Afghanistan - Security remains the main challenge (12/18/2014)
Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations – Security Council – 18 December 2014
I too would like to begin by thanking Mr. Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Mr. Yuri Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), for their presentations. I also thank the Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan for the statement he has just made, and associate myself in advance with the statement to be delivered by the observer of the European Union.
As the Secretary-General’s report (S/2014/876) emphasizes, Afghanistan has entered a decisive phase in its history. After a period of intense electoral activity, we can only applaud the success of the first democratic transition in the country’s history. I too hope that President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah can quickly come to an agreement on forming a National Unity Government. The establishment of a new team will be crucial to achieving the reforms the country needs, and we took note of the priorities Ambassador Tanin just described — combating corruption, good governance and the promotion of economic and financial stability, in particular. This is encouraging, on the ground. In that regard, we would welcome the involvement of UNAMA, which gave the Afghan authorities exemplary support in order to enable it to bring the electoral process to a definitive conclusion.
On the political front, we would like to welcome the very encouraging recent developments. However, that should not let us forget that many challenges remain during a transition period marked by changes in the international community’s support for Afghanistan. The main challenge is, of course, security. The insurgents are trying to make Afghans and their partners doubt the progress that has been achieved. The terrible attacks of the past few weeks are a disgusting attempt to destabilize the process under way. Like some previous speakers, I have in mind in particular the 11 December attack on the French cultural centre in Kabul, which targeted a place of culture and creativity well known to and much appreciated by Afghansm. But we believe that Afghanistan is on the right track and that nothing can undermine the positive developments the country has seen. We will not renounce the values for which we fought alongside the Afghans for more than 10 years, and I am thinking in particular of the place and rights of women in Afghan society, as the representatives of Luxembourg and Jordan just emphasized.
In the context of security, featuring an insurgency that remains resilient, it is vital that regional partners continue to support Afghanistan. In that regard, we welcomed the recent Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in the framework of the Istanbul Process, held in Beijing in October, as a springboard for encouraging further regional cooperation on Afghanistan. The London Conference in early December also sent a very positive signal by enabling the new National Unity Government to present its economic programme and its reform plans, to which the international community has decided to give firm support. The support of the Alliance partners is evolving along with Afghanistan. Starting in 2015, NATO’s advisory, training and assistance Resolute Support Mission that the Security Council recently welcomed in resolution 2189 (2014), will be present in order to continue to train Afghan forces.
I would like to conclude by raising a key challenge, namely, the fight against drug trafficking. We are particularly concerned by the continuing rise in opium production, as confirmed by the latest report of the Secretary-General and highlighted earlier by Mr. Yuri Fedotov in his briefing. This trend must be reversed. We encourage the Afghan authorities to implement all the means necessary to combat drug production and trafficking, which represents a major threat to stability in Afghanistan, public health and development. We must not allow an illegal economy to prosper at the expense of the country’s development.
We believe that UNAMA should play a major role in leading and coordinating the dialogue with the Afghan authorities on this topic of importance to the country’s future. We are convinced that all United Nations entities involved in Afghanistan must consider the fight against drugs in designing and conducting their respective actions to ensure the necessary synergy in fighting that scourge in all its aspects. We particularly commend the actions of UNODC in that context.
Finally, I likewise wish to pay tribute to Mr. Kubiš for his work and commitment and to all UNAMA personnel working in what are well recognized as difficult conditions. The United Nations and UNAMA will play a major role in Afghanistan in the coming years on the front line of the commitment of the international community. Mr. Haysom can be assured of our continuing full support in his future work.