I thank Mr. De Mistura for his briefing on the situation in Afghanistan and Mr. Rassoul for his statement. I endorse the statement to be made by the representative of the European Union.
We were obviously shocked and saddened by the attack that took the life of the former Afghan President and Chair of the High Peace Council, Mr. Rabbani. The terrorists are attempting to divert us from our goal; they must fail. The international community must rally around the message of unity and determination, as the Council did on 21 September and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) will continue to do in Kabul. Our aim remains to support the Afghan Government on its road to fully restored sovereignty in the framework of a consistent and determined transition process.
As to France, the President of the Republic announced our intention to reduce and redeploy our contingent in cooperation with our allies and the Afghan authorities. On the other hand, in parallel and in the same context, the civil component of our effort will gradually grow. France’s engagement will not end in 2014, but it will have been changed by a friendship and cooperation agreement between France and Afghanistan to be signed this autumn.
These major changes are taking place in a difficult security context, as recalled by the report of the Secretary General (S/2011/590). The insurgents have demonstrated their capacity to carry out complex attacks at the very heart of Kabul. The number of civilian victims has increased as compared to the past year thanks to the Taliban who no longer hesitate to kill in hospitals and in mosques. That being the case, the Afghan Security Forces are growing more powerful and have demonstrated their resolve to fight. We need to continue to focus on protecting civilians within the framework of the International Security Assistance Force. It is just as important to be able to demonstrate that we are fighting on behalf of values that preclude any practices that undermine human dignity.
The stabilization of Afghanistan entails its integration into a regional dynamic based on new rules. The Conference on the New Silk Road Initiative was an opportunity to reaffirm the importance for Afghanistan to once again become the centre of exchange that it was in the past. With regard to the ongoing military commitment and a vision for the economy, there is a need to think deeply about the regional parameters for security. We welcome the upcoming Conferences in Istanbul in November and in Bonn on 5 December, which will help us to move forward on all of those issues.
At the Kabul Conference last year, the goal of Afghanization was set forth with conditions — better management of public finances, reducing corruption, and the performance of the budget. The international community cannot continue to effectively carry out its commitment if those conditions are not met and agreement is not reached between the country’s authorities and the International Monetary Fund to address the Kabul Bank crisis.
Moreover, Afghanistan cannot allow the institutional crisis that has been taking place since the last legislative elections to continue. We note the announcement by the Independent Election Commission to change the composition of the lower chamber. We call on all Afghan institutions to work in line with their respective purviews, in the framework set out in the Constitution and the principle of the separation of powers. That episode makes it all the
more necessary to carry out genuine electoral reform with the support of the United Nations.
We are convinced that the United Nations in general and UNAMA in particular, will have a major role to play in Afghanistan in coming years. Its presence and its mandates will change based on the transition. We look forward to the results of the strategic review requested of the Secretary-General in resolution 1974 (2011). We would like to conclude by commending the efforts of Special Representative Staffan de Mistura, who has led UNAMA with great skill and the vision necessary to refocus its actions and help it through dramatic moments. I also pay tribute to the personnel of UNAMA, who at the request of the Security Council and UNAMA are working in challenging and dangerous conditions in favour of the stabilization, security and development of Afghanistan.
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