Friday, October 31, 2014

Statement by Ambassador Tanin at the Global Governance and Security Council Reform

Statement by

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiation on the Security Council Reform

At the meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform


Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to begin by extending my appreciation to the Honorable Minister Frattini and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hosting this important meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform. I would also like to thank the President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Joseph Deiss, for his remarks. I also wish to express my gratitude to H.E. Mr. Cesar Ragaglini and his able staff for arranging our participation in this meeting.

I am pleased to be here among the distinguished participants of today’s meeting in my capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform. This is the second time the Italian Government has initiated an event such as this, and it is testament to the high level of importance Italy places on the issue of Security Council reform.

Mr. Chair,

Since the launch of the intergovernmental negotiations in February 2009, we have come a long way. The walls and roadblocks separating different positions have begun to be dilapidated, bringing member states into an open environment of dialogue in which negotiations can take place.

In the last three years, we have undergone six rounds of negotiations. For the first time, we have developed a negotiation text, a well-assorted ensemble of positions, which became the basis for our negotiations. This is in itself a historic achievement.

Just this year, in the General Assembly, we have together been able to come with a streamlined version of the negotiation text, which sets the stage for a new phase of negotiations that can facilitate the movement towards garnering a solution.

The text can be the jumping off point for bigger things. It can be a framework for further progress, as it gives us a clear picture of Member States’ positions and where they stand. But at this point, we need to ensure that we are all able to actively engage with the next steps.

Mr. Chair,

What we currently witness is a high level of interest by all Member States and stakeholders of the process of reform. We have seen some flexibility across the membership, and a real political will for reform, and that is how we have reached this point. But it is not enough, and that is why we do not have a solution yet.

At this juncture, all Member States must make more effort to understand each other. Everyone dedicated to the reform has a legitimate perspective. I ask Member States to put themselves in the shoes of their counterparts. Make every attempt to understand their concerns, the origins of their positions, and the reasoning behind their words and actions.  Without a deeper, mutual understanding, the process cannot continue to progress.

Now, as we are just months away from the end of the 65th session of the General Assembly, I hope we will be able to make sufficient progress as called for by Member States. I repeat as I have always said, I am impartial to any position, but partial to progress.

Mr. Chair,

There are four guiding principles that are essential to moving the Security Council reform process forward and for maintaining the integrity of the process:  flexibility, compromise, courage and transparency:

  1. Flexibility requires an exceptional level of openness in understanding of others’ positions. And a willingness to accept the “possibles” of today. Flexibility is in fact a byword for realism in our work.
  2. Compromise is, in effect, a real give and take process in negotiations, which is inherent in any negotiation and at the end of the day should ultimately take us to an agreed solution.
  3. Courage is essential, as, in fact, progress depends on brave, bold steps to be taken by Member States, both from Missions and Capitals.  It is important to employ all diplomatic multilateral and bilateral means in order to unearth an agreed model of reform.
  4. Transparency is the key; the process is only successful if it continues to be transparent, inclusive and open. The entire process of negotiations is built upon the trust of all, and this will continue to be our guiding lodestar.

Mr. Chair,

We all committed to an early reform of the Security Council and the negotiation process is urged on by that noble objective. While we cannot rush in, the process cannot wait forever. It is difficult to anticipate the exact timeframe of an outcome, but it is also important that no stone should remain unturned to bridge the gaps. In the end, undoubtedly, it is the political will of Member States that will take us to an agreement with the widest possible support. The reform is up to you. It is up to you to reach across the aisle and forge a solution.

Our process has not hit the wall, however, we have need all hands on deck to move us forward. I am sure we are not short of imagination, but it is the will of Member States that is essential.

Mr. Chair,

We are operating on the heart of the organization. One slip of the hand, and we will attenuate the patient. I am still optimistic, and for as long as I can remain helpful to the process, I will shoulder my part of the responsibility – by creating and maintaining an environment, which facilitates open negotiations on Security Council Reform.

I thank you.

Statement By H.E. Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul at The NATO-ISAF Foreign Ministers Meeting

Secretary General Rasmussen,

Excellencies, ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to begin by expressing my sincere appreciations for being invited to attend today’s important meeting.  Thank you Secretary General Rasmussen for this initiative, and for your leadership in driving NATO’s critical mission in Afghanistan.  I also thank my colleague, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, for hosting all of us today in this beautiful city of Berlin.

It is my second time to have the honour of addressing NATO in my capacity as Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, a country where you are all engaged in a truly historical effort to help build a stable and democratic country.  We Afghans value the contributions that NATO, as well as each of its individual member states, have made to this common effort, and we honour the common sacrifices that have been made.  We do realize, as I am sure you do, that together we have been through some hard times and have had to overcome difficult challenges.  However, together we have also achieved tremendous successes, and we in Afghanistan look forward to sustaining and expanding our friendship and collaboration into the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With President Hamid Karzai’s announcement of 22 March 2011, Afghanistan is now officially in the Transition process, a process that is marked by important benchmarks and crucial deadlines.  As per agreements at last year’s Lisbon Summit, as well as principles set out in the Kabul Conference, the Transition process will see the gradual transfer of lead responsibility in the security sector from NATO to Afghan Security Forces starting this summer.  At the heart of the Transition process is an Afghan determination to assume responsibility and leadership, as well as a commitment by our international partners to support this goal.  The Transition agenda is undoubtedly ambitious and it will require extraordinary effort from both Afghans and our partners in the international community to succeed.  However, in the minds of us Afghans, there is absolutely no alternative.  There is a strong, unshakable consensus among all Afghans that we must stand on our own feet and take our destiny in our own hands, and to do so sooner rather than later.

In addition to our mutual moral commitments, the success of the Transition agenda will depend on the implementation of the roadmap we have together prepared.  Thanks to some hard work done by Afghan and international entities concerned in the security effort, under the overall supervision of the Inteqal, or Transition, Commission, seven provinces and districts have been identified for the first handover phase.  These include the provinces of Panjsher, Bamiyan, and Kabul, the cities of Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Laskhkar Gah and Mehterlam.  Work is currently underway on putting in place the necessary capacity in these areas in order to ensure a smooth and successful transfer of responsibility in these and other areas.

Allow me to highlight the key steps both Afghans and our international partners must take to ensure the success of the Transition process.  To begin with, we must continue and expedite the building up and expansion of Afghanistan’s security institutions.  We must focus on the qualitative development of these institutions as well as the quantitative aspect.  Equipping these forces with the capabilities that are commensurate to the challenging tasks they will have to face is a crucial necessity.  Our army must be provided with the full range of enablers, including heavy weaponry, air and ground mobility and so on, which will help the institution become a confident, effective and self-reliant force that is capable of defending the country’s sovereignty.  Our police and intelligence services must be trained and equipped not just to counter the paramilitary threats they get to fight in many insecure corners of the country, but also to handle the tasks of civilian policing in general.  We must do all that keeping mind not just the exigencies of the current situation but also the long-term needs of a normal, stable and well functioning state.

However, we cannot succeed in the Transition process, or indeed in the fight against terrorism in general, unless we bring some urgently needed changes to our approach in the ongoing military effort.  We are facing a dangerous situation in Afghanistan and the wider region of heightened sensitivities, pent up frustration and increased radicalization which could seriously jeopardize our common efforts.

In this context, I wish to strongly reiterate the Afghan government’s continued demand for better coordination of all NATO-ISAF operations with the ANSF, as well as for an end to all operations that result in civilian casualties and damage to the lives and property of innocent Afghans. I urge General Petraeus and other NATO military leaders to continue and expand their constructive efforts in this regard.  I also wish to recognize Ambassador Mark Sedwill, the outgoing NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, for the tireless work he has put during his term in Kabul towards improving civilian-military coordination.  I look forward to working with his successor, Ambassador Sir Simon Lawrence Gass.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Recognising that Transition is not a purely military process, we in Afghanistan appreciate the growing consensus, both within Afghanistan and outside, about the need a political solution to ensure lasting peace.  I thank many of the NATO-ISAF nations that have provided strong and visionary support to an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation programme.  Since the establishment of the High Peace Council (HPC) last year, much tangible progress has taken place and a lot has been achieved both in the area of reconciliation, as well as in integration which includes programme delivery at the community level.  To date, a comprehensive outreach campaign has been launched to engage people in communities, and coordination among state institutions that are involved in the process has significantly improved.  The HPC has also engaged in a successful regional dialogue with some of the key countries in our neighbourhood whose support would be crucial for the peace process.  For this Afghan-ld peace process to succeed, a sincere, principled and sustained cooperation from the international community, including our NATO allies, will be essential.

Furthermore, we must ensure that the governance and economic development elements of our Transition strategy fall equally well into place.  The Afghan Government remains determined to fulfill its commitments under the Kabul Process, including the commitment to improve sub-national governance and improve the delivery of basic services to the populations in all areas of the country.  We are taking our commitment to ensuring transparency and the fight against corruption seriously and have taken a number of steps, since the Kabul Conference, to address these concerns.  The Afghan judiciary and the legal system are taking bolder than ever steps in apprehending corrupt elements.

To help this effort, we will need the understanding and support of our international partners.  We need your support to continue the capacity building of our institutions to be able to deliver basic services to the population.  To help enhance the capacity of government institutions, and increase public confidence, we need your cooperation towards removing the parallel structures that currently pose a challenge to the credibility of these institutions.  The continued presence of structures that may have once served a useful purpose, such as the PRTs, poses a challenge to the growth of genuine Afghan institutions at the district and provincial levels.  We propose a gradual process whereby these structures could be phased out and replaced by fully functioning Afghan institutions.  We also need your cooperation in bringing greater transparency to the contracting processes that are perceived to be a source of corrupt practice in the country.

In the area of economic cooperation, we would like the focus of our international partners over the next few years to shift towards supporting major infrastructure projects and creating real employment for the Afghan people.

You will agree that few things will inspire greater confidence in the success of our strategy than for the people to see solid, sustainable signs of investment and economic growth in their towns and villages.  While, under the Kabul Process, we pursue a comprehensive economic development strategy, we will give particular attention to investment and support in the agriculture, energy, mining and education sectors.  I urge our international partners to ensure that these priorities are taken into consideration as they plan the future economic and development assistance to Afghanistan.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Regional cooperation remains as crucial to the vision of stability and progress in Afghanistan as it always did.  Needless to argue, without sincere cooperation in fighting our common threats, and until a vision of economic integration replaces geopolitical rivalries across the region, it will be hard to achieve peace, stability and economic prosperity.  In this context, we are committed to continuing the constructive dialogue we have maintained with Pakistan in the recent years.  We also expect to engage our other neighours and countries of the region more closely in the interest of peace, security and economic cooperation.

Recognising the importance of regional economic cooperation, we are focusing on cooperation in a number of sectors that have significant economic benefit for the region as a whole, such as energy, roads and railway networks that connect Afghanistan with the region. The recent conclusion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement (APTTA), and the progress achieved towards the realization of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan–India gas pipeline (TAPI) project are milestones for increased regional cooperation.

Additionally, we have concluded feasibility study for the CASA1000 project for transfer of electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  These and other initiatives will contribute greatly to peace, security and stability of the region.

Regional cooperation will also be vital to Afghanistan’s success in the crucial fight against narcotics.

Ladies and Gentlemen, friends,

The declaration of Afghanistan-NATO Enduring Partnership signed in Lisbon last November solidifies our time-tested friendship and cooperation into a more structured partnership that will stretch beyond the end of the current mission.  We hope this partnership will further contribute to the development of our security and help guarantee the success the success of the Transition process.  From a longer-term perspective, as a young democracy and a developing nation, we look forward to benefiting from the full range of partnership services that the Alliance has to offer.  We are deeply committed to fulfilling our obligations under the Partnership and we look forward to engaging with you on further elaborating its content.

With the Transition process now in full momentum, my country Afghanistan is entering a critical stage in its recovery, stabilization and development.  In the success of the Transition process lie the fruits of our historical partnership over the past decade.  In the success of this process also lie the chances of Afghanistan’s success as a stable and democratic country – that is, the realization of the true and long-held aspirations of the Afghan people.

I am sure you agree that a sovereign Afghanistan that is secure within its borders and at peace with the outside world, an Afghanistan where terrorism will never again be able to find a safe haven, and where the prospects of regional economic integration will ever increasingly grow, will be an achievement well worth your efforts and contributions.

Thank you,

Speech of Staffan de Mistura to the UN Security Council

Mr. President, Members of the Security Council, dear Ambassador Tanin:

Today’s meeting marks almost a year since the assumption of my duties in Afghanistan and coincides with discussions over the renewal of the UNAMA mandate. It is therefore an opportune moment to reflect on the events of the last year—from the London Conference to Lisbon summit, the time horizon ahead and the UN’s activities in line with Afghan priorities.

What has tied these and the Afghanistan-based events together—the consultative Peace Jirga, the Kabul Conference, the parliamentary elections, has been the increased sense of Afghan ownership and transition to Afghan lead. And transition is clearly premised on sovereignty and the build up of government capacity to manage its own affairs. It is further grounded on the need for the Afghans to articulate and execute a political vision; A vision of a stable, sovereign, Islamic, constitutional democracy; An Afghanistan at peace with itself, its neighbors and the international community.

The Government of Afghanistan is increasingly, and legitimately, demanding to lead all aspects of governance, development, and efforts to achieve peace. In this light we welcome the recent letter from Foreign Minister Rassoul to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. And we view the upcoming review of UN support for Afghanistan as a good opportunity to streamline UNAMA’s activities and those of the UN family in a coherent effort of “delivering as one”.

The primary focus for the coming months will be on transition of security arrangements as international forces begin the gradual transition in lead responsibility for security to Afghan security forces. This is a formidable challenge of preparing the Afghan forces to shoulder an increased responsibility for military operations. Afghan security forces will be called to sustain the security gains of the past year. At the same time they will need to obtain the confidence of the Afghan people. This is despite a persistent violence and intimidation campaign by insurgents against communities across the country. Such spectacular “horror-inducing” attacks will remain the tactic of the insurgents so long as the military surge incurs its intended objectives.

We welcome transition of security, which we accompany constructively as active observers. But in order for transition be a success, it must be sustainable. And transition is only sustainable if it is linked to 3 elements: a political and development process, in particular peace and reintegration, and a substantive regional process.

It should essentially create sufficient space for dialogue among all Afghans and those who define themselves as such by taking a distance from foreign terrorist elements. And it should present itself as attractive.

Transiting provinces must get incentives and be rewarded instead of neglected and forgotten.

Secretary Clinton’s recent remarks were very clear in this regard. The military and ongoing civilian surge needs to be matched by an enhanced diplomatic surge. This call for the necessity of fostering a political process has since been echoed by Afghan and international stakeholders, most recently in Jeddah, matching a call by the Afghans for all international reconciliation endeavours to respect Afghan sovereignty.

Transitioning implies the existence of sustainable institutions at national and sub-national level to transition to. Sovereignty comes with increased responsibility and accountability. And accountability is measured by the Afghan people themselves, through build up of independent institutions and respect for the division of constitutional powers.

And the Afghans this year have made considerable progress in this regard. Two Afghan independent electoral bodies carried out their work with professionalism and improved capacity to lead on electoral preparations with the required technical assistance. The Parliament is now inaugurated.

The election of an Uzbek candidate as a leader of the Wolesi Jirga shows that Afghans can find solutions that meet various ethnic, factional and regional needs. With an executive board fully appointed the legislature has now embarked on its agenda.

The UN attaches great importance to its partnership with the Government of Afghanistan—and its institutions, to manage a successful transition process. We believe that our long experience in the country positions us to serve as a partner to the Government and the International Community to support transition. We further recognize the need for supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014 in efforts to normalize the country, guaranteeing a long-term international commitment, and an Afghan ownership backed by capacity.

Over the past year we have brought into sharper focus the priorities for the UN and the international role in aligning with the Afghan-set stepping stones. We have all the while placed emphasis in their capacity-building and ownership. And we are now positioned to assist the government and the Afghan people in key areas as long as needed and if as such requested.

These areas include: a) assisting Afghan-led efforts to find a peaceful solution and settlement to the conflict, including aspects of confidence-building; b) exercising our moral authority on the situation of human rights and protection of civilians; c) supporting Afghan-led coordination of the International Community, both at the national and provincial levels; and, d) positioning UN assistance in the regions to be of most value to Afghan government partners, in the context of the transition.

Peace, reintegration and the region

The beginning of the month witnessed the International Contact Group meeting in Jeddah, in the presence of the High Peace Council representatives. The meeting hosted at the OIC HQ demonstrated clear and symbolic commitment to the political process. But most importantly, it endorsed the HPC’s call for a Kabul-based approach to peace and reconciliation initiatives, with a support group of international and regional key players to soon meet in Kabul. This is in recognition that the instability in Afghanistan has negative impacts on the region but is also crucial for peace in the international community; both requiring the Afghans to take hold of the situation.

The meeting unwittingly further underscored the need for more predictability of the international players’ motives vis-à-vis their engagement with Afghanistan. Such a transparency would in turn facilitate the articulation of a vision by the Afghans.

On the ground in Afghanistan, UNAMA continues to facilitate the work of the HPC, at its request through the Salaam Support Group, and supports the unfolding of the APRP-led process, which continues to make progress with an odd 700 reintegrees.

Minister Stanekzai has recently requested UNAMA’s further assistance for reaching out to the provinces. Given its neutrality and humanitarian contacts the UN will also continue to reach out to all segments of Afghan society. The UN can provide legitimacy to the process by accepting to meet with those who signal they are open for dialogue.

There is no sustainable solution for peace among Afghans without the support of its neighbors and extended neighbors. And Afghanistan, the heart of Asia, enjoys long and strong historical, political, trade and cultural ties with its contiguous neighbors and across the old Silk Route extending into Eurasia.

The HPC and the Foreign Ministry, and UNAMA under its regional dialogue mandate have engaged in increased regional diplomacy. And here Turkey is the lead partner –for the Afghans and the international community—in a regional process that will lead to the Istanbul conference in the fall.

Human Rights/Humanitarian/Women Civilian casualties have been a great source of concern to the Government and people of Afghanistan. Since 2007 9,000 Afghan civilians have perished in the conflict, with the greatest annual toll of 2,777 civilian deaths recorded in 2010.

Statistics speak volumes, but each civilian death is also human and personal; and we are adamant that no loss of life is acceptable. Cumulatively, the grim statistics serve to facilitate our understanding of the negative trend. They also strengthen our commitment to influence changes in behavior by the parties to the armed conflict. We recognize that the best way to reduce civilian casualties is to end this conflict. But as long as we are witnessing a military surge, which we, by consensus, need to match with a political one, the key is to make 2011, also the year of a surge in protection of civilians.

At the same time we should be poised to react to increased conflict-induced humanitarian needs (as much as to poverty and natural disaster induced ones). Ongoing conflict affects civilians through displacement and mostly lack of access to any basic services. We are searching further for sustainable solutions to existing humanitarian needs, including for returned refugees, which constitute about 25% of the population with some 40% still in dire need of reintegration assistance.

Finally, it is important to take into account the rights, interests, and constraints of men, women, girls and boys in the political, social and economic agenda. Women’s protection centers/shelters provide a critical service for vulnerable women and girls including those facing violence and abuse.

Government efforts to regulate and set standards for women’s shelters are welcome as government monitoring and oversight of these centers is appropriate. A mix of publicly and privately run shelters may be in best interests of women and in line with international practice. The ultimate objective is to ensure that women and girls fleeing domestic violence have available safe and secure places of refuge and protection. It is equally important that they are not subject to any form of punishment including imprisonment, for running away from such violence.

Footprint

Transition, civilian transition per se, is an imperative and an opportunity. An opportunity to focus on: a critical set of development priorities, better alignment of GoA systems, and increased aid (albeit short term). It is also an opportunity to contribute to peace, a coherent approach to national priorities such as the Kabul process and APRP. An Afghan transition process will need to be both sustainable and attractive. In this context, the UN sub-national presence in Afghanistan supports the government in: coordination; governance, human rights and rule of law; support to delivery of basic social services – health, education and agriculture, and sustainable livelihoods; humanitarian action; and capacity building.

UN support of government priorities include: a) advocating for alignment of international funding to government priorities at provincial levels; b) providing technical capacity and assistance, coordinating donor efforts in support of provincial institutions; c) enhancing line ministry capacity development for delivery of essential services; d) calling for an equitable approach between provinces earmarked for transition and those not yet considered ready, and e) ensuring that transition arrangements adapt to the diversity of local needs and conditions.

Our strength and comparative advantage lies in the fact that we are diversified. 30 UN agencies funds and programmes are together with UNAMA present in all 34 provinces with spending last year amounting to USD 904.5 million. Millions of Afghans benefit from UN support to nationwide polio vaccinations and improved access to basic health services, nutritional support programmes, support to Afghans returning from other countries and increased access to education , including in areas retaken from the insurgency.

WFP reaches approximately 7.3 million vulnerable Afghans per year with more than 300,000 metric tones of food assistance. The Food for Training programme trained approximately 135,000 people mostly women (total beneficiaries at 800,000). Food for work beneficiaries were approximately 1.8 million. Food for education was provided to 1.1 million children in 5,656 schools. In addition, WFP supported more than 1.6 million people affected by conflict, man-made emergencies or natural disasters.

WHO and UNICEF support the MoPH to vaccinate 7. 5 million children under five against polio on every round of immunization campaigns. UNFPA is expanding access to the Basic Package of Health Care Services to 600,000 people living in remote areas not currently covered by health care services.

UNHCR has worked with the government to assist in the voluntary repatriation of more than 4.5 million Afghans to return home since 2002.

To date MACCA has cleared hazards in more than 2,500 communities and in 2010 alone more than 300,000 mines were cleared.

With UNDP assistance, Afghan authorities have established district development assemblies in nearly all provinces. More than 7,400 civil service positions were restructured and salary scales revised

In 2010 support was provided to the 2,600 Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan in terms of infrastructure, equipment, training and mentoring.

UNAMA has recently facilitated the deployment of a special envoy of the ICAO SG, currently in country at the request of the Afghan authorities and stakeholders. This is in order to put forward recommendations for a coordinated plan for the Afghan civil aviation, a crucial sector for a landlocked country such as Afghanistan (which impacts on humanitarian aid, capacity and economic development).

Drugs

Now turning to another threat to Afghan and international peace stability.

The narcotics issue is equally an issue that warrants a shared responsibility among international stakeholders. Progress has been made by government over the recent years. The situation however remains dire and the government needs our full support. The facts speak of a dramatic situation with addiction in Afghanistan rising fast and the treatment infrastructure falling short. Prices are soaring with dry opium, sold one year ago for an average $95/kg and today to nearly triple that amount.

The measures taken have to impact the entire chain from eradication to crop substitution, precursor chemicals and global demand reduction. Cooperation among the multilateral stakeholders (CIS, CSTO, ECO, NATO ISAF, OSCE, SCO) should be a given.

What is required is a social contract between farmer communities and aid providers. To induce political will at the sub-national and community levels, this is not to be relegated solely to alternative livelihoods. It should encompass the entire support package delivered to specific districts vulnerable to conflict and the cultivation of illicit crops. At the other end of the Social Contract, aid is to be renegotiated in case the farmer communities do not deliver their side of the agreement.

I hereby appeal to the international community to build capacity within the government of Afghanistan and its counter-narcotics bodies allowing these to cope in a decisive manner with the exceptional situation.

Conclusion,

In a crucial year such as this one it is important to sit around the same table with our Afghan and international partners to focus on the same issues, come to compatible conclusions, deliver similar messages and act towards the same objectives.

We have heard the message from the Afghan authorities loud and clear. This is a year of sovereignty and we can’t operate just as if it is business as usual. We should constantly adjust our profile and activities on the basis of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned priorities. And we look forward to working with Afghan counterparts in this respect. This is in order to assist them to go through the beginning stages of transition and also be able to incrementally sustain security and political gains beyond this immediate timeline.

The UN has partnered with the Government of Afghanistan for 60 odd years and will remain in the country to support the Afghans as long as they require its assistance. The assurance of our long-term presence remains civilian focused.

UNAMA has thus positioned itself to be supportive of the Afghan government in this period of its transition to greater responsibility. At the same time UNAMA will continue to be an advocate for the Afghan people, drawing attention to the humanitarian needs and calling on all parties to the conflict to put the safety of civilians first.