The international community’s support for Afghanistan is essential [fr]
Situation in Afghanistan - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 14 September 2016
I thank you, Mr. Minister, for your personal participation today and for your commitment on this issue of such great importance to the Security Council. Let me begin by thanking Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, whom I welcome as the new Special Representative. I think he is quite familiar with Afghanistan, and I wish him every success in his new duties. Finally, I would like to thank Ambassador Saikal for his briefing.
I, too, align myself in advance with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union a little later.
First of all, as we coming up to the second anniversary of the National Unity Government, it is important to note the significant progress made by the Afghan Government since September 2014. France reiterates its full support for the Afghan Government and encourages it to step up its efforts in favour of the development and stabilization of the country.
However, on the eve of the Brussels Conference, the international community’s support for Afghanistan as it pursues this transition is essential. The role played by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in that respect is of course central. I wish to pay tribute to the work undertaken by all United Nations personnel in Afghanistan over the past 15 years. France is gratified by the fact that the Council has been able, through the presidential statement that we have just adopted (S/PRST/2016/14), to reiterate that message of solidarity and support in a context that remains quite fragile.
Next, and we regularly refer to this point in the Council, it must be emphasized that the challenges that Afghanistan faces every day remain quite daunting. As the Secretary-General indicates in his report (S/2016/768), despite considerable progress achieved by Afghan forces, to which I wish to pay tribute for their commitment and courage, the ongoing deterioration of the security situation is extremely worrying. The recent attacks attributed to the Taliban as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Province, or Da’esh, show that the situation remains fragile. France condemns those acts of terrorism in the strongest possible terms, and I would like, on behalf of France, to again express our condolences for those tragedies.
There are a number of difficulties in the economic area. The unlawful economy, corruption and the production and trafficking of drugs must be actively fought, for they are all obstacles to the sustainable re-establishment of security and development of Afghanistan. The development of economic trade with countries of the region and the international community should be encouraged. As Mr. Yamamoto told me earlier, this fragile context makes maintaining the unity of the Afghan Government all the more essential if the challenges are to be met. We call on the Afghan authorities to work to that end.
Finally, the concept of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process remains more valid than ever, as no peace process can be imposed from the outside. Increased pressure must be exerted on the Taliban by those who possess any influence on them to provide every possible opportunity for a political settlement.
It is important that Afghanistan work closely with its partners in the region on a road map for a sustainable peace. France also calls on all countries in the region to actively and unambiguously support the stabilization of Afghanistan and to contribute positively to the restoration of lasting peace in the country.
The support of the United Nations, particularly through UNAMA, is crucial today, at a time when the flow of refugees who have been expelled from Pakistan is fraught with the risk of bringing the Government and the people of Afghanistan face to face with a very difficult humanitarian situation in the short term, and with reintegration issues in the longer term.
The NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July reaffirmed international support for security in Afghanistan for the next few years. The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, to be held on October 5, should reaffirm ongoing international support for development, within the framework of mutual commitments.
In conclusion, allow me to reiterate my country’s full support for the Afghan Government and for the actions undertaken by the United Nations in support of its efforts.