Statement by Ambassador Wittig on UNAMA in the Security Council Open Debate

Jul 6, 2011

(as delivered)

Let me once more, on behalf of all of us, thank the Special Representative for his briefing today. We equally thank Ambassador Tanin for his statement.

Nationally, I wish to touch upon three topics today.

Firstly, transition: Germany welcomes that the process of security transition is progressing in line with the improved quality and quantity of the Afghan security forces. My delegation particularly welcomes the beginning of security transition in the first tranche of seven districts and municipalities to Afghan security responsibility this month.

It is important to underline, as per the agreement between NATO and the Afghan government, that the transition period will continue to be gradual and conditions-based. The number of security incidents in recent months illustrates clearly the magnitude of the challenges still ahead of us. We believe, however, that the strategy and timelines agreed between Afghanistan and the international community will continue to serve us well, and we intend to stay the course.

Germany condemns the ongoing violence, in particular and in the strongest terms the latest attack on a hospital in Logar. We note with continued serious concern a further increase in civilian casualties, up to 90% of which are now caused by insurgents. We commend the professional reaction by the Afghan security forces during last week’s heinous attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.

In this Council, I would like to particularly stress the UN’s security: As all of us here today, Germany greatly appreciates the SRSGs and the UNAMA colleagues’ work under most challenging circumstances. But as we expect UNAMA to continue with their indispensable work, we have a common responsibility to do everything we can to protect UN staff and their operations. Mazar was another shocking experience for the UN community and we extend our concolences to all the families. Germany calls for maximum efforts, including by the Afghan government, to protect international support operations in Afghanistan.

My second point is on the Kabulprocess: Over time the transition agenda described in the Kabul process will also change the nature of the international support. However, it is the strong expectation of the international community and its citizens that UN resources and expertise are made use of to preserve the progress achieved and to build a sustainable partnership with a viable state, based on Afghan leadership, democratic principles and respect for human rights, reliable governmental and non-governmental institutions, and founded on a firm constitutional basis.

One of the determining factors for the success of the Kabul process is a solution to the Kabul Bank crisis. There is no substitute for credible financial institutions. Germany concurs with the report in that the absence of an IMF program seriously endangers the Kabul process and the ability to increasingly channel development support through the government budget.

My third point:  let me briefly touch upon preparations for the international Afghanistanconference in Bonnin December which some of you have mentionend and which Germany looks forward to hosting, upon the request by the Afghan government. On the whole, the conference is about shifting of more weight onto the long-term and the political component within our common Afghanistan strategy.

As was decided by President Karzai, the three main aims of the conference chaired by Afghanistan are: to further define the civilian aspects of the Transition process until 2014, to strongly confirm and define long-term international support for Afghanistan, beyond 2014, and to contribute to the political process of reconciliation, including its regional dimension. We expect that the Bonn conference will be an important milestone on the way to a stable Afghanistan at peace with itself and its neighbors.

In this context, Germany considers the recent split of the 1267 sanctions regime into separate Al Qaeda and Taleban regimes an important stepping stone.

Let me end by assuring continued and long-term German support to our Afghan friends and by underlining our appreciation of UNAMA’s role and the wider UN support. Germany considers UNAMA and the UN system core partners for successful transition, in the interest of all Afghans.

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