Sunday, December 21, 2014

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.

Report of the Secretary General on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan At the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

Statement by Mr. Mohammad Erfani Ayoob

Deputy Permanent Representative,Charge d’ Affaires of Afghanistan to the United Nations

On the report of the Secretary General on children and armed conflict in Afghanistan

At the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict


Mr. Chairman,

Members of the Working Group,

Let me thank you for convening today’s meeting and inviting my delegation to discuss the report of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict in Afghanistan.

I thank the Secretary General and the Security Council Working Group, for their efforts to report cases of violations of children’s rights and to monitor the implementation of Resolution 1612 in countries affected by conflict.

We strongly believe in the vital role of the Security Council in protecting the rights of Children during armed conflict. The Government of Afghanistan is committed to implement all relevant   Security Council Resolutions concerning the protection of children, including 1612.

I welcome Mrs. Radhika Coomaraswamy the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict who is among us, and thank her for her insightful briefing on her recent visit to Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

Every child in every country has a dream for a brighter future and as well as a common ambition to achieve their goals. Today’s children are our future generation and they deserve our best care and protection. Unfortunately, the 3 decade old war and conflict in Afghanistan destroyed our infrastructure, damaged our values and deprived our people from their basic rights including: education, health, and social – economic wellbeing. As a result, our children have become the primary victims of these conflicts.

For the last 10 years, despite facing many challenges, the Government of Afghanistan with its partners in the International community, has made significant progress in promoting and safeguarding the rights of children in all areas, including education, health and other key areas

Afghanistan is proud to have ratified human rights related conventions and protocols including, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols; adopted the National Strategy on Children at Risk to prevent violence and exploitation of children; participated in Paris process “Free Children from War.”  Further, we support the establishment of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) based on the Security Council resolution 1612, and have joined the Convention on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour of the ILO.  Additionally, we are a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Mr. Chairman

Nevertheless, despite our efforts to improve security, terrorism remains a serious threat in the daily lives of our people, particularly our younger generation.  Children remain the prime victims of terrorism in Afghanistan.

As part of their intimidation campaign, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and their allies, commit crimes through recruiting and training children across Afghanistan’s border and exploiting them as combatants in our country . They urge children to operate as suicide bombers, attack female teachers and girl students, burn schools, attack civilians and international workers. Their very presence creates an environment where humanitarian aid is unable to access those who most desperately need it.

It is the Taliban and other terrorists groups that remain the main violators of our people’s human rights, including children’s rights in Afghanistan. Therefore, it is our duty to concentrate our common efforts in finding ways and means to protect Afghan children from the atrocities perpetrated by the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups.

Additionally, for a successful implementation of 1612 in Afghanistan, it is essential to recognize and address the overriding socio-economic and political challenges in Afghanistan and in the region.

Mr Chairman

We are strongly committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of our children and it is our responsibility to provide them opportunities  for education;  combating violence, prosecute those who commit crimes against children and guarantee economic and social opportunities .The Government of Afghanistan with the continued support by our international partners will spare no effort to improve the plight of our children,  through implementing our  Millennium Development Goals; National Development Strategy (ANDS); and our National Priority Programs adopted during Kabul Conference (2010).

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation appreciates the efforts lent to the publication of the Secretary General on the issue of Children and Armed Conflict in Afghanistan and have studied it closely.

This second country-specific report on Afghanistan is a comprehensive one which illustrates great improvement since the first report. However it also highlights that, unfortunately due to continued terrorist attacks by Taliban, Al Qaeda and other anti government elements, the grave violence against children and civilian casualties have increased during reporting period.

We appreciate the concerns of International Community toward the plight of Afghan Children and welcome the recommendation contained at the end of this report.  I would like to make the following comments on this report:

My delegation has a well reasoned reservation with the terminology of “all parties to the conflict” by the use of this terminology it has unjustly placed the ANSF on the same line with terrorist groups. We stress to all present today that there needs to be a clear differentiation between the Government of Afghanistan and International security forces  from the terrorist and Anti-governmental elements.

We hold concerns that the report should not rely on isolated cases. Isolated cases cannot constitute a solid basis and must not identify the Government of Afghanistan as a violator of children’s rights.

Afghanistan has taken numerous measures to prevent child recruitment in our national security forces, and punish those who commit sexual violence against children. According to existing laws, recruitment of any solider under the age of 18 is illegal.  Moreover, any form of sexual violence against children is a crime punishable by law.

Since Taliban , Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups use children to conduct military operations and terrorist activates in Afghanistan , subsequently some of those children has been obtained by Afghan authorities . These children are kept in the Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres and treated in the line of Afghan Law for Juvenile Justice .

Let me also reiterate that the Government of Afghanistan is taking necessary steps to bring to justice perpetrators of the practice of Baccha Baazi, or “Boy Play ” as an immoral and anti Islamic practice.  We are firmly committed to bringing this practice to an end.  In short, let me state that all forms of sexual violence against children, including paedophilia is considered a crime.  At the same time, I would like to make clear that there exists no law in Afghanistan which will grant immunity to perpetrators of sexual violence.

Afghanistan looks forward to working closely with the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting to ensure the successful implementation of Security Council Resolution 1612. In the context of the overall efforts of the UN improve the plight of Afghan children; we urge the relevant agencies, including the UNDP and UNICEF to give special focus on addressing the broader socio-economic, governance and security issues. Doing so will offer an important contribution in the effort to safeguard and empower our children.

Collateral damage during international military operations has also negatively affected the well-being of our children. In this regard, we welcome recent measures by international partners to prevent such harm to all our citizens, including our children.  These include a review of tactics and procedures, as well as enhanced coordination with Afghan security forces.

Mr Chairman,

In April 2010 , the ANP was listed in the 9th report of the Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict for the recruitment and use of children  and the Working Group has the record of strong  rejection by the Government of Afghanistan on this listing . The ANSF, which have been extensively trained by the international community and scarifying their lives to fight the enemies of Afghan people , should not be included on this list of shame, along with terrorist organizations , because of some isolated incidents.

In October 2009, the Government of Afghanistan appointed a high-level focal point at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work closely with the Country Task Force for Monitoring and Reporting.

On 24th of April 2010, the Ministry of Interior issued an executive order for the prevention of recruitment of children into the Afghan National Police. This prohibits children from being recruited or employed within the Afghan National Police; requires children found within the Afghan National Police to be separated in 30 days.  It also calls for measures aimed at reintegration, and investigations and disciplinary action against those found to be recruiting or employing children.

Acting upon the conclusion and recommendation of SC working Group on Children and Armed Conflict , the Government of Afghanistan established the Inter Ministerial  Steering Committee on the 18th of July 2010, to finalize an Action Plan to prevent the recruitment of children in our national security forces.

On the 30th of January 2011, the Action Plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children in Afghan National Security Forces, and the annexes to the Plan on the prevention of sexual violence against children and the killing and maiming of children was signed by H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rasul , MoFA of Afghanistan , SRSF Steffan DeMistura, and Mrs. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of SG for Children and Armed Conflict and officially was launched for implementation .

The Government of Afghanistan is working  closely with the Country Task Force for Monitoring and Reporting to do its part  to implement  and strengthen reporting  mechanism under Security Council resolutions including 1882 (2009) .

Mr. Chairman

I would like to reiterate the Government of Afghanistan’s commitment to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of children in Afghanistan, and express our readiness to fully cooperate with the SC Working Group and relevant UN bodies to implement the Action Plan.

I Thank You.

United Nations Security Council Debate on Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Institution Building

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

at the Security Council Debate on Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Institution Building

Mr. President,

Please allow me to begin by congratulating you and your delegation for assuming the presidency of the Council for the month of January. I thank you for convening today’s important meeting on post-conflict peacebuilding and institution building and I wish to express my appreciation for the informative concept paper which you provided on 4 January. Thank you also to the Secretary General for his remarks. I would like to thank His Excellency, Vice Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres, who spoke on behalf of G7+ of which Afghanistan is a member. The voices of conflict-affected and fragile states provided a unique and crucial perspective on peacebuilding and institution building. Thank you to His Excellency, Ambassador Peter Wittig for addressing the council on behalf of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Mr. President,

Institution building is one of the essential components of establishing a peaceful and sustainable future in any post-conflict situation. The necessary requirements for successful institution building in post-conflict settings include: recognizing unique contexts; steady resourcing; growth of human capital; national, regional, and international cooperation; and strategic patience through the transition period. In Afghanistan we have learned firsthand the importance of each of these requirements.

Mr. President,

In the ubiquitous debate on the current situation in Afghanistan, it is easy to overlook the thirty years of conflict that Afghanistan has overcome in order to reach a point at which, today, we can discuss institution building and post-conflict peacebuilding. Let us not underestimate the time it takes to surpass the challenges of history. An environment such as Afghanistan’s, which has faced complex conflict, power struggles, and ongoing violence for decades cannot be changed overnight. As we engage in each and every discussion about the training of the Afghan army and police, the timeline for military engagement, or international partnerships, we must keep this context in mind.

Mr. President,

In 2001, Afghanistan was considered to be the most failed state in the world. The fall of the Taliban left a weakly governed state with no professional police or army to quell the ongoing fighting around the country. In 2001 Afghanistan lacked state institutions and had a budget of merely $27 million. After having hundreds of thousands of military and nonmilitary government employees in the early 1990s, educated and skilled workers fled the country and its government was left with less than 2,000 employees with higher educations. Many government institutions were nonfunctional because basic staffing and resourcing needs were not met.

Mr. President,

Given the magnitude of destruction, stabilization efforts in Afghanistan have produced impressive results. Despite its uphill climb from the time of Taliban rule, Afghanistan has experienced political transformation and development over the last decade, achieved through the support of the international community. The political process for the continued growth of the country is in place. Nearly 7 million refugees have returned. Women’s roles in politics have steadily increased. Civil society has emerged triumphantly in a more unified and organized manner. There are many areas in the country where we are witnessing governance for the first time in decades. Progress in the area of infrastructure development including building and paving roads and increased access to water, education, and health care has been among the most rapid of any post-conflict nation in decades. Women and girls now have equal educational access.

Security institutions have developed, supporting the emergence of Afghan national ownership. The last year has shown that it is possible to increase the Afghan National Army substantially and simultaneously see its planning and combat abilities improve. Local administrations have increased their involvement in security efforts, particularly through the engagement of Afghan people, especially elders, in defense programs in villages.

Mr. President,

As a measure to end violence and achieve lasting peace, we in Afghanistan have prioritized reintegration and reconciliation. We continue to encourage members of the armed-opposition to put down their weapons, choose the path of peace, and join efforts for stabilization and rehabilitation in the country. Progress continues toward implementing the recommendations of our national consultative peace-jirga, which constitutes the core of our reconciliation efforts. Now that we have come halfway, it is the Taliban’s turn to fulfill its responsibility. If the Taliban wants to join the peace talks, it must end violence and terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IEDs, kidnappings, targeted assassinations and sever ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Mr. President,

We must also anticipate the challenges we will face going forward. The biggest issue is the sustainability of peace, not just for Afghanistan, but for any post-conflict country. The functionality of institutions is necessary; a country must have the resources, the human capital, and capacity to stop the threat of insurgency or avoid relapsing into conflict. Capacity building is essential if state institutions are to operate effectively; empowering state institutions means enabling national government to provide services for its citizens.

Mr. President,

In any post-conflict setting, maintained international engagement in the institution building stages, beyond military involvement, is necessary for the endurance of peacebuilding efforts. In Afghanistan, an additional component of the stabilization process is effective regional cooperation. Progress is at risk of unraveling if these partnerships do not remain strong.

Democratization in post-conflict countries is a multidimensional challenge. We have learned from our experience that the democratization process requires sustained security as well as political, and development support. However, as it has been emphasized time and again “democracy grows from within and external actors can only support it.” The international community and key national stakeholders must work collaboratively, with integrative strategies, to provide effective support for democratization.

Mr. President,

In the coming years, national ownership and leadership with continued international partnerships will be key for Afghanistan. The adoption of the Kabul Process involves more Afghan responsibility for security, development and governance in the country. The significant increase in the amount of international funding channeled through the Afghan Government reflects renewed support for national ownership. The Afghan Government is committed to assuming full responsibility for security efforts with the support of the international community by the end of 2014. It is a gradual and condition-based process, which relies upon support to build Afghan security forces’ size, strength and operational capability.

Mr. President,

Building peace through developing institutions can help address the causes of conflict. However, it is necessary to end violence in order to create an environment in which institutions can flourish. Progress can be destroyed when conflict flares up. We must not forget the lessons we have learned in Afghanistan: A school or clinic built in six months can be destroyed in only six minutes by the Taliban or other extremists.

Furthermore, the importance of effective international partnership during post-conflict situations cannot be overestimated. In this regard, adequate resourcing and capacity building are preconditions for ensuring lasting peace.

Thank you.