France associates itself with the statement to be made by the representative of the European Union.
We would like thank Special Representative de Mistura, for his work. We listened with interest to his briefing. Under his leadership, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has made a fresh start and has contributed to a constructive dialogue between the Government and the international community.
We support the priorities that it has developed in its three-plus-one approach, which is in line with the mandate bestowed by resolution 1917 (2010). The refocusing of his work on political good offices, the preparation of the elections, support for the reconciliation process and regional cooperation should be continued, while maintaining UNAMA’s commitment to coordinating international assistance by working to that end with the Afghan Government and the special representative of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In a word, we give our fullest support to the work of the Special Representative.
Here, I would also of course like to pay tribute to the men and women of UNAMA, who assist the Afghan people in difficult conditions, as we know. Their safety must be a priority. To that tribute I would like to add a word of remembrance for the sacrifice of our soldiers, who contribute to the same goal.
This meeting of the Security Council takes on particular significance in the light of the holding of the Peace Jirga in May, the preparations for the upcoming Kabul Conference and the prospect of legislative elections in September. It also takes place at a time when major counterinsurgency operations are taking place in the field.
The Security Council visit was an opportunity to reiterate the commitment of the international community to Afghans in their fight to establish the rule of law, ensure economic development and combat terrorism. The visit also made it possible to better see the main challenges in stabilizing the country. It strengthened our belief that success in Afghanistan depends on a political strategy that incorporates the civil and security spheres.
The military aspect is related to the efforts currently being made by ISAF, whether on the ground or to train the Afghan army and police. The offensive under way was necessary. It must make our enemies understand that negotiation is the only solution. However, the security aspect is also political.
The Afghan Government’s policy of national reconciliation and integration is a positive element.
That policy should clearly be led by the Afghans, but the United Nations must remain vigilant with respect to the conditions established by the Afghan authorities themselves and sanctioned by the Security Council, namely, the renunciation of violence, the breaking of links with Al-Qaida and international terrorism, respect for the constitution and the protection of human rights and women’s rights.
However, if necessary, the role of the United Nations should be more than that of an arbiter. We trust the Special Representative to help, if necessary, to launch negotiations. Today, we must build policy. There will be no reintegration without reconciliation. There will be no reconciliation without political agreement. And it is that political agreement that we must aim for.
With regard to this meeting, we have noted the call by the Jirga and the authorities for a new review of the list held to date by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999). We support updating the list so as to strengthen the effectiveness of the sanctions regime. To that end, we count on the cooperation of the Afghan authorities to provide us with information on the people whose removal from the list is requested.
Reconciliation, reintegration and political agreement will only be a reality if they are grounded in improved governance and the fight against corruption in order to meet the expectations of the population, who only too often support the insurgents because they are disappointed by their own Administration.
There is still a long way to go, but we welcomed as very positive the reform programme presented by President Karzai in his inaugural speech. His commitments should now be made more specific in anticipation of the Kabul Conference, and then implemented without delay.
Lastly, we attach great importance to the organization of the legislative elections in September. There too, we trust that our Special Representative will help us avoid another failure like the presidential elections.
The Afghan crisis — I am not the first to say it — cannot be approached independently of the situation in the region, in particular in Pakistan. The United Nations is well placed to bring together all regional actors around the common objective of stabilizing the region. We therefore follow with great interest the Special Representative’s Silk Road initiative.
In conclusion, I would like to recall a crucial point. The transition we want to set in motion in Afghanistan will not signal withdrawal by the international community, much less abandonment. In any case, as the President of the French Republic has recalled on many occasions, France will remain committed for as long as necessary and as long as the Afghans wish.