I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Mr. Ján Kubiš, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Fedotov, for their briefings.
Mr. Kubiš’s absence from New York today is a telling testament to the importance of following the situation in the country hour by hour and of the ever-pressing need of an attentive presence alongside Afghanistan. I take this opportunity to thank the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for its exemplary work and to commend all its personnel for their commitment.
Afghanistan has just experienced a major turning point in its political life. The holding of two elections, presidential and provincial, has revealed the high degree of professionalism of the Afghan authorities responsible for their organization. Moreover, the mass participation of Afghans, especially women, in both rounds of the presidential election bore witness to their courage and to their desire to embrace democratic rules. We extend our congratulations in particular to the Afghan National Security Forces for their outstanding performance in securing that democratic convergence. They thereby frustrated the aims of those who refuse the resolute choice made by the Afghans in favour of a future where violence and coercion are not policy options. The post-election phase will be as critical as the preparations for the elections. It is essential that any challenges to the results, if the latter have not been arrived at according to the rules and procedures, do not tarnish the success of Afghan democracy. There can be no other manner of appointing the future Afghan President than through full respect for the electoral process. That holds true for future votes as well.
Both candidates must comply with current operations and avoid all provocative rhetoric. Confidence in the balloting and counting of votes and in the announcement of the results is the key to the legitimacy of the future President and hence of his ability to take the reins of the country. In that regard, we welcome the decision by Mr. Abdullah Abdullah to resume cooperation with the competent institutions. A draft presidential statement has been prepared to that end at the initiative of Australia, welcoming the commitment of all stakeholders to the success of this phase.
Afghanistan’s launch into a new phase must not allow us to forget the many challenges the country is still facing and for which the support of the international community is necessary. We are concerned by the upsurge in drug trafficking. I shall not expatiate on the extent of the problem. We are aware of the efforts being made by the Afghans on that front, as rightly recalled by the Secretary-General in his report (S/2014/420). We know above all that the challenge requires the commitment of all, especially Afghanistan’s regional partners. All must be done to avoid the worst — that is, leaving Afghanistan on its own to address an uprising that, while surely weakened, has not been fully suppressed. Nor can we abandon the Afghan National Security Forces, which have proved their robustness and efficiency, but are worried about the withdrawal of the international community, with a rebuilt but still very fragile socioeconomic and institutional fabric.
The draft presidential statement that we shall adopt today, at the initiative of Russia, makes that very assessment. It is not a criticism of the Afghans as new authorities prepare to take power. It is not an a priori directive framing the future of international commitment. As one phase of intense international involvement draws to a close, it is an invitation to reflect on the shape of our future presence. The draft presidential statement, which incorporates the broad principles already laid down by the Council, stresses that the subject of the fight against drugs will also be part of our thinking.
The action of the international community in Afghanistan must indeed adapt. The models applied hitherto, characterized by a counter-insurgency strategy, will necessarily evolve. However, we will not renounce the values for which we fought alongside Afghans for 10 years. I am thinking in particular of the role and rights of women in Afghan society.
We have a few months before us to evaluate and determine how the international community can support Afghanistan in the long term. In that respect, the place assigned to the fight against drugs in the UNAMA mandate will have to be strengthened. All possible synergies among the actors in Afghanistan should be supported; while it must need evolve into a counter-narcotics entity, UNAMA will have to assume that role.
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