I thank Mr. De Mistura and Ambassador Tanin for their briefings, and endorse the statement to be made by the representative of the European Union.
As we prepare to renew the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
(UNAMA), the report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/120*) reminds us of the overall political Kabul process and the declaration on the transition adopted in Lisbon on 20 November.
The Afghan Government and the nations committed to it set out a road map for Afghans to resume full exercise of their sovereignty.
President Karzai will soon announce the list of the first towns and provinces for whose security Afghans will assume responsibility, the first phase of a gradual transfer throughout the entire country by the end of 2014. France fully supports the transition process. Together with the Afghan Government and our allies, we are committed to making that transfer possible in those areas where our civilian and military components are deployed.
We want this to be lasting and irreversible, and to lead to Afghan assumption of responsibilities for governance and development.
To that end, we must advance on three fronts.
First, on the security front, we have retaken the, military initiative and allowed the Afghan State to regain its footing in a number of areas. The Afghan army and police are increasing in power. Our military and training efforts are beginning to bear fruit, but at the cost of very heavy fighting that has led to an increase in civilian deaths. We know that three-quarters of such deaths are caused by insurgents who no longer hesitate to strike civilian targets and ramp up their assassinations.
We understand the emotion that this engenders, and should ensure that the number of civilians killed or wounded by pro-Government forces continues to decrease as it has done in recent years.
In the political field, now that legislative elections have been held and the new Parliament has been seated, we call on all Afghan institutions to meet the true expectations of the voters and to respect their mutual competencies in the framework laid out in the Constitution and based on the principle of the separation of powers. We also note the progress made in inter-Afghan reconciliation. We continue to support President Karzai’s efforts and the actions of the High Peace Council. The insurgents, whoever they may be, need to understand that, if they wish to rejoin political life in Afghanistan, they must break their ties to Al-Qaida and not allow their country to become once again a platform for international terrorism.
On the development front, we have mutual obligations. The international community must better coordinate its civil assistance and align it with Afghan budget priorities. The Government must provide assurances that its funds will be used appropriately and directed to where they are most needed at the local level and in the building of infrastructure that will allow Afghan resources to be developed and exported and the country to be opened to the outside world. France will contribute to that effort in the framework of its presidency of the Group of Eight and the plan defined by the competent Afghan ministers at recent international conferences. We will continue to closely follow the consequences of the Kabul Bank affair.
This context makes the presence and activities of UNAMA and the United Nations as a whole more necessary than ever in that country. I take this opportunity to reaffirm our gratitude to the staff of UNAMA and to express our support for the efforts of Special Representative Staffan de Mistura.
We believe that the mandate adopted last year in resolution 1917 (2010) identifies key priorities that remain relevant. The coordination of assistance via the co-chairmanship of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, electoral reform, reconciliation through the work of the Salaam Support Group, the timely lifting of the sanctions regime pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), military-civilian coordination in the framework of the transition, and regional cooperation should continue to guide the efforts of the Special Representative.
We take note of the letter addressed to the Secretary-General by Mr. Rassoul (see S/2011/118) and are pleased to note that most of his requests have been incorporated into the draft resolution. Some points should still be recalled.
First, we believe that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General should remain involved in electoral system reform, although the latter should be undertaken first and foremost by the Afghans themselves. The United Nations supported the Afghans in the holding of elections in 2009 and 2010 and, through its efforts on other fronts, accumulated expertise that it would be a shame to squander.
Secondly, we need to adapt the mandate of UNAMA to the new context of the transition, which will gradually redefine the outlines of our civilian and military involvement in Afghanistan. We will need more than ever a robust United Nations presence in Kabul and at the local level. The role of UNAMA should therefore be strengthened and converted to take into account international efforts on behalf of Afghanistan. In the case of NATO, such efforts include the launching of a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. The lead role of the United Nations in these efforts should be consolidated during the transition.
Lastly, as requested by the Afghans, we must profit from this context to make an overall assessment of the work of UNAMA with a view to the next extension of its mandate in March 2012. This reconstruction should be undertaken in full transparency with the Afghan authorities.
Through that 12-month re-extension, which we support, we reaffirm our trust in the activities of the Special Representative and our common desire to see an Afghanistan that is democratic, independent, stable and prosperous and has rejected violence and instability once and for all.