Security Council Debate: Statement by Ambassador Berger on the Situation in Afghanistan
(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Miguel Berger, Deputy Permanent Representative, on the Situation in Afghanistan)
Thank you, Mr. President,
At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report. I would also like to welcome the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Kubis, and extend my thanks to him for his briefing and his and his team’s dedicated work in support of the Afghan people.
My Government aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union later in this debate.
Afghanistan has come a long way in its security, political and economic transitions and progress has been achieved in many respects.
In 2011 and 2012, the Government of Afghanistan and the international community set the framework for continued close cooperation throughout the Transformation Decade at conferences held in Istanbul, Bonn, Kabul and Tokyo as well as at the Chicago summit.
These conferences sent the clear message of continued support of the international community to Afghanistanand its people.
This year is set to provide important steps by Afghanistanin implementing the decisions taken at these conferences. And Germany will continue to support Afghanistan in its efforts to do so.
1) My Government welcomes progress in the transition of security responsibility. President Karzai announced the fifth and final tranche of security transition earlier this week. With this milestone event, Afghan National Security Forces have resumed lead security responsibility throughout the country.
The security forces continue to face serious challenges as the latest series of attacks on Afghan and international institutions demonstrate. Germany condemns these heinous terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of numerous people, particularly civilians.
Germany is confident, however, that with evolving but persistent international support the Afghan security forces will continue to prove capable to respond to these challenges.
2) The Almaty Ministerial Conference was a successful step in intensifying the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation. Germany welcomes the adoption of implementation plans for all six confidence-building measures. Swift implementation is of key importance now. As a supporting nation, we are looking forward to the next Ministerial meeting to be held in China in 2014 which we expect to further unlock the process’s full potential. The Istanbul Process stands for a significant increase of mutual understanding and cooperation among the Heart of Asia nations. It holds great potential to enhance the stability and well-being of the region as a whole.
3) At the Bonn and Tokyo Conferences, the Government of Afghanistan and the international community reaffirmed their partnership and agreed on mutual commitments constituting the foundation on which their long-term partnership rests.
My Government is convinced that comprehensive and timely implementation of the commitments contained in the TokyoMutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) is of paramount importance in achieving Afghanistan’s goal of developing into a democratic and economically thriving country.
a) In this regard, we acknowledge progress made by the Government of Afghanistan in preparing for the Presidential and provincial council elections to be held on 5 April 2014. But further progress is a pressing requirement.
Germany is particularly concerned with regard to the pending decisions on the legal framework for the elections, including the establishment of a credible electoral complaints mechanism as well as the pending appointment of a new Chairman to the Independent Electoral Commission. Furthermore, effective measures need to be put in place to prevent widespread electoral fraud.
UNAMA can further increase its beneficial role in supporting this Afghan-led and –owned process.
Our shared objective is to hold inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Afghanistan.
b) The urgent need for progress in preparation of the Presidential elections is but one of Germany’s concerns.
Preserving and consolidating gains in the protection and promotion of Human rights in Afghanistan is of utmost importance. We are confident that the Government of Afghanistan will continue to ensure the independence of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission according to the Afghan law and the Paris principles.
In addition, statutory safeguards such as the Elimination of Violence against Women law are required to further strengthen human rights and women’s rights in particular.
c) We encourage our Afghan partners to take decisive steps towards adopting the Mining Law as a pre-condition for investment in this important sector.
d) The Chief Justice should be appointed in accordance with the Constitution.
Germany looks forward to the 3 July Senior Officials Meeting to be held in Kabul aiming at a review of the progress made so far in implementing the mutual commitments of the TMAF. Progress on these issues ahead of the meeting is strongly encouraged.
4) We welcome the opening of the Taliban Office in Doha. This could well be a new beginning – a beginning that will take years to unfold and will no doubt experience many setbacks. And yet, we believe, there is no alternative to this path. All depends now on the willingness of all the Afghan interlocutors to engage in substantive negotiations. As in the past, Germany remains willing to lend its good offices if and when needed.
I would like to conclude by underlining that Germany will continue to support the Government of Afghanistan through transition and beyond. Our particular focus will remain on implementation of the mutual commitments deriving from the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.
Thank you, Mr. President."