17 September 2015, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Debate on UNAMA
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 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, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and Special Representative Haysom for his briefing and to assure him of continued support to his mission. I would also like to convey our appreciation to Ambassador Tanin for his statement and cooperation, and look forward to working closely with him in his new capacity.
Let me start by reiterating the EU’s full support for the continued important role played by UNAMA and all the UN agencies in supporting the Afghan people, and in coordinating the international community’s assistance.
The role of the UN in facilitating consensus and support for the National Unity Government reform agenda has been particularly helpful when preparing the Senior Officials Meeting on 5 September in Kabul. The new ‘Self Reliance Mutual Accountability Framework’ (SMAF) provides important benchmarks and timelines for deliverables in key priority areas, which will allow for stepping up the pace of reforms, ensuring a more effective implementation and lead to greater aid effectiveness.
It is particularly encouraging to see that this new framework comprises indicators on human rights, and in particular on the rights of women and children, as well as indicators on the continued development of accountable institutions and electoral reforms. Regarding the latter, the European Union welcomes the progress made by the Special Electoral Reform Commission who presented its initial recommendations. We are looking forward to a constructive follow-up and timely further progress. The capacity of the Afghan institutions to deliver results that reach its citizens will make the difference.
The past months have seen a new spike in the exodus of refugees and migrants from Afghanistan – many of them well educated. Continuous insecurity threatens the progress made in stabilizing the country. It is all the more urgent that the Government of Afghanistan, with the support of the international community and all regional stakeholders, provide for a secure and stable environment Europe remains committed to Afghanistan. It is crucial that the Afghan people can regain confidence in the future, especially by urgently implementing reforms to create economic opportunities.
I am honoured to announce that the European Union accepts the invitation by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to co-host the next Ministerial Conference in Brussels. It takes Afghan leadership alongside continued international solidarity and support to make it a success and move towards the long-term objective of Afghan Self Reliance. On this path, the Brussels Conference can send a strong signal of hope, confidence and change.
The Secretary-General’s report highlights the sustained conflict, which grew both in intensity and geographic scope, recalling the continued and utter disregard by the Taliban and other insurgent groups for Afghan lives. We need to be clear: the insurgency continues to plan and target attacks against Afghan civilians.
The EU condemns the insurgent groups that continue to direct attacks against Afghan civilians, democratic institutions and civil society, causing record numbers of casualties. It is also vital that humanitarian aid agencies and aid workers are allowed unhindered access to the most vulnerable affected population in line with the basic humanitarian principles.
The European Union is confident that the National Unity Government will prevail in this struggle with all the support that we can collectively muster. The initiation of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process remains the key objective. Earlier this year, we have encouraged direct meetings between the Government of Afghanistan and representatives of the Taliban – we now face a deadlock due to continuous insurgency attacks. The EU calls on all countries, especially on Afghanistan’s neighbours, to support an inclusive settlement that eschews the violence which continues to cause suffering for so many Afghans, disavows any link with terrorism or terrorist groups and respects human rights, in particular the rights of women.
In this context, the EU welcomes the launching of Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security for 2015-2022. The EU fully supports the National Unity Government in this endeavour and has put in place a special support program for its implementation. We must protect the gains made by the Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban regime, as their active involvement in rebuilding the state remains crucial. With a view towards enhanced women’s empowerment in all sectors of society, our wish is to see women actively involved in negotiations on the future of their country.
The Central and South Asian regions remain amongst the least integrated in the world. The EU believes that increased regional economic cooperation, in particular the development of intra-regional trade and infrastructure will provide benefits for all countries in the region. We support all efforts of maintaining and improving these regional relations. So far, credit must go to President Ghani and some other leaders in the region for their endeavours to reach out to the other side.
The EU knows from its own experience that greater security and prosperity are interlinked. Regional connectivity and improved economic cooperation can provide an important basis for stability and prosperity. The full implementation of the APTTA and other agreements can play a valuable role in stimulating economic activity along vital economic and transport arteries. The EU continues to support the Heart of Asia process and other processes that are owned by the countries in the region. We are looking forward to concerted efforts of the main stakeholders to show leadership and invest both political and financial and resources to that end.
In conclusion, the EU will work with and render support to the National Unity Government during this difficult transformation period and stands at its side when further promoting an inclusive dialogue on reconciliation and political participation. Lasting peace can only come with the constructive engagement of all neighbouring countries. The EU will work with the leading members of the international community to support this outcome. UNAMA’s role in promoting peace and security for all Afghans will be a vital one and we reiterate its importance.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
EU source: European Union
UN forum: Security Council
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