This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The UN Security Council has unanimously extended its assistance mission in Afghanistan after China withdrew its threat of a veto if the text did not mention Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
The 15 members of the council on September 17 extended the mission for one year with a compromise text, negotiated by Germany and Indonesia, that doesn’t mention “any specific initiative” but refers to promotion of “regional cooperation and connectivity,” according to diplomats.
The adopted resolution asks the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to support “in close consultation and coordination” with the Afghan government the organization of “future timely, credible, transparent, and inclusive” elections, including the presidential vote set for September 28.
It further calls for working “closely with the election management bodies on and after election day, supporting them to deliver a robust and transparent results management process.”
Established in 2002, UNAMA supports the government in Kabul as well as the peace and reconciliation process, promotion of human rights, and encourages regional cooperation. It mandate was due to expire on September 17.
China’s Belt and Road program is aimed at building trade and transportation infrastructure that links China with South and Central Asia, Europe, and Africa through massive Chinese investments.
The United States, which views the initiative as a means of expanding Chinese hegemony, had refused any mention of it in the UN resolution. A majority of council members supported the U.S. stance.