Afghanistan: the peace process must be inclusive [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 17 December 2018
Allow me, first of all, to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his very useful briefing, in particular on peace efforts and the electoral process. I would also like to thank the Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for his briefing on the fight against narcotics in Afghanistan, a very important subject for France. I thank Ambassador Umarov for his briefing on the latest activities of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011), a sanctions regime whose effective implementation is of major importance in the context of ongoing peace efforts. Finally, allow me to express my special thanks to Ms. Ghizaal Haress for her insight into the current elections and institutional issues and the crucial importance of the political participation of women and young people. I will make three observations.
My first point involves elections. The holding of parliamentary elections in October illustrated the progress made in recent years. The elections, in which women took a large part, which is to be welcomed, showed the desire for peace of the Afghan people, who mobilized courageously, despite the threats and attacks. With a view to the 2019 presidential elections, the consolidation of a free, credible and transparent electoral process must continue. The weaknesses identified during the parliamentary elections must be corrected. In particular, the Independent Election Commission must continue to work to ensure the widest possible participation of the population in the elections and to create the conditions for a fair, free and transparent election. Indeed, it is trust in credible institutions and legitimate representatives that guarantees peace. France is very committed to ensuring that the European Union continues to support these efforts, as well as the United Nations and NATO, in order to help Afghan forces prevent and combat terrorism and all forms of violence, the objective of which is to prevent the Afghan people from expressing their free sovereign will.
My second point is about peace efforts. The seriousness of the security situation and the human cost of the conflict should encourage renewed efforts to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan. The peace process must be inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-led, and must take the form of a negotiated peace with the Taliban, with a view to achieving lasting stability. This requires both sides to express acceptable and necessary conditions for an integrated exercise of power within the institutional framework provided for by the Constitution.
Progress has been made, thanks in particular to the initiative of President Ghani, who recently proposed a road map. These gestures deserve to be commended, and France reiterates its call to the Taliban to respond to the peace offer on the table. It is also important that women and young people can participate in a direct and meaningful way. Finally, it is essential that all States in the region unambiguously support the process and that the international community’s efforts be both concerted and not in competition with one another.
My third point relates to the fight against drugs. The decrease seen this year is only temporary. We remain concerned about the high levels of poppy cultivation and opium production in Afghanistan. The continued drug trafficking fuels the Taliban insurgency and terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Province. It is also a public health issue. Poppy cultivation and drug trafficking in the country threaten the lives of thousands of Afghans. We are aware of the magnitude of the task and the need for a collective approach in the context of the principle of shared responsibility. We count on the Afghan Government to continue the important efforts needed to curb the production and trafficking of drugs, with the support of UNODC and the international community, particularly as part of the Paris Pact initiative. The situation calls for an ambitious response and reforms in the areas of governance and the fight against corruption and organized crime.
In conclusion, allow me to thank the delegation of the Netherlands for its significant efforts and its clear and coherent stance on the Afghan issue during this year. We would also like to reaffirm France’s full support for Afghanistan in this pivotal period and for the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in support of the Afghan authorities. Finally, I would like to reiterate the importance that France attaches to the unity of the international community in support of Afghanistan. More than ever, we must remain united to support Afghanistan’s path to peace, stability, democracy and economic and social development. Together with the international community, we reaffirmed that message of unity at the Geneva conference on 28 November, and we must now live up to it.