France reiterates its full support for the Afghan government [fr]
Afghanistan - Statement by mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 10 March 2017
Allow me at the outset to reiterate France’s condolences to the Afghan people and to the families of the victims of the attack committed 8 March in Kabul. France categorically condemns these acts, which seek to hinder Afghanistan’s recovery and whose perpetrators must not go unpunished.
Allow me also warmly to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Tadamichi Yamamoto, and Ms. Sima Samar, for being with us today and for their briefings. France aligns itself in advance with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
1/ The National Unity Government is in the third year of its mandate, and its commitment and its efforts to ensure a democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan must be welcomed. The Brussels conference in October 2016 showed once again its determination to move forward with reforms, but also was a reminder that the international community was still standing by Afghanistan. France reiterates its full support to the Government of Afghanistan and encourages it to continue its efforts to promote the development and stabilization of the country.
2/ Unfortunately, the continued deterioration of the security situation is extremely troubling, as reflected in the sad list of civilian casualties for 2016. Despite the brave efforts of the Afghan security forces with the support of international partners, attacks by the Taliban and Da’esh continue to unremittingly target the civilian population. On top of this already overwhelming human cost is another cost, which is the way in which the situation of insecurity weighs on the economic development of the country and its progress towards stability. We must not falter in our efforts to combat this violence and to protect civilians, especially women and children, as my Swedish colleague pointed out.
3/ With respect to the security situation, it is all the more urgent that we relaunch our efforts for a peace process led by and for Afghans. The resumption of dialogue with the Taliban remains a crucial prospect. France therefore calls on all regional actors, in particular Pakistan, to use their influence to enable an end to the fighting and a resumption of peace negotiations. The establishment of a lasting peace in the country is our collective responsibility as well as that of all Afghan actors.
4/ I turn now to the issue of drug trafficking, which has been fuelling the Taliban insurgency. It poses a threat to the health of the Afghan population and must continue to mobilize the Afghan Government. Here too, the Government can rely on the support of the international community in the implementation of its national plan of action, including through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which is providing valuable technical cooperation. A high level of ambition must at all costs be maintained on this subject as well as in combating corruption, since both are critical to bringing about positive changes in the field of development and security.
5/ Finally, the spike in 2016 in the number of internally displaced persons and refugees also poses a major challenge. As noted in the Secretary-General’s report , the Afghan Government has committed to absorbing this flow as best it can. We therefore commend and encourage the coordination planned with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to respond to this migratory crisis, in particular to provide assistance to undocumented refugees, who are the most vulnerable group.
There is a still a long way to go in the transformation decade, but the course charted by the Afghan Government is the right one, as reflected in preparations for electoral reform and parliamentary elections. On this issue as well as on others, Afghanistan can rely on the full support of France and the international community. Renewing UNAMA’s mandate, which is due in the coming days, will be further proof of this. In this still-fragile context, the full commitment of the United Nations in support of the Afghan Government is of crucial importance.
Let me conclude by commending the work done on the ground by all United Nations personnel in Afghanistan, who are dealing with particularly difficult conditions, and we pay tribute to them all through the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.