General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on the Situation in Afghanistan
(Statement as prepared for delivery by Ambassador Peter Wittig at the introduction of the General Assembly Resolution on "The Situation in Afghanistan", facilitated by Germany:)
"Mr. President, distinguished colleagues,
It is an honor for my country to introduce this year’s draft resolution on the “Situation in Afghanistan.”
Transition in the areas of security, politics and economics have progressed remarkably this past year under a strong Afghan leadership. 2014 will once again be a year marked by pivotal events such as the presidential elections in April and the termination of the International Security Assistance Force at the end of next year.
As we are approaching these watershed moments, the long-term partnership between Afghanistan and the international community is evolving. It is essential to understand, however, that redefining this very relationship should reinforce it. This is also the core message of the resolution before us today.
allow me to briefly highlight five core elements of the draft resolution.
First, transition in the area of security. On 18 June 2013, President Karzai announced the final tranche of the transition process. Afghan security forces (ANSF) are now in the lead to provide security throughout the country. Since the inception of the transition process, the Afghan National Army and Police have continuously improved their capacities. Yet, challenges remain and the achievements made so far remain fragile.
The resolution therefore underlines the international community’s resolve to support the Afghan security forces during the transition and beyond, and reiterates the commitment made at the Chicago Summit in 2012 to sustain international support for the ANSF beyond 2014.
We welcome the convening of a Loya Jirga to decide about a security agreement with the United States. This agreement will constitute a cornerstone in the architecture of international support to Afghanistan in the years to come.
The German Government has offered to continue supporting the Afghan security forces in their challenging effort to provide security for the Afghan people. And we are looking forward to working with our Afghan partners to set the legal and practical framework for this involvement in the coming months. In accordance with the Chicago Joint Summit Declaration, Germany will work towards a sound legal basis for our future cooperation, aiming at a Security Council resolution.
Secondly, the draft resolution is about the long-term commitment of the international community throughout the Transformation Decade.
This commitment declared by the Government of Afghanistan and its international partners at the Bonn Conference of 2011 and reaffirmed at the Tokyo Conference in 2012 rests firmly on the principle of mutuality.
Building on this unique framework, the international community has pledged 16 billion US dollars through 2015 in support of the economic and political stabilization of Afghanistan. And it has committed itself to sustain its support at or near levels of the past decade through 2017, in line with the principles of aid effectiveness. The Afghan Government, in return, has committed itself to achieving its governance and development goals in a determined manner.
During the past decade, Afghanistan has, indeed, achieved remarkable progress in a variety of areas, including health, education and infrastructure. However, continued efforts are of paramount importance to protect and advance the gains made in past years. In this context I welcome the resolve of the Government of Afghanistan to fulfil its commitments within an accelerated timeframe.
Third, the draft resolution expresses our appreciation about recent progress made in the preparation of presidential and provincial council elections. We particularly welcome the adoption of a legislative framework and the appointment of new members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC). A broad range of political leaders have announced their candidacy to run in these historic elections. It is key that the exemplary work of the Afghan authorities results in a legitimate outcome and that widely accepted election results yield a peaceful transfer of power.
The electoral process is just one example of empowerment and leadership of Afghan institutions. We expect to see similar ownership and dedication by the Government in maintaining the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission as an effective institution for the protection and promotion of human rights. As reflected in the resolution, preserving and consolidating gains in the protection and promotion of human rights and the equal participation of all members of society, especially women, in all spheres of Afghan life remains critical.
Fourth, the draft resolution reiterates the importance of the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. For this process to yield sustainable results it needs to be inclusive. In this context, respect for the Afghan Constitution and its human rights provisions -and the rights of women in particular- is essential. The resolution expresses appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan in advancing this process and reaffirms the continued support of the international community in this regard.
Finally, the Heart of Asia Process, aiming to enhance regional cooperation and dialogue, is another pillar for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. We call on all partners and supporters to accelerate implementation of the agreed confidence building measures in the coming months. We commend China for hosting the next Ministerial meeting of the Heart of Asia process in 2014 and are looking forward to the process gaining renewed momentum.
To conclude, I would like to express my gratitude to all delegations who participated in this year’s informal consultations and in particular to my distinguished colleague, Ambassador Tanin, and his team for their dedication and close cooperation.
By adopting this resolution once again by consensus, today, the General Assembly will reaffirm its commitment to a prosperous and peaceful future of Afghanistan and send a strong message of support to the Afghan Government and people.
Thank you very much."