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    9 August 1999
    Secretary-General, Seriously Concerned at Continued Fighting
     In Afghanistan, Urges End to 'Senseless Self-destruction'
    Says Parties Cannot 'Cynically' Commit Criminal Acts,
     Then Expect Help from United Nations, International Community


    NEW YORK, 5 August (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a statement today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

     The continued fighting in Afghanistan is a source of very serious concern to the Secretary-General.  Yesterday the Security Council was briefed on latest developments in Afghanistan.  After the meeting, the President, on behalf of the Council, once again called upon the warring factions to stop their senseless self-destruction and resume serious negotiations under United Nations auspices. 

     The changing fortunes of the parties on the battlefield vividly illustrate that the Afghan conflict can never be resolved through force and that the gain or loss of territory will not bring peace.  It demonstrates anew that the conflict will end only through a peaceful dialogue, which would lead to national reconciliation and the formation of a genuinely representative government acceptable to all Afghans.  This fundamental truth has been reaffirmed one more time at the recent meeting of the "Six plus Two" group in Tashkent.

     Reports of massive forced displacements of civilians from the areas where fighting has been raging are alarming.  United Nations personnel, in cooperation with others, are doing their best to ascertain the facts and identify those who may have been responsible for these and other massive violations of human rights.  The United Nations personnel are also -- again with others -- assessing the needs of the affected populations and shall provide what help may be available.  But the parties responsible for such disasters cannot, cynically, commit such criminal acts, then turn to the United Nations and the international community as a whole to help save their own people from disasters provoked by those who claim to be their country's leaders.

     Equally disturbing are the reports that, in addition to arms, ammunition and other war-making materials being liberally delivered to the warring factions by their respective foreign supporters, there are now thousands of non-Afghan nationals taking part in the fighting.  It is worth recalling, in this context, the following operative paragraph 3 in the declaration recently adopted by the "Six plus Two" in Tashkent:

     "In order to help bring about a cessation of hostilities, which we consider essential, we have further agreed not to provide military support to any Afghan party and to prevent the use of our territories for such purposes.  We call upon the international community to take identical measures to prevent delivery of weapons to Afghanistan."

     Surely the countries which signed this declared shall wish to honour their signatures and will want to seriously work together to prevent the conflict in Afghanistan from becoming what some experts are already terming "a transnational conflict".  Even as a purely internal conflict, the Afghan crisis is a clear menace to regional peace and stability.  Should the transnational aspect be allowed to take root, as it clearly threatens to do, the potential dangers will increase greatly and it will be much more difficult to prevent the conflict from spreading beyond Afghan borders.

     The Secretary-General urges all Afghan parties, including neutral groups and individuals, as well as countries with influence to work together and with the United Nations to put an end to the present fighting and to resume serious negotiations to establish peace in Afghanistan and security for the region.

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