Afghanistan: peace process should be resumed [fr]
The situation in Afghanistan - Speech by Ms. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 25 September 2017
"The extremely volatile security and humanitarian environment makes the unity of theAfghan Government and its perseverance in reforms more important than ever." Anne Gueguen, 26 September 2017
Allow me, first of all, to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, for his briefing and, through him, to pay tribute again
to United Nations personnel working in difficult conditions in Afghanistan. I also warmly welcome the presence of Mr. Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, and I thank him for his intervention.
France associates itself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union. I shall confine myself to four main points.
First, the continued increase in the level of violence and the resulting deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remain a major concern for France. As the report of the Secretary-General (S/2017/783) unfortunately reminds us, and as others have recalled here, the Afghan population remains the first victim of the conflict and women and children continue to pay the highest price. Afghan forces, whose commitment and courage I commend, are continuing with their operations and they have been making significant progress. However, armed confrontations and repeated terrorist attacks continue to destabilize the country as a whole. In that regard, France takes very seriously the establishment and proliferation of armed and terrorist groups in Afghanistan and in the region. France shares the determination of the Afghan authorities and our allies to fight terrorism and welcomes any decision that contributes to achieving that objective, in compliance with international law, such as the new strategy of the United States for Afghanistan and South-East Asia. In order to succeed, that counter-terrorism effort must also be supported by all countries in the region.
The humanitarian situation, which is already particularly fragile, has been aggravated by the conflict and the collapse of the economy. The massive return of refugees from Pakistan and Iran is a serious challenge for Afghan authorities. In that regard, France encourages the Government of Afghanistan to continue its efforts to ensure equal treatment of all refugees and displaced persons and welcomes the remarkable actions taken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Secondly, the extremely volatile security and humanitarian environment makes the unity of the Afghan Government and its perseverance in reforms
more important than ever. There is no alternative to Afghan cohesion and collective determination to deepen and consolidate Afghan democracy. The pursuit of ongoing reforms aimed at achieving a more effective Government that is more capable of serving the population must remain a priority. In particular,
that applies in particular to electoral reform, where progress has been made. France particularly welcomes the announcement of the holding of legislative elections on 7 July 2018. Preparations undertaken by the Independent Election Commission must continue, along with the support of the United Nations Assistance
Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in order to enable free and transparent elections as scheduled. Reforms in the fight against corruption and drug trafficking, which continue to fuel the Taliban’s insurgency, must also be pursued with determination. In terms of human rights, the situation of women and children is still very precarious. It is essential that the Afghan authorities continue to mobilize efforts to fully implement their commitments to women’s rights and the protection of children.
Thirdly, the stabilization of Afghanistan will require a negotiated political solution and national reconciliation. France hopes that the peace process
can be resumed by Afghan actors as soon as possible, with the support of countries of the region and the international community. The sincere commitment and unambiguous support for peace by all Afghanistan’s neighbours is essential. We call for renewed efforts and concrete commitments in that domain.
Against that backdrop — and this will be my fourth point — it is reassuring that we have the support of the United Nations and particularly of UNAMA, which has never been stronger. France thanks the Secretary-General and his team for their very serious work carried out in the context of UNAMA’s strategic review. We support the recommendations made in the report (S/2017/696), which should make it possible to streamline its work. The proposal to refocus the work of the Mission is particularly welcome. Such refocusing will allow it to distribute its effort across four pillars: contributing to the establishment of peace in Afghanistan; facilitating the engagement of the countries of the region, moderating and supporting the dialogue between the Government and Afghan political forces; and coordinating among international donors.
Allow me to conclude by reiterating my country’s full support for the Afghan government and the work carried out by the United Nations in Afghanistan in the
quest for lasting peace and safe and dignified lives for all people of the country.