claimed many lives. We need to keep engaging to help move things in the right direction.
Fourth, Afghans and the region also need a country that is secure, not one that is a haven for terrorism or a centre for drug trafficking. This is vital to peace and stability in the region and around the world. These are all issues on which the region has a shared interest — and on which all of us must speak with one voice. We can only achieve more stability with a united approach.
Together, let us act with determination — and without delay — to help the people of Afghanistan and to secure a better future for all.