Afghanistan: For lasting peace through elections & fight against terrorism [fr]
Statement by Mrs Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 10 September 2019
Allow me first to extend France’s condolences to the Afghan people and the families of the victims of the attacks perpetrated on 2 and 5 September in Kabul. France stands in solidarity with the Afghan Government in the fight against terrorism. That is a joint commitment of which we are all particularly aware on the eve of the eighteenth anniversary of the attacks of 11 September 2001. I, too, thank Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto for his insightful briefing, in particular with regard to the need to protect civilians and to work for a political settlement to the conflict through an intra-Afghan negotiation process. I also thank Ambassador Djani and Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for their interventions. I especially welcome the statement made by Ambassador Adela Raz, in particular her support for the rights of Afghan women.
I associate myself with the statement to be delivered shortly by the observer of the European Union. I would like to focus on three main points.
First, France shares the deep concern over the continuing high level of violence in Afghanistan. Civilians continue to be targeted in deadly attacks in violation of international humanitarian law. Women and children continue to pay the highest price. That is unacceptable. Violations of international law, particularly regarding children’s rights, must stop.
France welcomes all steps by the Afghan Government to work to that end and to strengthen measures to ensure the rights of Afghan women in all areas.
I also wish to express France’s support for the Secretary-General’s call for secure and unhindered humanitarian access to all Afghan territory. Humanitarian and health-care personnel, as well as civilian and humanitarian infrastructure, must be protected in order to ensure that the needs of the Afghan population are met.
I would also like to take advantage of Mr. Fedotov’s presence today to highlight the importance of the fight against drug trafficking, which continues to fuel the illicit economy, finance terrorist groups and threaten the health of many Afghans. Efforts to combat drug trafficking must continue, and France remains fully committed to working with the Afghan authorities in that regard.
My second point concerns the need to make every effort to ensure that the presidential elections slated for 28 September are held without incident in a free, credible, transparent and inclusive manner. As the Special Representative stressed clearly, it is critical to avoid a new surge of violence as elections approach.
The registration of more than 500,000 new voters, 36 per cent of whom are women, is an encouraging sign. However, all necessary measures must be taken to ensure their effective and safe participation in political life.
Further efforts must be made by the Afghan authorities to restore public confidence in the security and transparency of the elections. In that regard, France welcomes the important work of the Afghan Government to secure polling stations with the assistance of the NATO mission, which must be completed. The future president of Afghanistan will be responsible for meeting the Afghan people’s aspirations for peace. It is particularly important that the upcoming elections be held successfully in order to strengthen their legitimacy with a view to future intra-Afghan negotiations.
Finally, I would like to stress the need to work towards a negotiated and lasting peace in Afghanistan. The concept of an Afghan-led peace process is more relevant than ever. Such a process must be inclusive and not exclude any segment of the population. The gains made in the field of justice, the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms must also be consolidated in order to guarantee lasting peace. That will require condemning and abandoning violence.
To that end, the resolute commitment of Afghanistan’s partners is essential. France, with long-standing ties to Afghanistan, will do its part and urges all countries of the region to actively and unambiguously support the stabilization of Afghanistan and to contribute to the establishment of lasting peace in that country.
In conclusion, let me reiterate my country’s full support for the Afghan Government and for the Organization’s efforts to achieve lasting peace for all Afghans. As we are now discussing the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate, I would like to acknowledge the remarkable work that the Mission does on a daily basis. In order to continue playing a vital role and to support Afghanistan on the path to peace, UNAMA must be able to rely on a robust and clear mandate and the support of the Security Council. In that regard, France welcomes the efforts made by Germany and Indonesia and expresses to them its full support in the achievement of a balanced text.