Security Council: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on UNAMA (Afghanistan)
(Security Council: Statement as delivered by Ambassador Wittig in a debate on UNAMA)
Thank you, Mr. President,
Let me at the outset thank Undersecretary-General Ladsous for his briefing on behalf of SRSG Kubis as well as Executive Director Fedotov for highlighting the pivotal role of counter-narcotics efforts for the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan and the entire region.
Germany aligns itself with the EU-statement to be delivered later in this debate.
“Cautious optimism” is the term used in the Secretary General’s report to sum-up his overall assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan. We fully subscribe to this assessment.
Since the Bonn Conference last December, significant progress has been made. While transition is progressing with 75 percent of Afghans already living in areas under Afghan security lead, the Transformation Decade which we agreed upon in Bonn is taking shape.
In the political field, the recent Heart of Asia Conference held in Kabul was a strong demonstration of Afghan ownership and regional cooperation based on trust, confidence and shared values. Afghanistan is no longer perceived as a mere source of instability, but is assuming its role at the heart of a regional process which is now embarking on a set of concrete confidence building measures. As expressed by the German Foreign Minister in Kabul, Germany will continue to support this process as an observer, offering our specific expertise in the areas of regional infrastructure and Chambers of Commerce.
While strengthening ties with the region, Afghanistan has also consolidated its partnerships at global level through a number of cooperation agreements, including with my own country. The message is clear: Afghanistan is not going to be abandoned in 2014, the international community stands by its commitments.
In the area of security, this message was underscored at the NATO Summit in Chicago in May where partners committed to sustain and support the Afghan security forces beyond 2014. However, against the backdrop of the military drawdown and its economic implications, sustaining the gains I just described will remain a major challenge.
Commitments in the security field need to be accompanied by a framework for long-term governance and development cooperation that leads to an economically self-sustained Afghanistan. The upcoming Tokyo Conference will provide us with an opportunity to take bold steps in this regard. We commend UNAMA’s excellent work in supporting the preparatory process in Kabul.
Mutual accountability will be key in Tokyo. While we stand ready to extend our cooperation beyond 2014, we expect clear commitments from the Afghan Government towards better governance, anti-corruption and human rights as well as for safeguarding the democratic achievements beyond 2014. President Karzai’s recent speech in the Afghan Parliament contained strong messages in this regard that will need to be followed upon within the Afghan Government and administration.
For the very same reason, we fully subscribe to Mr. Fedotov’s analysis that without progress in governance, development and law enforcement, progress in our counter-narcotics efforts will also be limited. We therefore support UNODC’s comprehensive approach that complements poppy eradication programs with targeted investments in law enforcement, criminal justice and livelihoods. We have been continuously funding UNODC’s acitivities in these areas and will continue to so.
When discussing Afghanistan’s future beyond 2014, we cannot but underline the key role the UN will need to play based on its unique legitimacy and experience. When extending UNAMA’s mandate in March, this Council expressed its full support for the UN’s good offices in supporting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation, building Afghan institutions and accompanying the Afghan electoral process, ensuring coherence among donors and accompanying the regional process. In this context, we commend UNAMA’s efforts to search for even more efficient ways of operation, while ensuring that it maintains sufficient geographical coverage and is able to perform its role as mandated by this Council. The renewed deployment of international staff to UNAMA’s Kunduz office and the significant security improvements at the office in Mazar-i Sharif are welcome developments in this regard.
Our “cautious optimism” is grounded in the international community’s ability to maintain a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. The UN will need to play a pivotal role in this regard. Let me assure you that Germany remains committed to a strong UNAMA, able to live up to the high expectations placed upon it.