– AS DELIVERED –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Like others I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report and the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan for his statement. I also thank all delegations that have participated in the consultations on the draft resolution, as presented today by Germany. We are looking forward to adoption once again by consensus.
The international conferences held in Bonn last year and in Kabul and Tokyo earlier this year – as well as the summit in Chicago – have reaffirmed the partnership between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community for Afghanistan’s long-term security, economic growth and development. These conferences have set out the way forward for Afghanistan to progressively assume responsibility for all aspects of policy and to achieve its security, development and governance goals.
In the EU statement at the Security Council debate on Afghanistan in September we briefly highlighted the important outcome of the Tokyo Conference, in particular the principle of mutual accountability encapsulated in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, and also addressed the strategic issue of regional cooperation. The implementation of the Tokyo Framework remains paramount in achieving a successful transition in Afghanistan. For this statement, we want to focus on two topics, namely progress on national reconciliation and preparations for the upcoming election.
We welcome the recent visit of the High Peace Council to Pakistan and call on all regional governments to use their influence to encourage all groups to support an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. Progress will only be sustainable if the process is truly inclusive, engaging not only armed groups, but fully involving civil society, including a balanced regional and gender representation from all sections of Afghan society. Both the process and its outcome must respect the Afghan constitution, including its human rights provisions, in particular the rights of women and girls.
We also encourage particular attention to the progressive implementation of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women. In this vein we wish to reiterate our firm commitment to UNSC resolution 1325 and all subsequent resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. We welcome the commitment of the Afghan Government to its full implementation through the establishment of the inter-ministerial Steering Committee on 1325.
We welcome the announcement of the date for the presidential election. It will be critical for Afghanistan’s future that elections are as inclusive and transparent as possible, leading to an outcome that is widely accepted as legitimate.
We call on the Afghan authorities to engage all political parties and civil society in agreeing an electoral reform process, which will put in place a legal framework for elections consistent with the Constitution, with credible measures to prevent fraud, overseen by independent bodies. Early decisions by the relevant Afghan authorities on the system and registration process to be used for elections will be welcome – both to enable international support to the process and to allow for clear communication and voter education.
Allow me to reiterate our full support for UN’s essential role as we move beyond Transition. Its work will be of key importance in supporting the preparations for the upcoming elections, monitoring the human rights and humanitarian situation, and in making coordination bodies – like the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board – work more effectively.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
It is important that the international community remains strongly committed to progress in Afghanistan. This will require sustained support beyond 2014.
The EU commitment to Afghanistan is long-term. The EU is currently giving more than one billion Euros in development assistance to Afghanistan a year. And we will continue to prioritise and enhance support to Afghanistan in the ‘decade of transformation’ agreed at Bonn.
The aim of our overall strategy in Afghanistan remains clear: supporting a successful transition process in Afghanistan and partnering Afghanistan beyond transition on its path towards becoming fully self-reliant and building a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous society for the benefit of all Afghans.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.