I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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 comprehensive report and Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing and the excellent work delivered by himself and his team. I also thank Ambassador Tanin for his clear statement.
The Bonn Conference confirmed international long-term engagement in Afghanistan beyond the end of Transition through the Transformation Decade, from 2015 to 2024. The signing of a number of bilateral partnerships manifests this. From our part, we are firmly committed to this as well, as detailed and specified in the EU Council Conclusions of 14 November 2011.
The commitments made in Bonn were mutual, and as we prepare for the Chicago and Tokyo Conferences we must ensure that these mutual commitments are swiftly implemented.
We note with satisfaction that Transition in the security sector remains on track, with the implementation of tranche II progressing well.
UNAMA will continue to play a critical role in supporting the Afghan Government and will do so with a mandate reviewed in line with the progress made in Afghanistan, in full consensus with its government and informed by the helpful review conducted by the Secretary General. UNAMA’s good offices, including support for the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process, for strengthening human rights and for regional cooperation, will remain cornerstones. Similarly critical is its role in supporting the Afghan Government in the coordination and management of international assistance. In this regard, greater coherence of international assistance with the National Priority Programmes identified by the Government of Afghanistan is necessary. A continued UN role in long-term electoral reform will contribute to strengthening the role of Afghan institutions and the Government. The importance of this was underlined in the Kabul Conference communiqué and most recently at Bonn where there was agreement that strengthening and improvingAfghanistan’s electoral process would be a key step in Afghanistan’s democratization. Finally, we highlight the continued importance of UNAMA’s support for the Afghan authorities’ efforts to increase transparency and accountability. For all these support efforts, a continued UNAMA presence throughout the country is needed.
Progress in the Peace Process will only be sustainable if the peace and reconciliation process is truly inclusive, proactively seeking a balanced gender and social status representation, and involves the civil society. Both the process and its outcome must respect the Afghan constitution, including its human rights provisions and notably the rights of women and girls. At this point in time, we encourage particular attention to the continued 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 and welcome in this respect the commitment of the Afghan Government to its full implementation through the establishment of the inter-ministerial Steering Committee on 1325.
Follow-up to the Istanbul Conference on regional cooperation is encouraging. The February Senior Officials Preparatory Meeting in Kabul laid the groundwork for the June Kabul ministerial meeting by firming up some of the Istanbul commitments. Further progress is necessary to translate these promises into tangible improvements in regional security and economic development. As the recent Paris Pact Conference stressed, regional cooperation will also be indispensable to address common threats such as drug trafficking.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I can once more assure you of our firm commitment to remain engaged as a strong and reliable partner for Afghanistan also after transition has been completed. The aim of our joint efforts inAfghanistanremains clear: to support the Afghan government as it puts the many years of conflict behind it and offers all Afghan people the prospect of a better future. To this end, we support the proposed extension of a strong UNAMA mandate.
* Croatia, 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.