Remarks of Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, the State Minister for Peace and member of the negotiating team at the first side event of Afghanistan 2020 Conference in Geneva: Sustainable Peace Building

a.zia

November 23, 2020

Your excellency First Lady, Excellencies Min Atmar, Min Stanikzai, Mr Janez Lenarcic, Michelle Bachelet, Panelists, Ambassadors, distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you all!

First, allow me to extend my deepest gratitude to the international community, and particularly the co-chairs, organizing partners, and attendees of this conference.

This conference sends a message of solidarity to Afghanistan at a time of immense hardship.

I am encouraged that we have come together to reflect on how we can achieve a sustainable peace settlement, which is at the heart of our own mandate in the State Ministry for Peace, and at the forefront of our negotiation team’s efforts here in Doha.

The international community’s support has helped create the necessary space and momentum for us to pursue this opportunity for peace.

The past four decades of war has brought enormous misery to our people. The recent wave of violence in Helmand and other parts of the country has driven thousands of people from their homes.

Women in particular have endured heavy burdens.

There are endless accounts of Afghan women who have lost their husbands, sons and daughters to this war.

Recently, one mother from northern Afghanistan tragically died of a heart attack after her two sons were killed.

Sadly, the slaughter of our young people has become a familiar story. From journalists, to university students, to women’s rights activists.

It is no coincidence that these groups are targeted by extremists, as they are a manifestation of the progress Afghanistan has made in creating a more inclusive, outward-looking, and pluralistic society.

As this violence and bloodshed continues to divide our communities and tear our families apart, these gains have never been more at risk.

At this crucial juncture of the peace process, we are committed to giving those most at risk a voice, one that extends to the highest levels.

As we speak, four female members of the Afghan negotiation team sit opposite their Taliban counterparts as equals.

Civil society groups and war victims have had opportunities to tell their stories directly to the negotiation team.

We believe that including these perspectives will help steer the future peace settlement in a more just and sustainable direction.

But our commitment to inclusivity extends far beyond the formal peace-making process.

We understand that a sustainable peace cannot be achieved

without a corresponding peace-building programme that promotes justice, economic development, and social reconciliation across Afghanistan.

We do not underestimate how difficult these challenges will be. 

But we have reasons not to be discouraged. For all of our differences, the Islamic Republic is united in its approach to the peace process.

We agree on the importance of preserving the achievements of the last 19 years, especially the role of human rights, all ethnic, youth and women’s participation in our society.

We are unanimous that the millions of displaced citizens should be able to return to their homes in a manner which preserves their rights to dignity and security.

Finally, we are united in our core belief that the peace process should be an inclusive one, where the weakest and most vulnerable have a voice in determining their future.

The international community has been steadfast in its support in promoting these inclusive values in Afghanistan.

I am a believer in institutional efforts to achieve a sustainable and dignified peace for my country.

Now, at this critical stage, we need continued support from our friends to help us solidify and preserve these values in our pursuit of a just and lasting peace. 

Thank you!