Magazine article UN Chronicle , Vol. 23
Political solution urged by Assembly for situation relating to Afghanistan
The General Assembly on 13 November called for the immediate withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, calling upon all parties concerned to work for the "urgent achievement of a political solution" and the creation of conditions to "enable the Afghan refugees to return voluntarily to their homes in safety and honour".
Resolution 40/12 was passed by a recorded vote of 122 votes in favour to 19 against, with 12 abstentions. Voting against were Afghanistan, Angola, Bulgaria, Byelorussian SSR, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, Ethiopia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Mongolia, Poland, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukrainian SSR, USSR and Viet Nam.
The assembly reiterated that the preservation of Afghanistan's sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and non-aligned character was essential for a peaceful solution of the problem. The right of the Afghan people to choose their economic, political and social system free from outside constraints was reaffirmed.
The world body noted the "increasing concern of the international community over the continued and serious sufferings of the Afghan people and over the magnitude of social and economic problems posed to Pakistan and Iran by the presence on their soil of millions of Afghan refugees, and the continuing increase in their numbers". It renewed its appeal for humanitarian relief assistance with a view to "alleviating the hardship of the Afghan refugees", in co-ordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Finally, it expressed support for the efforts and constructive steps taken by the Secretary-General, especially the diplomatic process initiated by him, in the search for a solution to the problem. Mr. Perez de Cuellar was asked to continue those efforts with a view to promoting a political solution, "and the exploration of securing appropriate guarantees for the non-use of force, or threat of force, against the political independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of all neighbouring States, on the basis of mutual guarantees and strict non-interference in each other's internal affairs and with full regard for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations".
The Secretary-General was also asked to keep Member States and the Security Council concurrently informed of progress towards implementing the resolution and to report to Member States on the situation "at the earliest appropriate opportunity."
In the debate on Afghanistan, held from 11 to 13 November, 56 countries spoke.
Report: In a 7 October report on the situation relating to Afghanistan (A/40/709-S/17527), the Secretary-General said there was a growing conviction on both sides that a negotiated settlement was the only possible way to achieve peace in Afghanistan. "Peace, and the degree of national reconciliation that it should entail to allow the Afghan people to decide their own future, cannot be attained by military means", he stated.
Mr. Perez de Cuellar recalled that when the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed in 1982 to move--through the intermediary of his Personal Representative on the matter, Diego Cordovez, under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs--into substantive negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive settlement, they had reached a number of understandings that had acquired special significance and had been the subject of "different interpretations that threaten to disrupt the diplomatic process".
Those understandings had allowed negotiations to begin on a document that contained draft texts of all the provisions that the interlocutors had agreed were needed to resolve the issues involved and to establish solid foundations for good-neighbourly relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. …