I have the honour also to speak on behalf of the European Union (EU) and those countries that have aligned themselves with this statement.
I wish to thank you, Mr. President for holding this debate, and also thank Mr Eide and Mr Holmes for their briefings. I also welcome the participation of the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The European Union welcomes the International Conference for support to Afghanistan held last June 12 in Paris. Let me reiterate here the continued full commitment of the European Union to the final declaration published under the auspices of three co-chairmen, President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Hamid Karzai and UN Secretary-General, M . Ban Ki-moon.
The European Union welcomes the identification of priorities in the report of the Secretary-General and recalls in this regard the key political messages that were announced in Paris, including :
First, strengthening democracy through competent, transparent and representative Afghan institutions. From this viewpoint, the European Union underlines the importance of preparation for the elections in 2009 and 2010.
Then the support of the international community to the national development strategy of Afghanistan (ANDS) and the leadership that the « Afghanistan Compact » continues to give to the actions of the Afghan government and the international community in its support. Some twenty billion dollars were pledged to finance the implementation of this national strategy. Emphasis has been placed in this context on the importance of improving aid effectiveness so that it specifically benefits the Afghans. It is an essential aspect.
The Paris Declaration also prioritizes strengthening the presence of the Afghan government in provinces, fighting corruption and safeguarding democratic achievements such as freedom of expression, respect for human rights in Afghanistan, including the promotion of gender equality.
Finally, I want to underline before this Council the commitments made by Afghan authorities at the conference on the fight against drugs, an issue on which the Council has not remained idle with the adoption of resolution 1817 on control of precursors of heroin, which was co-sponsored by Afghanistan in particular. It is now necessary to work towards the implementation of its provisions, by Afghanistan, but also by neighbouring countries, transit countries and producer countries.
Afghanistan is a priority for France and the European Union. This is true of its member states engaged in ISAF or civilian missions. It is also true of the European Commission, which has already spent 3.7 billion euros to the reconstruction of Afghanistan since 2002 and provides, in its assistance strategy for 2007-2013, a commitment of 610 million Euros until 2010. The European Unions commitment is reflected finally by the police mission EUPOL, which has just passed its first year of operation and at this stage comprises 170 international personnel, distributed in Kabul and in the North, West and South and covering 14 provinces of Afghanistan. The Union has decided to double the size of the mission.
The Paris conference has brought an expression of shared responsibility by the international community and Afghan authorities to strengthen the efficiency and quality of aid. Every Afghan should have access in their daily lives to the benefit of aid. On the one hand, the international community must provide more coherent and coordinated assistance, including through an increased coordination role for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the UNAMA. This assistance should be chanelled increasingly through the national afghan budget and mobilize human resources from Afghanistan. On the other hand, the Afghan government has pledged to expand reforms to make government structures accountable and transparent.
I finally recall the importance of strengthening security, which is one of the top priorities of Afghans. In this regard, and after hearing Mr. Holmes just now, I recall that the European Union condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks against civilians and against personnel and humanitarian convoys, which deprive people of relief that they need. The EU reaffirms its commitment to the preservation of humanitarian space. The EU reaffirms its commitment to preserving the humanitarian space and reminds all parties that they must ensure the protection of civilian populations and respect all their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law.
To conclude, I wish to thank again the Secretary-General for his report and his Special Representative, Mr. Kai Eide, for his presentation. Both formulate important recommendations on the future of UNAMA and adapting its configuration with the conclusions of the Paris Conference. The Secretary-General and his Special Representative, Mr. Eide, can count on the support of the European Union in the operational translation of these recommendations.