Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistanís Permanent Representative to the United Nations, during the debate on United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). New York (June 20, 2013)

Mr. President,

We pay a tribute to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, working under the dynamic leadership of Special Representative Jan Kubis, for its important work. It needs Council's continued support and more resources.

We have heard the perspective of the distinguished Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, Ambassador Zahir Tanin.

The people of Afghanistan are our brothers and sisters.

Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has declared Pakistanís commitment to strengthen ties with Afghanistan covering the entire spectrum of political, economic, defense, educational and cultural relations.

Pakistan's newly elected leadership has reiterated its resolve to fully support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and national reconciliation processes.

Peace and stability in Afghanistan is a key constituent of Pakistanís foreign policy, which is supported by all state institutions. The success of this policy requires reciprocity, trust and goodwill.

We thank the US Government for acknowledging Pakistanís ďgenuine and constructiveĒ support for the Afghan peace process.

In the past ten years, the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and other countries have paid a high price in blood and resources.

All these efforts and sacrifices should not go in vain.

The people of Afghanistan must succeed and we must succeed with them.

I thank Ambassador Zahir Tanin for his statement that the Government of Afghanistan looks forward to working with the new government in Pakistan. We will respond in full measure. We respect Afghanistan's sovereignty and support Afghan Government's effort to uphold it.

I reject most emphatically Ambassador Tanin's argument - root, trunk and branch - that terrorist sanctuaries exist in Pakistan and some elements continue to use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy. No, sir, this is not true; and you know this is not true. And this is not good diplomacy. By using such arguments, you cast aspersions on our sincerity. In Pakistan, we do not operate as elements, but as a whole, as one state. All institutions of the state have consensus that terrorism is a threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and therefore both countries should work together to eliminate this scourge.

I have not rebutted Ambassador Tanin's argument as a tit for tat response or to settle scores. I have said this to highlight that terrorists operate on both sides of the porous border. Many attacks against Pakistan are planned on Afghan soil. That is why we need more aggressive policing and surveillance of the border. This will also help stop the shelling. We must not allow terrorists manipulate and divide the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This kind of contentious polemic is disingenuous, as Pakistan and Afghanistan communicate through multiple political, military channels to address all bilateral issues.

Pakistan's own stability and prosperity depend on peace and security in Afghanistan. This sense of shared destiny drives our ties with Afghanistan. Stability in Afghanistan will also usher in a new era of cooperation and connectivity in the region.

We must build political trust. The joint commission, chaired by Pakistan's Prime Minister and the President of Afghanistan, is the best forum for pursuing this objective.

The Tripartite Commission, comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), met earlier this month in Rawalpindi to discuss border controls and coordination along the international border.

Stability and sanctity of Pakistan-Afghanistan border is a shared responsibility. Robust deployment of Pakistani troops on our side is meant to interdict terrorists and criminals. For optimum results, this must be matched from the other side.

Bilateral channels, including military and intelligence contacts, to resolve issues relating to the border posts should be made more effective. Any misunderstanding should be addressed through real time communication and dialogue.

We assure the Secretary-General that Pakistan is doing its utmost to build trust and prevent confrontation. We agree with him that inflamed public sentiment is not helpful at all.

Mr. President,

Two days ago, three very significant developments took place. Afghan security forces formally took over security leadership; the Taliban opened an office in Doha; and they announced their readiness to negotiate.

We congratulate the Government and people of Afghanistan on transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan forces.

Pakistan welcomed the opening of a Taliban office in Doha and the announcement of talks between the US, the Taliban and the Afghan Government.

After several initiatives, this was surely a flicker of hope for peace in Afghanistan. Subsequently, problems arose. We hope that in the greater interest of Afghanistan, misgivings would be removed and tensions defused. This is a time for diplomacy and statesmanship. A compromise must be explored to move forward.

We have urged an early end to the war. The conflict in Afghanistan can only be resolved through a negotiated settlement.

Pakistan has released a number of Taliban prisoners in good faith and after giving prior intimation to the Afghan authorities. We hope that this measure will facilitate the peace process.

We wish the people of Afghanistan to succeed as they negotiate wrenching but momentous political, security and economic transitions.

We should work to avert an economic vacuum after the withdrawal of international forces. Donors must fulfill their pledges in accordance with mutual accountability framework.

Pakistan supports the role of the United Nations in Afghanistan.

The United Nations should prepare itself to play an even more significant role after 2014 in institution-building, economic self-sufficiency, peace and reconciliation, counter-narcotics, and rehabilitation of refugees. In this context, United Nationsí good offices and political outreach are critical.

I thank you, Mr. President.