10 March 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States by H.E. Mr. João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council debate on UNAMA
– Final –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its 28 Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report. I would also like to thank Special Representative Yamamoto and Ms. Sima Samar for their briefings.
First, let me express our condolences to the Afghan people and Government for the horrific attack in Kabul.
I’d like to start by reiterating our full support for the important role played by UNAMA and all the UN agencies in supporting the Afghan people, and in coordinating the international community’s assistance.
The Warsaw Conference in July and the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan (BCA) of October last year showed the strong international commitment to Afghanistan. At the Brussels Conference the international community sent a clear signal in support of a process towards peace, security and stability.
All international security, political, economic, development and regional efforts should now be aligned to further such a political process. Terrorism and violent extremism are fundamental threats to all state actors, just as terrorism and the use of violence undermines regional peace and stability.
The European Union remains fully committed to supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process that includes all Afghan citizens and their legitimate interests and preserves Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and equal rights of all Afghans under the Constitution of Afghanistan.
After the signing of the Hezb-e-Islami peace agreement, for which the parties deserve credit, it will now be important to implement it, and open the way for future peace agreements. In this regard, we welcome the Security Council’s decision to delist Hezb-e-Islami’s leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, as an important step towards the full implementation of the peace agreement. The EU is ready to support further the implementation of this agreement.
We welcome the undeterred willingness of the Afghan Government to engage in a political process with the Taliban and other Afghan groups opposing the Kabul government to reach a lasting political settlement. We welcome all initiatives to create a conducive environment for such a process and call on all parties to engage in constructive solutions.
We welcome the further work that has been done by the Afghan Government since the Brussels Conference to advance the implementation of its commitments and the progress done in anti-corruption, election preparation, revenue collection and budget execution as an example, which must now be followed by further tangible results in the implementation of the reform agenda. The EU will remain attentive to the next steps.
I would like to highlight the importance and the need of continued focus on the ways and means of empowering Afghan women to build a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, as well as reinforcing the political and human rights of Afghan women and how to realise the full enjoyment of those rights in everyday life.
If many positive changes have occurred in the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan, further improvement remain essential for the country’s development and should continue to be a priority. The European Union will continue to support the Afghan authorities in their efforts to increase women’s participation in society and the economy. Therefore we welcome the recent adoption of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Plan – one of the five National Priority Programmes presented at the Brussels Conference – by the Afghan authorities. Gender mainstreaming is a crucial component of the EU’s assistance: 53% of EU programmes have gender equality as a significant objective.
The EU welcomes the priority the Afghan government placed on fighting corruption, which remains a major obstacle to development and stability and stresses the need to further strengthen the efforts in tackling corruption. The EU further welcomes the important results already achieved and looks forward to further follow up.
We also support the reform of the security sector, with a focus on advancing on civilian policing in Afghanistan, building on the achievements of EUPOL Afghanistan. The establishment of the new EUSR Police Advisory Team will contribute to the implementation of the new Afghanistan Security Sector Reform plan.
At the Brussels Conference, the international community welcomed the Afghan National Peace and Development Framework and its ambitious development vision.
The EU and its Member States welcome the adoption of the new Election law and the appointments of the new commissioners to the Electoral Management bodies. These must now work in a professional and transparent manner to rebuild public confidence in electoral processes. While technical aspects of elections play an important role, political will of Afghan stakeholders and a strong and cohesive leadership are necessary to deliver credible elections. The EU supports an early engagement with the electoral management bodies and UNAMA’s coordinating role. Any assistance must be forward looking, leading to the implementation of meaningful electoral reforms, as well as the sustainable development of electoral institutions and improved electoral processes.
On 18 February, the signing between the EU and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan of their first contractual relationship, the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD), sent a strong political signal of the EU’s enduring support to the country through the “Decade of Transformation” (2015-2024) and beyond. The agreement will also provide the basis for developing a mutually beneficial relationship in an increasing range of areas such as the rule of law, health, rural development, education, science and technology, as well as actions to combat corruption, money laundering, the financing of terrorism, organised crime and narcotics. It also foresees cooperation on migration.
On behalf of the European Union and its Member States, I would like to reiterate that joint state-building and development efforts in Afghanistan need to build on reinforced regional cooperation.
Regional cooperation remains key to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. Threats of terrorism affecting all countries of the region can only be confronted with increased security cooperation. In the same vein, it is indispensable for sustainable development.
In this regard, the EU strongly supports regional fora such as the Heart of Asia or the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) to continue to be used to facilitate the cooperation among all regional actors.
To conclude, Mr. President,
Migration continues to represent an important challenge for both the European Union and Afghanistan, which reaffirms the common aim to work together within the UN and regional frameworks (such as the Budapest process – Silk Route partnership for migration) to shape a global answer based on solidarity and shared responsibilities.
The EU and Afghanistan continue the implementation of the EU-Afghanistan Joint Way Forward agreement on migration issues (JWF) and the bilateral Member States’ Memoranda of Understanding. In this process, the European Union puts a strong emphasis on ensuring sustainable reintegration and providing substantial support to the Afghan Government to facilitate return and reintegration.
The EU also continued its efforts to promote a regional approach and intends to focus on sustainable reintegration, local development, social cohesion in host communities and durable solutions to protracted displacement. UNAMA has played an important role in coordinating the international efforts to this end. We would encourage UNAMA to continue this work and the dialogue with the Afghan government on the inclusion of IDPs and returnees. The EU aims to develop a comprehensive EU response to bridge the humanitarian-development nexus and promote durable solutions to the challenges posed by the protracted nature of this crisis.
UNAMA’s report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan documents a record number of civilian casualties in 2016, the majority of which are due to insurgent attacks. We call on all parties to do their utmost to protect the civilian population, especially Afghan women and children. We also need to continue to protect the vital role of humanitarian agencies and respect their impartiality and humanitarian space in addressing the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable.
It is important that the international community remains strongly committed to accompanying Afghanistan towards long-term progress and stability. The EU continues to consider UNAMA as a key partner in achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan. UNAMA has an invaluable role in ensuring the broader possible international support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. For this reason, we support the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate, as proposed by the Secretary General in his last report.
Thank you very much.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
| Top |