Statement by Ambassador Wittig on UNAMA

Sep 29, 2011

(as delivered)

Mr. President,

I wish to thank Foreign Minister Rassoul for his presence and for his most valuable intervention. Minister, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Security Council today.

We are also grateful to SRSG de Mistura for his briefing and commend him, the entire staff at UNAMA and the wider UN family in Afghanistan for their admirable work in very difficult circumstances. The support of the United Nations will remain absolutely pivotal.

Germany aligns itself with the EU-statement to be delivered later in this debate.

Mr. President,

Germany condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of the Chairman of the Afghanistan High Peace Council, Professor  Rabbani. Let me reiterate here: The German Government and the German People express our heartfelt condolences to the Afghan authorities and all the Afghans.

We wish Minister Stanekai, the Chief Executive of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program, and all others who were injured, a speedy recovery.

Germany welcomes the strong messages sent out by President Karzai and his government, at this decisive moment of their unwavering determination to stay the course in the peace and reconciliation process. In this context, I wish to underline the commitment of support reiterated by the Security Council in its statement of 20 September.

Mr. President,

the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn on 5 December as has been mentioned by SRSG de Mistura and Foreign Minister Rassoul will be a crucial milestone for Afghanistan . As I outlined to this Council in July, a core aim of the conference is to further define the future engagement of the international community, both during and after security transition will have been completed by the end of 2014. In Germany’s view, security transition marks a new beginning, not the end, of the international support for Afghanistan.

Several factors need to be kept in mind:

A clear and unequivocal message of long-term support to our Afghan friends is our bottom line for Bonn - in the field of security, in the field of building a sustainable administration and, last but not least, economically .  

Having said this, we are encouraged by the continued progress in security transition. While we remain concerned about the volatile overall security environment, we note with appreciation that more and more security operations in more and more parts of Afghanistan are handled by Afghan security forces.

Mr. President,

regional cooperation is of particular relevance for the success of the international Afghanistan strategy. Germany strongly supports recent initiatives to implement previous declarations of good neighbourly relations. We particularly look forward to the Istanbul Conference on November 2. Its results will be paramount for the future of regional cooperation in the heart of Asia. Germany also welcomes bilateral steps forward, particularly with Pakistan, such as the recent formation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Commission for Reconciliation and Peace.

As a complement to the ongoing political process, I would like to underpin the potential of increased economic cooperation for positive change in the region. Only one week ago, in the presence of more than 15 foreign ministers, 30 delegations from the region and beyond met here in New York in the German House to formulate their common vision of a New Silk Road for increased regional economic cooperation with Afghanistan.

This vision requires sincere regional efforts to become reality – but it will also need significant international support over time. With a view towards Bonn, the co-chairs Afghanistan, the U.S. and Germany invite partners to contribute to charting out options how to best turn this vision into a reality. Step - by step - by step.

As I mentioned before: The support of the international community will be required long after transition will have ended. In this perspective, our yardstick must remain the principle of reinforcing Afghan sovereignty.

A word on the UNAMA-review process mentioned by Minister Rassoul:
With a view to this Council’s March 2012 UNAMA mandate resolution, Germany looks forward to the outcomes of the review. As I said earlier, the support of the United Nations will remain absolutely pivotal. In this context we note with appreciation continued progress of the UN towards “delivering as one”.

Let me end by giving you three recent examples which underscore how the cooperation between Afghanistan and its international partners to implement the Kabul process leads to continued progress on the ground, every day, despite all volatilities:

First, despite serious set-backs the Kabul process itself seems to be getting back on track. Germany welcomes signs that there is now greater clarity as to the next steps that need to be taken before the IMF programme can be approved.

Secondly, while tensions continue between and inside different branches of government after the first legislative elections under Afghan leadership, there is now a solution backing the authority of the Independent Election Commission that offers a prospect for improved procedures - in line with the commitments of the Government of Afghanistan to long-term electoral reform.

And thirdly and lastly, the frank and valuable support by the Government of Afghanistan for the study undertaken by UNAMA on the treatment of detainees in several facilities managed by the Afghan security forces is highly commendable. This clearly demonstrates the common interest in the improvement of the human rights.. My government is strongly convinced that, once the report will be finalized, the Afghan Government will find the right answers – and the international community the right way to support them.

Mr. President,

as we continue our support at the Bonn Conference and beyond, Germany will remain side-by-side with our Afghan friends.

Thank you very much.

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