– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States. 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.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing.
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 importance of regional cooperation. The implementation of the Tokyo Framework remains paramount in achieving a successful transition and transformation in Afghanistan. Without consistent delivery on commitments and implementation of reforms on good governance and transparency, rule-of-law and human rights, the international community will find it increasingly difficult to defend continued commitment and allocation of financial resources vis-à-vis domestic constituencies.
For this statement, we want to focus on two topics, namely progress on national reconciliation and preparations for the upcoming election.
We welcome the visit of the High Peace Council to Pakistan and the increased dialogue between the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Progress will only be sustainable if the peace and reconciliation process is truly inclusive, engaging not only armed groups, but fully involving civil society and including a balanced representation of people from all regions and sections of Afghan society, in particular, Afghan women. Both the process and its outcome must respect the principles set out by the Afghan government and the international community at Bonn, including the human rights provisions of the Afghan constitution.
We also encourage particular attention to the progressive implementation of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women. The EU wishes 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 inclusive and transparent, 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 to reform the electoral process, based on lessons learnt from previous elections. In particular, it will be important to put in place a legal framework consistent with the Constitution, with credible measures to prevent fraud and overseen by independent bodies. Definitive and clear decisions by the relevant Afghan authorities, in consultation with parliament, political parties and civil society, on the system and registration process to be used for elections are needed – both to enable international support, in particular by the UN, to the processes and to allow for clear communication and voter education.
Allow me to reiterate our full support for UNAMA’s essential role during the transition and beyond. The political role of UNAMA in advising and assisting the Afghan Government is of central importance, not least in the perspective of the elections 2014 and 2015. UNAMA must be properly mandated and adequately resourced to fulfil this role. UNAMA also plays a key role in supporting an increased Afghan ownership and in coordinating the international development efforts in the coming years. UNAMA’s work will be vital in enabling Afghanistan and the international community to work effectively together to fulfil the commitments made in Tokyo earlier this year and in monitoring the human rights and humanitarian situation.
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. We look forward to the swift completion of the negotiations on the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development between Afghanistan and the EU and its Member States early next year. 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 to become a self-reliant, 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.