Following is the text off UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the virtual high-level consultation on “Return and Reintegration: Building a Future for All Afghans”, held today:

I send my warmest greetings to this high-level consultation.

Afghanistan has been ravaged by conflict for more than half of the 75 years since the United Nations was established.  The intra-Afghan negotiations are now providing a glimmer of hope.  As opportunities for peace are tested and violence escalates, it is more important than ever that we walk side by side with the people of Afghanistan.

The voluntary return in safety and dignity of Afghans who have been displaced, internally and across borders, is an important step towards building peace and stability.  Millions of people have already returned to Afghanistan, but millions remain in exile, mostly in Pakistan and Iran.  We must deliver on their legitimate right to return home through a dialogue focused on solutions.

It is essential that refugees are fully included in Afghanistan’s reconciliation, reconstruction and development processes.  Inclusion is key to building cohesive, resilient communities that can withstand shocks.

I thank you for your participation in this high-level consultation and send you my best wishes for fruitful discussions.  Thank you.

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