The international community should not cease to support Afghanistan - 21 December 2015 [fr]
Security Council - Situation in Aghanistan - Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of France to the United Nations - 21 December 2015
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his briefing. I also thank the Ambassador of Afghanistan for his first important statement to the Council.
France aligns itself with the statement that will be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
For Afghanistan, 2015 was a year of progress and many challenges. First, from a political perspective, the transition started in September 2014 and the gradual consolidation of the National Unity Government have raised the expectations of the Afghan population, neighbouring countries and the international community. The Afghan Government has shown its willingness to move forward in circumstances that are, at times, difficult. I wish to underscore my country’s support for the Afghan Government and encourage it to continue the efforts it has been making for more than a year and a half now. France also welcomes the announcement made at the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Conference in Islamabad on 7 and 8 December on the resumption of the peace and reconciliation initiatives, a process critical to the country’s national reconciliation and lasting stabilization.
On the security front, the conflict has continued to spread and the level of violence unfortunately remains high, with numerous casualties, including growing numbers of civilians. The Afghan security forces have made notable progress and have kept control over Afghanistan’s main urban centres. However, the Afghan Government and its international partners should not relax their efforts to strengthen the security forces’ capacity, because the situation remains fragile in many provinces. The Taliban’s temporary occupation of the city of Kunduz in October revealed the Afghan forces’ vulnerabilities as well as the new capacities that the insurgency has acquired.
In the area of human rights, the situation of women and children remains precarious, as was shown recently by the recent tragic stoning of the young woman named Rokhshana who had been accused of adultery. It is essential that Afghan civil society and the authorities continue to act to fully implement their national action plan on women and peace and security adopted in follow up to resolution 1325 (2000). The international community should also continue to support the Afghan authorities in implementing their commitments regarding the protection of children in armed conflict.
The fight against narcotics and the illicit economy is also among these challenges and of great concern to France. The large-scale production and export of narcotics in Afghanistan are extremely damaging to the country’s security, stability and development, since they help to finance the insurgency, destabilize the economy and weaken the Government. They create a threat to public health that affects Afghanistan first and foremost but that also extends well beyond it to affect the region and many other countries worldwide. We welcome Afghanistan’s adoption on 15 October of a national action plan against drugs for 2015 to 2019, reflecting its determination to pursue a comprehensive approach to fighting this scourge in close cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. France is committed to ensuring that the United Nations plays a greater role in addressing this major challenge, particularly in coordinating the United Nations agencies and programmes involved in the drug war.
In this difficult context, the international community should not cease its efforts to support Afghanistan in achieving greater stability, prosperity and democracy. As Afghanistan continues its political and security transition, it is more important than ever that the United Nations adapt the role it plays. Its support to the Government remains crucial, particularly in enabling the people to benefit from Government programmes and international assistance. In that regard, we emphasize the importance of the joint discussions on the changes to be desired in the support that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the United Nations can give the country. We hope they will be a useful guide in the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate in March.
In that context, France would like to emphasize its support for the proposals made in the final report of the Tripartite Review Commission regarding the establishment of a narrow mandate that confers on UNAMA strengthened powers in the areas of good offices, protecting human rights, coordinating humanitarian activities and combating the production and trafficking of narcotics. France is ready to contribute to that discussion and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan, particularly within the framework of our friendship and cooperation treaty with Afghanistan.
In conclusion, I would like to commend the efforts of all the United Nations staff in Afghanistan, who, as we know, are working in particularly difficult conditions.