17 October 2001


NEW YORK, 16 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is today’s statement on the situation in Afghanistan by the President of Security Council, Richard Ryan (Ireland):

Council members met today with the Secretary-General, Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, Deputy Special Representative Francesc Vendrell, Under-Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast, and Kevin Kennedy of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

There was an exchange of views on the humanitarian, political and military situation in Afghanistan, and a preliminary discussion about the future possible role of the United Nations.

Council members reiterated strongly their support for the appointment of Mr. Brahimi, who will oversee United Nations political, humanitarian and, in due course, rehabilitation aspects of the situation. Council members intend to meet with Mr. Brahimi again soon to discuss further the overall situation, together with Mr. Vendrell.

Council members expressed grave concern about the humanitarian situation. They urged States to disburse rapidly their contributions to the United Nations emergency humanitarian appeals for Afghanistan. Members commended the efforts of humanitarian workers in the region and reiterated the importance of ensuring the safety and security of such workers at all times. They stressed the need for all States to cooperate with United Nations agencies and to help create the conditions for humanitarian agencies to operate effectively.

Council members urged neighbouring States to intensify their cooperation in working with the United Nations to respond to the refugee crisis. They stressed the need for the international community to respond financially to the needs of host countries.

Council members demanded that the Taliban should stop threatening the safety and security of aid workers, and to cease obstructing aid destined for the Afghan people. They also called on the Taliban to contribute to the alleviation of hardship suffered by the very large part of the Afghan population comprising women, girls and children.

Council members reiterated their intention to remain fully briefed on the situation in Afghanistan, including the humanitarian situation.

* *** *