20 September 2012 - Afghanistan - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kubiš
and Minister Rassoul for their statements.
I endorse the statement to be made by the observer
of the European Union.
The attacks by Afghan police and soldiers on
their trainers and the actions of insurgents should not
overshadow deeper, positive trends. The transition
is under way and the security of 75 per cent of the
Afghan population is now provided by the Afghan
National Security Forces. As underscored in the
Secretary-General’s report (S/2012/703), there has been
no deterioration of the situation in areas where the
transition has taken place. We have seen that in Surobi
and Kapisa, where by the end of the year the proven
combat-ready Third Brigade of the Afghan National
Army will assume its full responsibilities.
Security incidents are down by 30 per cent from the
same period last year. The number of civilian victims
has also dropped, although not by as much. More than
80 per cent are still caused by insurgents. Afghan
security forces have reached their maximum troop
strength. We will continue to train Afghan military
and police into 2014, to which we will devote a third of
our overall aid to Afghanistan. Our sole aim is to leave
in place professional, credible and sustainable Afghan
security forces, to be funded entirely by the Afghan
State by no later than 2024.
Those developments are complemented by the
international community’s ongoing long-term support
of stability and development in Afghanistan through
civilian assistance. That was resoundingly reaffirmed
on 8 July at the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan.
At that time, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs
announced an increase in our civilian aid to Afghanistan
of 50 per cent over the level of the past five years,
to €308 million, focused on agriculture, education,
cultural exchange, archaeology, research, economic
development, security and health. In accordance with
our friendship and cooperation treaty, that aid will
be structured according to the Afghan Government’s
The Tokyo Conference was especially significant
for the commitments taken on by both sides. The
Afghans pledged to work towards good governance; to
organize credible, transparent and inclusive elections
within the agreed timeframe; to implement international
economic recommendations; and to fight corruption
and to protect human rights, especially the rights of
women. We expect the United Nations Assistance
Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in accordance with
its mandate, to play its full role in supporting Afghan
authorities in that difficult but crucial work.
The regional dynamics critical to Afghanistan’s
future continue to be marked by contradictory forces.
The Istanbul process is now guided by Afghans, with
support from neighbouring and partner countries,
which will meet in New York on 24 September to stake
stock. France has expressed its interest in helping to
develop confidence-building measures in counterterrorism,
counter-narcotics and natural disaster
management. Moreover, like the Secretary-General we
follow with concern cross-border military activity in
Kunar province and military activities on both sides of
I conclude by commending the support the United
Nations lends Afghanistan through its ongoing presence
over the course of 60 years and the efforts its staff, led
by the Special Representative, who do heroic work
under difficult conditions in service of the Afghan
people and Government. That support requires resolve,
given the budgetary constraints on the United Nations
and its presence in multiple areas of crisis, stretching
the Organization’s limits.
The Afghan Government should increasingly work
to maintain that relationship, first of all by guaranteeing
security for United Nations and embassy personnel. Let
us not forget the United Nations staff members killed at
Mazar-i-Sharif, even as we once again see conditions
virtually identical to those that caused their deaths.
The Afghan authorities should also make full use of
the United Nations sanctions regime as a confidencebuilding
measure towards inter-Afghan reconciliation,
for example by proposing new listings.
We are certain that the United Nations in general
and UNAMA in particular will have a major role to
play in Afghanistan in the years to come. We hope that
budgetary considerations will not undermine the ability
of the Mission to fulfil its core mandate as set out by
the Security Council.
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