UN's Afghanistan envoy to region

By WILLIAM M. REILLY  |  Oct. 23, 2001 at 6:59 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The special U.N. envoy to Afghanistan said Tuesday he hopes to leave for the region this weekend for talks with Kabul's neighbors and "as many Afghan parties as possible," seeking a "genuinely homegrown Afghan arrangement" for the country's future.

Lakhdar Brahimi first met with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, briefed members of the Security Council on his latest round of meetings since his appointment, and then met with reporters before meeting the Afghan representative to the United Nations, Ravan Farhadi.

"There's very, very strong support," Brahimi said, referring to the 15 members of the panel.

"If I remember the two years in which I was involved with Afghanistan before (1997-1999), this is significantly better and stronger support to the United Nations and to the people of Afghanistan than has ever happened," said the former Algerian foreign minister.

"I'm preparing to go to the region in the next few days ... perhaps over the weekend I will be flying out."

Brahimi said he wants to visit all of Afghanistan's neighbors and "to talk directly with as many Afghan parties as possible because, and this has come very strongly in discussion with the council, what we need in terms of a political dispensation for Afghanistan is a genuinely home-grown Afghan arrangement.

"Nobody wants an arrangement, which is imposed on Afghanistan," he said. "The Afghans will not accept it and the international community, I think, understands that and we in the United Nations definitely will not be party to anything like that."

Ambassador Richard Ryan of Ireland, rotating president of the Security Council this month, said there was "an exchange of views on the humanitarian, political and military situation in and around Afghanistan and a discussion about the future possible role" of the panel.

Ryan also said council members, concerned about the humanitarian situation in the region, commended humanitarian efforts, called on all states "to disburse rapidly their contributions" for Afghanistan, and demanded that the Taliban stop preventing aid from reaching the Afghan people.

British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock emerged from the council session to voice his nation's own endorsement of the panel's efforts.

"The international community is now committing itself to the long-term future and economic stability of Afghanistan and a new political structure that will serve that," he said, adding, "it will be a commitment of years, not just weeks or months, to the people of Afghanistan who deserve something different from the failed state in which they have had to live for some years now."

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