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Exclusive interview with Suhail Shaheen about UN membership of Afghanistan

Exclusive interview with Suhail Shaheen about UN membership of Afghanistan

Suhail Shaheen, Permanent Representative Designate of the new government of Afghanistan, answered Mepa News's questions.

Mepa News | Haber Merkezi
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Suhail Shaheen, Permanent Representative Designate of the new government of Afghanistan, answered Mepa News's questions.



- Hello everyone. More than a hundred days passed since the Taliban came into power in Afghanistan. Their request for the membership of the United Nations is still remains on agenda.

Today we will discuss this process with a senior member of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Mr. Suhail Shaheen is with us. His former spokesman of the Emirate's Doha Office and now his Permanent Representative Designate to UN. Mr. Shaheen thank you for joining us.

Thank you.

- Let's start with the first question. Taliban movement re-captured Afghanistan completely and declared an Islamic Emirate. But until today, as we know, no one recognized this Emirate. What are the reasons for this approach and why the world didn't recognize the Emirate? Do you think that the world's powers trying to impose their conditions upon you?

Yes, you are right. They are trying to impose their condition on us while we fought for our liberation against occupation for 20 years our people, our freedom loving people... We have gained our independence at the cost of our blood and we have suffered a lot during the past 20 years. We were not a match in weapons, logistics and training of the world's superpower and its allies. But we had strong belief in Allah  and that we are right and that we should have
a free country, independent country. It's our country and it's our right that be independent as other countries of the world.

So I think now it is a kind of revenge that they are not recognizing us while it is our right and they are violating the rules and laws of the United Nations by not giving us the seat at the United Nations while we have sovereignty all over the country.

The government is on every city, province, border of the country and we have the support of the people of Afghanistan. So these are the conditions, if a government has this condition it should be given the seat at the United Nations.

Though the current person claiming to be Permanent Representative belonging to the former Kabul administration, that administration has no sovereignty, no right or any part of the land of Afghanistan. They do not have even one meter of
land of the country. So how can they represent the government while they have no connection with that government?

That government has announced that he is not representing us nor the people of Afghanistan. That's why  it brings into question the neutrality of the United Nations

And that how it is reasonable a person who has no government in the country and the people do not  support him still they have a representative at the United Nations and the United Nations  accept that.

I request the United Nations and the Credentials Committee reconsider their position and their decision and gave the seat of Afghanistan to the representative of the current government of Afghanistan.

- Mr. Shaheen as we know there are some more friendly countries to you just like Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Indonesia, Pakistan etc. Why they didn't recognize the Emirate?

It is a question to be asked from them but as I see, there is a pressure from the Western countries, particularly United States that some countries are not recognizing us. Otherwise I see no reason and no hurdle that they should not recognize us. 

- What are the reasons behind your request to be member of the United Nations? Why do you want to be a United Nations member and what advantages can being a UN member give you?

It is our right. It is the seat of Afghanistan. We are willing and intending to convey our message to the world through the United Nations, to explain our position on various issues the people of Afghanistan are facing. And if there is any issue we would be there to resolve that issue through talks and negotiation.

So that is why it is very important that this right, the people of Afghanistan are not deprived of their legitimate right which is the seat of Afghanistan at the United Nations.

- What did you do until today to start the membership process in the legal meaning and why the UN didn't accept your request?

Well. Our Foreign Minister sent a letter to the United Nations requesting a speech at the General Assembly and also sent a letter regarding my appointment as Permanent Representative Designate to the United Nations and that was sent to the Credentials Committee and the Credentials Committee deferred the decision, in our view, under the pressure of the United States.

And that decision of the parallel, was sent to the General Assembly which was approved by them. And in reaction to that decision we said it is unfair and injustice, not a justice and a biased decision. Because it is the right of the current government of Afghanistan because it has right all over the country, a sovereignty. So that seat should be given to us rather than to a person who is representing no one but only himself.

- Mr. Shaheen during the first reign of the Emirate between 1996 and 2001, you were a diplomat in Pakistan, in Islamabad. What were the steps of the Emirate regarding to UN membership then? Is there any policy change
of the Emirate about the UN membership now or the policies of the Emirate about the UN membership is still same?

Yes, at that time we wanted to have the seat of Afghanistan because we considered it was our right to have the
seat at the United Nations. And currently we believe it is our right and it should be given to us. We have all the condition  that are required for handing our asset at the United Nations, the seat of Afghanistan to us.

So that it is not given to us or the decision is deferred we think political preference is given or considered above the legal requirements which we have already have so and it is that is why legally we have the right to have this seat but because of biased posturing against us and some revenge posturing we can say, of some given countries particularly the United States, this decision has been made, which we have already opposed that decision.

- So what will the positive impacts of UN membership to Islamic Emirate?

As I said earlier, if you are at the United Nations as a representative it will have positive impact because, on the one hand, I will be able to convey the decision taken by the United Nations to my government. If there is a humanitarian assistance facilitation I will deliver that to be facilitated. And also from the government side we can convey our government decision to the world and actually will be we can remain engaged with the world at the United Nations. If there is any issue we can resolve it through discussion, negotiation and understanding.

- I see. Do you think that if you be a United Nations member will the United Nations and other western powers interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan in the cultural, educational and social aspects?

No, that is already written in the Doha Agreement that no government will interfere in the internal affairs of the Government of Afghanistan in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. It is, you know, international law, no country interferes in another country's internal affairs. We are maintaining our society and running our government on the basis
of the inspiration of the people of Afghanistan, in the light of our tradition and our
rules.

About regarding the basic rights we abiding by that the basic rights of women of their access to education and to work. We do not have any problem with that while they observing Islamic hijab. So after ending occupation and entering in a new phase of reconstruction of Afghanistan, our priorities to serve people, to raise their life condition for a better, to provide them prosperity and well-being and create for them job opportunities. That is our priority.

So if any country help us in this, we would like to have a positive relation with them in cooperation.

- As you know some Islamic organizations and individuals think that UN membership is a problematic thing because it's contradicting with Islamic sharia. Do you aware of that criticism?

No, no. They may have no knowledge or information about that, maybe. It is not we are compromising on Islamic
sharia. The seat of Afghanistan at the United Nations it is our right. We want to have our right there.

Secondly sharia is our internal system being implemented at the country level. At the United Nations if there is any question by any country we would be in a better position to explain that to answer that and if there is any issue raised that we would be in a better position to illustrate that, to touch on that, to convey the position  and policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to the world.

So it gives us a strength and rather than being problematic. If you are not there someone else will be opposing us seeing or labeling claims and acquisitions against us while our representative will not be there to answer them, to explain the position of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. So that is why it is important to have a seat there.

- Do you think that there are some un-Islamic things regarding the UN membership. If you doi what will you do about it?

It is a international principle, in the internal issues, you are following your internal laws and internal traditions. And also you are following the international law and charter while if it is not contradicting your belief and your laws. So there is no contradiction in that.

That if someone is claiming that we would be compromising, no, that's not true.

- I will proceed with a question regarding the UN membership. There are some articles in the UN Charter, as you know, they can contradict with Islamic values. Like gender equality, equality  of the Muslims with non-Muslims, respect to LGBT rights etc. And respect to international borders  like Israel's invasion of Palestine etc. There are some articles about these things in UN Charter.

What will you do about these principles of the UN? Will you obey and implement them or will you don't  implement un-Islamic rulings in the UN Charter?

Have the 57 countries of the Islamic Ummah compromised or implemented those rather than their laws? Of course they have their own policies, their own laws. The country you are sitting there, has it compromised? So everyone, every country has its own laws, its policy, but that country also is  following and abiding by the international law while it is not contradicting those of articles of the internal law.

- So we can say that you will not implement these things which seen un-Islamic.

You can ask of course the other Islamic countries what they are doing? Have they not their own policy, their own position regarding all issue, regarding the the issues of Palestine and other issues? Every country has its policy
but still that country is member of the United  Nations, they have their permanent mission at the United Nations. So this is the ground realities.

- Surely, denying your membership request by the UN will affect your recognition in the international arena. If the world countries won't recognize your government and try to place a diplomatic and political embargo on you what will your international policies against them be?

It is our right to have a seat at the United Nations. It is our right, the right of the freedom loving people of Afghanistan to be recognized. We will struggle for our legitimate right as we have struggled for 20 years for our legitimate right of having a free country, independent country, to liberate our country from occupation. So we will fight for our right as
we were fighting for liberation of our country.

- And during this process, do you think installing and building some political offices -like you did in Qatar, Doha- in other countries like Turkey, China, Russia etc.?

Yes, it is important for practical use and our engagement with those countries and also it is necessarily important for them to have such offices and their embassies at Kabul for practical purpose.

Because, you know, the world should not follow the policy of one country all countries have their own interests and their
own policies, specific policies. We have our own policies, we are open to have positive relation with them based on mutual interest. So we have opened the way for all to invest in Afghanistan we have vast natural resources in the country, minerals. They can come, they can participate in the construction of Afghanistan and they can invest in the country. We have enabling laws that they can invest in investor-friendly environment. So I think for that purpose there's need that we have such venues and embassies, offices in each other country.

- What do you want to say about the economic situation in Afghanistan right now and especially the humanitarian situation?  And please give us some information about freezing Afghanistan's money by the US. 

Freezing of Afghanistan's money is, I think, an action which is very unfair.

The condition our people are passing through and they are suffering from humanitarian problems right now is not something made by us. It is because of the sanctions imposed by us by the US and the international community.

Actually they are punishing the 40 million people of Afghanistan by trying to take a revenge on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. But in fact they are punishing the people of Afghanistan. That's why we are calling on all that they should separate politics from humanitarian issues.

And if there was no sanction on us imposed and our banks were allowed to operate freely and normally, we would not have had the humanitarian crisis we have right now. But anyway we hope we will overcome on all these challenges as we did overcome on other challenges and occupation in the past 20 years. We will not spare any thing or resources that we have in our hand to serve our people, to rebuild our country.

But still, what we see the problems is because of the sanction by those who are raising  slogans of human rights day and night. That is something unfortunate.

- Mr. Suhail Shaheen thank you very much for joining us tonight and answer our questions.

Thank you.

Source: Mepa News

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