19 December 2016 - First priority for Afghanistan : a strong and united Government [fr]
Afghanistan - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 19 December 2016
I thank you, Mr. President, for informing us of that terrible incident.
I would like to begin by warmly thanking our briefers, Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, Mr. Yury Fedotov and Ambassador Van Bohemen and Ambassador Saikal.
France associates itself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
Two years since the establishment of the Government of National Unity, it is important to underscore that progress has been made. The Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework was adopted; a road map that defines priority public policies for the years to come was developed; and our dialogue aimed at halting migration towards Europe resulted in the signing of an agreement. Those efforts must be welcomed, as they were recently at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. France reiterates its full support for the Afghan Government and encourages it to continue its efforts to develop and stabilize the country.
The Afghan forces have also made considerable progress. In that regard, I commend their commitment and courage. However, the continuing deterioration of the security situation is extremely worrying. In addition to the almost daily confrontations, new attacks by the Taliban and the Khorasan Islamic State — which is to say, Da’esh — have served to confirm the fragility of the situation since our previous debate in September (see S/PV.7771). The recent deterioration in the humanitarian situation, with the massive inflow of refugees from Pakistan and Iran, also puts the Afghan Government in a difficult position. In that context, the first priority for Afghanistan is to have a strong and united Government. That national unity is the prerequisite for dealing effectively with security, economic and development issues.
As Mr. Yamamoto said moments ago, the conflict not only prevents Afghanistan from achieving its economic potential, but it also bears an extremely high a human cost, especially for children. That is why it is urgent to relaunch discussions on a peace process led by and for the Afghan people. France calls on all actors, in particular the regional Powers, to use their influence in order to make sure that the end of hostilities and the resumption of peace negotiations become a reality. We have a collective responsibility to actively support the stabilization of Afghanistan and to contribute to the establishment of lasting peace in the country, with all the Afghan actors who have demonstrated their serious commitment.
I would like to take advantage of the presence here of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to consider for a moment the issue of combating drug trafficking. This is a subject, as members are aware, which is of great concern to France. As Mr. Fedotov said earlier, drug trafficking fuels the illicit economy, corruption and the Taliban insurgency, while also jeopardizing the health of many Afghanis. The report prepared jointly by UNODC and the Government of Afghanistan in October illustrates the notable and worrying developments, which were mentioned by Mr. Fedotov. As others mentioned before me, France is concerned by the 43 per cent increase in opium production and by the significant reduction in the eradication of the areas where the opium poppy is grown. There are enormous challenges in those areas, whether related to the security situation or to mobilizing the significant resources that those efforts require. France therefore commends the technical assistance provided by UNODC and encourages the Afghan authorities to step up their efforts aimed at reducing the production and trafficking of drugs.
United Nations support, through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), remains more essential than ever to accompany Afghanistan in the search for greater peace and stability. Let me conclude by reiterating my country’s full support to the Afghan Government and to the work of the United Nations in support of its efforts. I would also like to pay tribute to all of the UNAMA personnel for the work they are undertaking in very difficult conditions.