Thursday, October 23, 2014

Statement by President Karzai at NATO Summit in Lisbon

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

H.E. Secretary General NATO

H.E. Secretary General United Nations

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to thank the Government of Portugal and the citizens of Lisbon for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to us all.

It is a privilege to address this Summit at a time when NATO is transforming the Alliance to meet the global security challenges of the 21st Century.  A transformed NATO will be an enduring partner to an Afghan state committed to assuming leadership for its own security and development.

Al Qaeda’s attack in New York and subsequent terrorist attacks around the world made us realize that terrorism is a continuous threat to our collective security. Afghanistan and NATO share common interests and objectives in eliminating this menace.

Nine years ago, the people of Afghanistan joined the United States and our coalition allies to fight international terrorism.  We have come a long way in this shared journey.  I want to express the gratitude of the Afghan people for the valuable role NATO has played, especially the sacrifices of your young men and women, in helping us recover from decades of destruction and terror.

The Afghan people take pride in our sovereignty. Expressing our national consensus I made a commitment a year ago to assume leadership for security in our country by 2014. An effective transition will reduce your burdens and increase the trust of our people in our partnership. Together, we have established a strong foundation, and we now have an agreed upon process to make the transition irreversible and sustainable. President Obama’s principled decision, as supported by your governments, to commit adequate forces and resources to disrupt and defeat Al Qaeda has paved the way for success.  In close partnership with General Petraeus and Ambassador Sedwell we are making progress towards our common objective.

The maturity of our partnership allows us to discuss difficult issues and find agreement. We are in dialogue with ISAF on issues of serious concern to the Afghan people, in particular: civilian causalities, detentions, lawless behavior by some security companies and, at times, the NATO’s posture.   We need the space to discuss these issues and resolve them in a spirit of collaboration and teamwork. The sustainable solution to these issues will, of course, come from the realization of our common objective of replacing international forces with Afghan security forces.

Excellencies,

At a time when your own citizens face economic hardship, we are grateful for your support in helping us build strong and stable institutions. As your citizens are making great sacrifices, we understand their questions regarding our capacity to deal with poor governance and corruption.  The Afghan people also share these concerns. Therefore, today, I reaffirm our resolve to work with you to promote good governance and rule of law, keys to the satisfaction of our people’s quest for peace and prosperity.

Our vision is to consolidate the institutions of an effective state bound by rule of law and capable of fulfilling its duties to its citizens and serving as a respected anchor for regional stability. These institutions will consolidate a democratic order with which Afghan citizens can identify and which they can own and defend.

While fighting terrorism is the main focus of your actions in my country, the Afghan people’s focus today, after three decades of war and violence, is peace and tranquility.   The Afghans need and want a just peace as much as your people want security.

I take this opportunity to thank you for supporting the Afghan peace initiatives, particularly the Consultative Peace Jirga and the establishment of the High Peace Council.

Excellencies,

As we look to establishing an enduring long-term partnership between Afghanistan and NATO, we must commit to reinforcing each other’s capabilities; pursuing shared strategies; adapting and overcoming differences in cultures of defense, diplomacy and development; aligning means to ends; and ensuring more efficient resource utilization, transparency and accountability.

In this regard, we look forward to our international partners fulfilling their commitments of the London and Kabul Conferences to channel 50% of resources through the Afghan government and to aligning the use of all resources around Afghan priorities.

Constitutionally, our State is unitary, so we ask that the resources your governments contribute to our common effort be provided in a manner that strengthens Afghan government, reinforces our sovereignty, and advances the success of our State.

We appreciate NATO’s comprehensive approach in Afghanistan, where the campaign against terrorism goes hand in hand with development assistance. However, parallel aid systems raise significant issues of accountability and efficiency, whereas national programs can build institutions and allow for public participation. We therefore ask our partners to join us in expanding existing national programs and in designing new ones. We must particularly work together to ensure that provincial transitions are guided by a coherent national approach. Our security institutions are still modestly equipped. Ensuring enablers and trainers for our police and armed forces is therefore essential to the success of transition.

We have long been concerned about the unintended adverse consequences of international contracts on our economy, politics and society.  We welcome the review of NATO contracts and commitment to the policy of “Afghan First”.  Giving preference to the Afghan private sector will have major positive effect in harnessing the market as a force of stability.  Providing Afghanistan with market access to ISAF/NATO countries can also boost peace and prosperity. As the transition succeeds, reinvesting the dividend into the creation of opportunity for Afghan citizens will be welcome.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Having spoken to the question of Afghan expectations of our NATO partners, I wish to reaffirm my Government’s commitments to fulfill its responsibilities to provide the Afghan people with security, rule of law and opportunity to develop their potentials. In this context, we will ensure and expand the gains made by Afghan women

Our people have made us keenly aware of the need for reforming state institutions. We are therefore committed to a holistic approach to reform. We will fight corruption as it undermines public trust in government institutions.

We are fully aware that our quest for peace and stability depends on regional cooperation. We therefore ask our allies to build regional confidence in the war against terror. We need your active engagement to promote a security and development framework for regional cooperation that will allow for mutual peace, prosperity and security.

Having articulated and committed to our common goals, we must create and implement relevant milestones. To review our progress on transition towards 2014 and broaden the scope of trade and development activities with our partners, the Afghan government proposes to host a meeting in November 2011 in Bonn, Germany and hopes that the government of Federal Republic of Germany will, as always, graciously make its facilities available.

Excellencies,

Peace and tolerance are the highest values of Islam, and the people of Afghanistan, who played a critical role in the formation of Islamic civilization, are among the heirs of that proud legacy. Over a billion Muslims, not Al Qaeda, speak and embody the values of our tolerant civilization. Islamophoebia, a spreading disease, has no place in our globalised world, and does not serve your interest or our partnership.  It is the cooperation of civilizations, not their clash that is the true pathway to the future. A sovereign Afghanistan, capable of ensuring the security and well-being of its citizens, able to contain and eliminate the threat of terrorism and serve as an anchor of regional stability, is essential to global peace and security. This worthy goal will give us the energy to endure, and the determination to overcome the obstacles we face.

Thank you.