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18 March 2010 - Security Council - Afghanistan : Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

The representative of the European Union will shortly make a statement, with which France aligns itself. Allow me to add a few complementary observations.

After a difficult 2009, the first few months of 2010 have given us some reason to hope for an improvement in the situation. Afghanistan and the international community agreed on a credible road map at the London Conference, based on an accelerated undertaking by Afghans of their sovereign responsibilities. The commitments undertaken by President Karzai and his Government on an ambitious reform programme and the announcement of a reconciliation and reintegration process provide a solid foundation for that transition. In terms of military issues, the new strategy developed by General McChrystal is beginning to bear fruit and is highlighting the weaknesses of the armed rebellion, which does not enjoy the support of the people. Finally, at the regional level, more positive dynamics between Afghanistan and its neighbours have made the fight against terrorism more effective.

However, these developments are still fragile. In order to consolidate the prospects for recovery, it is essential to quickly implement the reform plans that President Karzai announced to enable Afghan institutions to fully take on their new responsibilities.

The United Nations has the legitimacy, impartiality and expertise that make it an essential actor in this new phase. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has a key role to play. We welcome the appointment of Mr. De Mistura at the head of UNAMA. We have full confidence in his ability to take on the role of representative of the entire international community to the Afghan people in an effective and dynamic manner. In so doing, he can rely on the new special representative of the European Union and the new NATO civilian representative. Their strengthened competencies will help make the international efforts in support of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General more coherent.

We expect the United Nations to actively support the transition process undertaken in London. In this respect, the mandate renewal provides us with an opportunity to spell out the priorities of the mission. We see three priorities.

First, political good offices are the cornerstone of the mandate. The Special Representative must, in particular, pursue continued dialogue with President Karzai and the other political stakeholders regarding the implementation of the mutual commitments undertaken in London. In this respect, the initial contacts established between the Special Representative and President Karzai are encouraging. UNAMA will also have an active role to play in supporting the Government in its reconciliation and reintegration programme. That programme will need to be implemented within the framework of the Constitution and in strict observance of democratic values and norms.

Secondly, UNAMA will also have to commit itself to supporting the electoral process. Lessons must be learned from the problems that faced the presidential elections. Reforms are needed before the September parliamentary elections. The legitimacy of the efforts by the Afghan Government and the international community requires that these elections be held under the best possible conditions. The Special Representative will have an important role to play in forging a consensus between the Government and the major Afghan political stakeholders, including opposition leaders, on all of these reforms.

Thirdly, UNAMA must pursue the efforts it has undertaken since the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan, held in Paris in June 2008, to reinforce the efficiency and consistency of aid. As highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2010/127), this role must more clearly support the Afghan authorities, who have the primary responsibility for coordinating aid.

France would like to thank Turkey for the draft resolution presented to Security Council members, which fully reflects its priorities.

The crisis in Afghanistan cannot be addressed independently from the crisis in the region, primarily in Pakistan. The Pakistani Government is courageously combating the scourge of terrorism. The international community must support it and encourage it to strengthen its efforts against all terrorist groups.

In addition, regional dialogue and cooperation must receive increased attention. Important initiatives have recently been taken in this regard. France welcomes in particular the lead role played by Turkey. To go further, we would like to see a mechanism established dedicated to follow-up to and promotion of regional dialogue. The United Nations, given its impartiality, is well placed to bring together all the regional actors to achieve the common objective of stability in the region. We urge UNAMA to become actively involved in that area.

In conclusion, I wish to recall an essential point. The transition period under way in Afghanistan does not mean a withdrawal of the international community, much less an abandonment. In any case, as President Sarkozy has several times reiterated, France will remain committed as long as necessary and as long as Afghans want us to be.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU