In a virtual speech to the UN General Assembly, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called for a ceasefire, pointing to ongoing peace talks with the Taliban in Doha. Mr. Ghani also spoke about the coronavirus epidemic and stated that during the outbreak, Afghanistan’s economic growth has decreased by 30 percent.
Addressing the UNGA on Wednesday night, Mr Ghani said the role of the UN and international partners and allies will continue to be extremely important as the negotiating team sits across from the Taliban in Doha.
“At those talks, the Afghan people have a clear and urgent priority: a ceasefire. An urgent end to the violence will, more than anything else, give us a chance to progress,” he said.
President Ghani thanked the United Nations for their support so far throughout this arduous process, describing the shared values throughout the peace process absolutely critical.
He continued that the Afghan government will invest in strengthening state governance structures to create an environment conducive to growth which means continuing to combat systemic corruption, improving our public financial management systems, and strengthen provincial and district level governance.
“Our plan is based on building our markets for economic development, moving from an aid to a trade model, increasing our labor and capital productivity in key areas in which we have a competitive advantage,” he said.
President Ghani said that the Afghan people are living, dying inside the 5th wave of global terrorism in which global terrorist networks are closely linked with global criminal networks, making warfare totally unconventional and peace-building even more of a challenge.
“For sustainable peace in Afghanistan, we must get to the root of the terrorism problem blighting our region and address it as the global phenomenon, and threat,” he underlined, saying that starting direct talks with the Taliban won’t be enough.