Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen at the Plenary of the General Assembly introducing the resolution "The Situation in Afghanistan”
Chief Executive Abdullah,
Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,
It is my great pleasure to introduce the resolution entitled “The Situation in Afghanistan.” This resolution has a long history. It was first adopted in 1980 and has been re-introduced every year since then, mirroring the dynamics of the conflict and the enduring international endeavor to help restore peace and stability and end the long suffering of the Afghan people. Since 2002, Germany has served as facilitator of this resolution. Last year, for the first time, we considerably revised the text to accurately and comprehensively reflect the relations between the international community and Afghanistan.
In light of this achievement, our goal for this year was to update last year’s text and carry it into the future. Negotiations proved to be particularly difficult this year, however. Positions presented by member states continued to diverge on a few points until the very end of consultations. For this reason, we decided to present a “chair’s proposal” which reflects the positions communicated to us to the maximum extent possible. We are confident that the text before you now represents our aggregated and joint views and can therefore be adopted by consensus.
I am happy to say that in the discussions following the tabling of the resolution we still managed to reach an agreement which was endorsed by all of you by silence procedure.
As a result of these conversations, I would like to ask you in my capacity as facilitator for this resolution to add the word “dialogue” after the word “Moscow” in operational paragraph 22.
In addition I would like to make a technical revision to the text. In the 56th operational paragraph the word “must” should be replaced with the word “shall”. This change corrects a technical error that occurred during the editing process. It brings the text back into line with what was agreed to by Member States.
In this context I would like to remind everyone that this resolution remains first and foremost an important expression of support for Afghanistan and its people by the entire membership of the United Nations. I would like to thank all the delegations which have demonstrated great flexibility to maintain this unified show of support.
Turning to the substance of the resolution, our preeminent concern remains the fragile security situation in Afghanistan. As illegal armed groups have been unable to make significant advances on the battlefield this year, they have instead increased high-profile attacks which have taken a heavy toll on innocent civilians. We condemn the terrible suicide attack in front of the German Embassy in Kabul on 31 May which claimed scores of civilian lives and also condemn the series of despicable attacks on Shia mosques which seek to cause division along social, ethnic and religious lines within Afghan society. We call on all Afghan citizens to not give in to such provocations but to stand united in the face of terrorist threats.
Your Excellency Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah, I would like to take this opportunity to convey our deep felt condolences for the Afghan lives lost to terrorism and violence over the last year.
We also pay tribute to the patriotism and sacrifices of the Afghan Security Forces. Together with our international partners, Germany will continue to support them through NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in their efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. In this regard, we welcome the enduring commitment and conditions-based approach expressed in the new Afghanistan strategies of the European Union and the United States.
There can be no improvement in Afghanistan without supporting the security sector. But this support is only viable if matched by and connected to continued support to civilian development and stabilization as well as diplomatic efforts aimed at a political solution.
An inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process involving the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban is the only pathway towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict. We therefore welcome the Strategic Plan for Peace and Reconciliation presented by the High Peace Council of Afghanistan and the initiation of the Kabul Process on 6 June 2017 with the objective of ensuring unified and close coordination of efforts under the leadership and ownership of the Afghan government. On behalf of the international community, this resolution also reiterates the call on the parties to the conflict, in particular the Taliban, to recognize their responsibility for peace and to enter into direct talks without preconditions.
We welcome the announcement to hold parliamentary elections next year. The timetable remains ambitious, and we call on the Afghan government to accelerate their efforts to create the necessary conditions for a transparent, credible and inclusive electoral process as a pre-condition to strengthening the trust of the Afghan people in democratic institutions.
We commend the government of Afghanistan for the progress in their reform agenda presented at the Senior Official’s Meeting in Kabul on 4/5 October. However, many challenges still remain. Especially the fight against corruption continues to be of crucial importance. We encourage the government of Afghanistan to continue its efforts in this regard and to implement the announced political and economic reforms.
Germany remains committed to supporting Afghanistan – in close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan and our international partners.
Germany aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union later in this debate.
Thank you, Mr. President.