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29 September 2009 - Security Council: Afghanistan - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translation of statement made in French)

Allow me, first of all, to begin by thanking Ms. Norma Chan for her contribution to the work of the Security Council. I would like to convey to her my best wishes for happiness in the new life before her.

Allow me also to acknowledge the presence among us of Mr. Rangin Dâdfar Spantâ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.

With regard to the current tense post-electoral environment in Afghanistan, I would first like to underscore the outstanding role and work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which reflects the central part it plays in the efforts undertaken by the international community. I would like in particular to commend the work of Special Representative Kai Eide, who has maintained strict and watchful impartiality in making an irreplaceable contribution to the credibility of the electoral process. I should therefore like to reiterate our full confidence in the Special Representative, both in his role as the international community’s spokesman to the Afghan people and in his efforts to ensure the mobilization and coordination of the international community on an issue where much remains to be done despite the progress made in the past year. He will need the unwavering support of the international community to overcome those challenges, and he can of course count on France’s support in that regard.

As the Council is aware, France is very involved in Afghanistan. On the military level, we have deployed more than 3,000 troops in dangerous combat zones. They have paid a heavy price. With respect to police personnel, we are currently deploying members of the gendarmerie as part of the European gendarme force. Turning to civilian assistance, my country has made very significant efforts in recent years. Alongside its partners, France will continue its commitment for as long as is necessary to bring about an Afghan State that is able to fully take its future in its own hands.

Afghan voters went to polling stations on 20 August 2009 to elect their President and provincial council members. As the Special Representative of the Secretary-General has underscored, certain irregularities have been pointed out. The Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission have conducted an audit on this subject. They must be able to work in transparency and tranquillity with the support and confidence of all parties.

As we await final results, we have only one demand: that procedures be complied with so that, ultimately, the choice of the Afghans is respected. It is essential that dialogue and national consensus continue, including beyond the elections. Whatever the final result may be, the establishment of a Government which can express that national consensus is desirable.

The elections were a time when the Afghan people not only could see what has been accomplished, but also turn towards the future and express their hopes and expectations as a new period is beginning in the history of Afghanistan. For the international community also, it is a time to take stock of our commitment and evaluate the challenges still before us, as well as the best way to meet them.

That is why France, together with Germany and the United Kingdom, has taken the initiative to propose to the United Nations that a new international conference on Afghanistan be convened after a new Afghan Government has been put in place. The goal of such a conference would be based on the comprehensive strategy, defined in 2008 in Bucharest and at the Paris conference, to establish the framework for relations between Afghanistan and the international community during this new phase, which should see Afghans taking full control over their national destiny.

These gradually increasing responsibilities will require from the future Afghan authorities more resolute, virtuous and effective action than in the past. Priority reforms must be urgently undertaken on political and domestic matters insufficiently addressed to date: improving governance, in particular local governance; building Afghan security and civilian capacities; stepping up the fight against corruption; and re-launching the national reconciliation process and speeding up the progressive reintegration of ex-combatants into society.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s positive response to our proposal. The modalities for the conference will be discussed with interested parties, beginning, of course, with the next Afghan Government. In any case, we believe it essential that the meeting be held as soon as possible so that the international community can support the renewed compact concluded between the Afghan people and their Government.

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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