France welcomes Afghanistan’s commitment to moving the peace process forward - 17 September 2015 [fr]
Situation in Afghanistan - Statement by Mrs. Marie Audouard, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 17 September 2015
I thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov for their briefings. I also thank the Afghan Ambassador Zahir Tanin for his statement and echo the tributes that have been paid to him and wish him success in his new role. France aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the observer of the European Union.
As highlighted in the report of the Secretary-General (S/2015/684), Afghan progress in political terms has been significant. We welcome the National Unity Government’s efforts to make progress with reforms, particularly electoral reform. The recent appointments of the Governor of the Central Bank and a Judge of the Supreme Court are also important decisions. The Government’s commitment to moving the peace process forward, in consultation with the countries of the region, also deserves our praise. The holding of discussions in Pakistan at the beginning of July with the main stakeholders was a positive development in seeking a lasting political solution to the Afghan conflict. In this respect, the support of countries of the region is vital to ensuring that the Afghan reconciliation process is successful and to ensuring also that conditions for sustainable development in Afghanistan are met.
But many challenges remain, particularly in terms of security. The conflict continues to spread, and the level of violence is increasing, with civilians being the primary victims. Afghan security forces have made considerable progress, seem to be more and more in a position to deal with attacks by the Taliban, and maintain their control of Afghanistan’s main urban centres. Nevertheless, their capacities need to be enhanced because the situation is still fragile in Kabul and in many provinces, as was seen in the recent Taliban attack on a prison in Ghazni province to help prisoners to escape.
With respect to human rights, it is essential that Afghan civil society and the authorities continue to mobilize, especially on behalf of women and children, who are particularly affected by this exacerbated security situation. We therefore welcome the adoption by Afghanistan of a National Action Plan on Women and Peace and Security to implement resolution 1325 (2000) from 2015 to 2022, and call on it to pursue its efforts in this field. It is also important for the international community to continue to support Afghanistan in the implementation of its commitments to protecting children in armed conflict.
The fight against narcotics and the illicit economy is also among these challenges. As noted by Mr. Fedotov, much remains to be done on this issue, which is of great concern to France as it directly threatens the security and development of Afghanistan, the health of its population and the stability of the region. We encourage the authorities to continue their work in the fight against drugs through a comprehensive approach, in close cooperation with UNODC, whose ongoing efforts we welcome. France is resolved to see the United Nations play a greater role in responding to this central challenge, particularly in the coordination of the United Nations agencies involved in the fight against drugs.
In this difficult context, the international community should not stop working to accompany Afghanistan towards greater stability, prosperity and democracy. The commitments made at the London Conference of December 2014 must be met, for Afghanistan still needs the support of its partners.
While Afghanistan has fully entered the transformation decade, the role of the United Nations is more important than ever. its role in supporting the Government remains crucial, notably to enable the population to benefit from Government programmes and international assistance. But this role must evolve and adapt. In that regard, we welcome the tripartite review and reflections being conducted jointly on the desirable development of the support that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Organization can provide to countries.
France, meanwhile, will remain alongside Afghanistan in the framework of the Franco-Afghan Friendship and Cooperation Treaty and through its contribution to the European Union commitment in Afghanistan, which represents €1.4 billion over the period 2014-2020.
To conclude, I hail the efforts of all United Nations personnel in Afghanistan, who are working in difficult conditions.