Statement by Ambassdor Wittig on UNAMA in the Security Council
(check against delivery)
· Let me first extend a particular word of thanks to SRSG Staffan de Mistura for his briefing today – and to his colleagues at UNAMA for their dedicated and outstanding work in fulfilment of this Council’s mandate and in support of the Afghan government. UNAMA works under extremely complex and challenging circumstances.
· I also thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and very topical report.
· My delegation is grateful to Ambassador Tanin for his welcome remarks and for the close cooperation with him and his team.
· Before I offer some national remarks, let me underline that my government aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the representative of the European Union on behalf of the Union later in this debate. The European Union is one of the major contributors to stabilization in Afghanistan and the region.
· Afghanistan is a national foreign policy priority for the German government. We consider it an honor to be holding the pen in this important Security Council dossier for the next two years and we look forward to working with you – in support of Afghanistan. We thank our Turkish predecessors for their valuable work and their continuous commitment, particularly in the field of regional cooperation.
· My government will continue to support our Afghan friends as we are entering into a phase of concrete Transition. The Kabul Process is essentially an ambitious agenda for Transition towards increasingly Afghan-led processes. It corresponds to the need for real Afghan empowerment, based on the rule of law and national capacities.
· Speaking for one of the major donor countries, let me make on point crystal clear: Transition does not mean reduced international engagement but rather a change in our support structure. Transition will be gradual and conditions-based. The character of the international engagement will focus increasingly on training and capacity building.
· Here, UNAMA will continue to be in a unique position to contribute to the empowerment of the Afghan people.
· My government shares the view of the Secretary-General that wherever we have achieved progress sustainability must be our key concern. This is of particular relevance in the areas of good governance, the rule of law and human rights and freedoms, including the role of women. We commend the AFG government’s achievements to date and encourage them to continue to give priority to these policy areas.
· In the light of Transition, Germany is concerned by the fact that the technical capacity for a successful implementation of the Government’s National Priority Programmes is not yet in place throughout the country. Especially in regions and areas where early Transition is planned, we call on UNAMA and other partners, in support of the Afghan government, to redouble their efforts.
· Sustainability and a successful Transition will not be possible without an inclusive political process. Germany puts great hopes in the evolving reconciliation process. We encourage UNAMA to continue to support the Afghan Government in this field. And we are confident that both parties will reinforce their cooperation in order to achieve lasting stability.
· We hope that the ongoing tensions around the status of the parliament (Wolesi Jirga) will be resolved soon as they prevent the parliament to effectively discharge of its functions as charted out in the Constitution. The UN’s continued support will also be essential to further improve the sustainability of the electoral system.
· In a couple of days from now, at Nowruz (21 March), President Karzai will announce the first tranche of areas selected for the Transition to an Afghan lead in security responsibilities.
· Although the overall number of security incidents remains alarming, Germany is encouraged by the recent progress in building the necessary strength of the Afghan security institutions. We are also pleased to note that despite regional disparities, the UNDP February 2011 Police Perception Survey notes a significantly improved confidence by the local population when compared to 2009.
· The increasing number of civilian casualties is intolerable. Germany notes with serious concern the latest trends. At the same time we also note and welcome the continued progress by Afghan and international forces to avoid civilian casualties.
· Germany firmly supports the extension of the mandate for the Mission for 12 months, as recommended by the Secretary-General and requested by the Government of Afghanistan.
· I am glad to report that we have been observing great unity in the Council’s ongoing negotiations on the UNAMA mandate.
· My delegation wishes to underline, however, that the Afghan Government is right in reminding us, in the recent letter by its Foreign Minister, of our responsibility and commitment to empower the Afghan institutions and that sometimes the amount of good-will by development partners could also contribute to undermining Afghan solutions to Afghan problems.
· In this context, Germany supports a review of the UN’s support in the perspective of the next mandate renewal in March 2012, as soon as we are in a position to evaluate, on an informed basis, our first experiences with Transition and reconciliation. The Bonn Conference in December, in response to a request from our Afghan friends, was timed to contribute to a such process
· Let me end by emphasizing that it is the quality of the cooperation between the United Nations and the people of Afghanistan that will ultimately decide upon our success. Given what we have achieved and invested, my delegation is convinced that we have every reason to continue to work together for a prosperous and secure Afghanistan.