Statement by Ambassador Thoms in the Debate of the 71st General Assembly on Afghanistan
Germany aligns itself with the statement that will be delivered by the European Union later during this debate.
Let me start by expressing our gratitude to all member states for their constructive cooperation in preparing this year’s resolution on the situation in Afghanistan for the General Assembly. The resolution remains a vivid expression of support for Afghanistan and its people by the entire membership of the United Nations.
For the first time in years we managed to considerably streamline the text, restructure some chapters and add others. We now have a resolution that reflects the relations of the international community with Afghanistan in a more concise yet comprehensive way.
The greatest concern expressed in the resolution refers to the still difficult security situation in Afghanistan. We deeply deplore the high number of civilian lives lost due to cowardly terrorist acts and incessant fighting. The recent attack on the German Consulate in Masar-e-Sharif is but one of many in a long list of incidents. Our thoughts are with those who perished and were injured in this horrific attack. I would like to take this opportunity to explicitly thank our NATO Partners and the Afghan Security Forces for the courageous help they provided to fend off the terrorist attackers and protect our staff.
In this context I would like to welcome the outcome of the Warsaw NATO Summit, where important contributions and further training for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces were pledged.
This year we introduced a new chapter on refugees to the resolution in order to highlight this important humanitarian problem. Over 800.000 Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan from neighbouring countries during the course of this year. This poses a great challenge for the Afghan government and the receiving communities. I would like to commend the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for their assistance to the returning refugees and call upon all member states to support the Government of Afghanistan in its efforts towards a sustainable reintegration of those returning refugees.
At the same time many Afghans are still arriving in Europe -- young, educated citizens who are badly needed for the reconstruction and the economic development of Afghanistan. Halting and reversing this trend is in the interest of all of us, but especially of Afghanistan itself. The Afghan government has to provide its population with the prospect of a future in their own country.
We therefore strongly encourage the Government of Afghanistan to make further progress on its reform agenda. At the Afghanistan Conference in October in Brussels the international community has demonstrated its support – politically and financially – in an unparalleled way. Now it is up to the Afghan Government to do its part.
The implementation of political and economic reforms, as well as the fight against corruption, is of crucial importance. We welcome in this respect the establishment of the High Council on the Rule of Law and the Anticorruption Justice Centre and look forward to them becoming fully operational.
Moreover, 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.
I also took note that the list of regional development and cooperation initiatives and projects mentioned in this year’s resolution has increased substantially. Germany encourages greater regional cooperation whole heartedly. We sincerely hope that regional states and organizations will assume greater responsibility in our joint efforts to support Afghanistan in the future. This also applies to an Afghan peace and reconciliation process which remains the only way to long term stability in Afghanistan.
In closing, Mr. President, let me assure you that Germany will remain committed to supporting Afghanistan. We will continue our financial assistance and our support for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in the years ahead in line with our Brussels and Warsaw commitments.