Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary General to Afghanistan


I thank you, Madam President, for giving us the opportunity as the year draws to a close to review, together with the Security Council, the situation in Afghanistan from the United Nations point of view during a period of many developments.

But before doing so, I would like on behalf of all of my Afghan, United Nations, and national and international colleagues, and frankly of the whole international diplomatic community in Kabul, to pay tribute and to pay our respects to the memory of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. I was told by someone that his last words to an Afghan doctor who started treating him when he went to the hospital were “Please work for peace in Afghanistan”. We are grateful to him and we thank him for his passionate commitment to assisting the Afghan people in seeking their own political stability. I would like to conclude this reflection with a few seconds of personal prayer and silence.

Thank you, Madam President.

My presentation, which will be short as the report has already been issued, will focus on the following topics: the security situation and its linkage to the NATO summit in Lisbon, transition, aid coherence/realignment, human rights, reconciliation, regional engagement, the serious issue of the drugs affecting Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, the elections, and some brief remarks on the budget.

With regard to the security situation, the combined increased activities by Afghan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces are intensifying and are showing results. At the same time, we are detecting from anti-Government elements attempts to show on their side some spectacular attacks in order to dilute the feeling of a change of momentum. What does that mean? It means that we should be expecting and should be ready for, I am afraid, a tense security environment over the next few months. Our assessment is that the situation may get worse before it gets better. And the proof of that was the attack on the United Nations centre at Herat, where 21 of our colleagues were stationed. They all survived, thanks to luck, good preparation, strong support from the Afghan security forces around them and our own private security company linked to the Gurkha support. But it is a signal; it is a message.

The Lisbon NATO summit, in our view, was very successful. The linking of the two dates — 2011 and 2014 — as a long beginning of a long end contributed to establishing a much clearer perspective for all international, regional and national players about mutual commitment to Afghanistan.

With regard to transition, the message is clear, and I am sure that we are all hearing it: allow a more rapid delegation of responsibility and ownership to the Afghan authorities. In other words — to use a slogan that we heard in Lisbon and which I think is a very good one — to help, support and assist the Afghan authorities to stand on their own, but not to stand alone.

The United Nations system and I myself, on behalf of the Secretary-General, are planning — as we are expected to do by this Council and, above all, by the Afghan authorities — to increase, security permitting, our own capacity in the areas where transition is expected to take place and also in areas where security is improving, in order to do what we should be doing — doing much more to assist in capacity-building and support for Afghan ownership of Afghan territory.

We believe that, with the leadership of the Afghan authorities and Mr. Ashraf Ghani, together with the teams that have been established, we are moving in the right direction on transition, and the United Nations, as I said, will, with the blessing of the Council, be doing its part.

On aid coherence, since the Kabul Conference we have been talking about aid realignment, which then leads to aid coherence. Aid realignment means, basically, what we heard at the Kabul Conference, which calls for a stronger and more effective realignment of all bilateral and multilateral aid along the lines of the priorities set by the Afghan authorities, according to clear benchmarks set by both sides.

The United Nations, that is, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), working closely in partnership and as co-Chair of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, which is the

institution that was created jointly by the Afghan authorities and the international community to actually assist, monitor and support the realignment, will be increasing its activities in that field. I have new teams coming in. One senior colleague, in particular, will join me, who has been assigned particularly to support the enhancement.

Human rights are crucial. Everybody recognizes that, and we are working on that issue. The priority for us is to be able to continue to issue reports that are seen as significant because they are considered to be objective and frank — sometimes too frank — but they nonetheless help everyone to realize that the civilian rights in human rights in Afghanistan are important for the Afghans.

The issue of civilian casualties has been an issue included in our report, and we will continue to include that issue, hoping to improve that situation further with fine-tuning. We have heard from President Karzai several times, as well as from many other partners, how important it is to actually address the issue of civilian casualties in the best possible way; hopefully we will not see repetitions of the figures we have seen so far. There has, however, been an increase, as the Council knows.

On the issue of women, reports are coming out — and more will come out — about the violence affecting women in particular. I must say, the results of the election so far have been very encouraging regarding the engagement and the involvement of women in the future parliament. But we will continue to play our role in that area. That has been requested by everyone, and it is, frankly, required by our own moral compass.

On reconciliation and reintegration, everyone recognizes that there is no military solution. Frankly, even the Taliban do so, even if they will not say so publicly. There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan — hence the importance of initiatives such as the Peace Jirga and the establishment, by President Karzai, of the High Peace Council.

The United Nations, through its own newly established Salaam Support Group, in which everyone will be invited to participate, depending on their level of competence and the requirements by the Afghan Peace Council. That participation will be based on competence, the preparation of reports, visions and substantive and substantial support for what could suddenly become an important and accelerated level of dialogue. Additionally, that support will come in the form of logistics. What the Council is helping us with, by asking for a strong logistical capacity, is being put at the disposal of the Afghans, who are going to talk to each other, both inside or outside Afghanistan. That has already been requested three times, and we have provided it on the Council’s behalf. Then, of course, confidence-building measures represent an area where the United Nations, the Security Council and the Mission can help in eventually facilitating or explaining how to better implement such measures, if and when they are required.

On regional engagements, everybody again recognizes that if there is — and when there is, insha’allah — actual involvement in a dialogue, it will be possible to sustain national dialogue only through a long-term constructive engagement by all regional players, and that means not only the immediate neighbours, but also the distant and concerned neighbours. In that sense, many initiatives are taking place. As we speak, if I am not mistaken, President Karzai is in Ankara for discussions facilitated by the Turkish Government on a trilateral basis. I think many more meetings are likely to take place in that context in the coming year. I understand that even in Washington, D.C., there is the possibility of a trilateral opportunity sometime early next year. All those bilateral, trilateral and regional initiatives are welcome and should be supported in the right direction.

The United Nations in Kabul is doing its part in the Kabul Silk Road initiative and is supporting other initiatives by regional players. We understand that, by the end of next year, in November, another Bonn conference will possibly take place, as announced at the NATO summit, and it will probably be — and I do not want to prejudge here the decision by the Turkish authorities — preceded by another regional opportunity and discussion of the type we have had in the past. Whatever the case, we will play a role, because we recognize that all members of the regional context are also Members of the United Nations.

On the issue of drugs, which is linked to the question of regional issues, there has been a substantial increase in drug production in spite of a disease affecting drug production that we hope was sent by God. It has also, unfortunately, contributed to an increase in price and therefore also to an increase in interest in producing, selling, transporting and storing drugs. That is affecting 900,000 Afghans and major neighbours, both close and distant. We welcome the visit to Kabul of the new Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, who has been very engaged and has been giving renewed energy to the initiatives at the regional and national levels in that context.

On elections, allow me to make a few points — actually eight, but each of them short — on behalf of the diplomatic community in Kabul and myself.

First, although it is late, we can never stress enough how proud all of us are and should be and must congratulate the Afghan people, the Afghan National Security Forces and President Karzai for having held elections in a country that, we know, is in a conflict and is facing very challenging circumstances.

Second, at the end of the day, 4.2 million Afghans, out of 10.5 million eligible voters, voted despite the security situation and in spite of two serious warnings from the Taliban to not go to vote.

Third, we recognize the diligent, committed and intense work carried out by the two Afghan independent electoral commissions nominated by the President.

Fourth, the United Nations, the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Canada and Turkey have all welcomed the announcement — I repeat, the announcement — by the electoral commissions on 24 November, and finally on 30 November, of the certification of the results of the 18 September Wolesi Jirga elections.

Fifth, the elections of 18 September, like all other previous elections, included substantial numbers of cases of fraud and irregularities. That is regrettable, but we are dealing with a young democracy in a very difficult environment. Both the Independent Electoral Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission, the two electoral commissions, working together, tried and did a lot of work, we have to recognize, in trying to remove those cases of fraud that they were able to detect. By doing so, they sent a signal against impunity, which might have been an important message for all Afghans to hear.

Sixth, we have to recognize the independence of all Afghan institutions, both electoral and judiciary, and that they act within their clearly defined areas of competence and in accordance with the relevant Afghan laws and the Afghan Constitution.

Seventh, with the certification of all results by the bodies mandated by the law, the two Electoral Commissions, the electoral process is now procedurally concluded. Notwithstanding whatever the judiciary system will have to do, following its own procedures, the expected next steps are the inauguration of the new Parliament, pursuant to the electoral law.

Finally, we welcome the announcement by President Karzai’s spokesperson that the President intends to inaugurate the new Parliament by the end of January. Now that we have gone through the electoral process, we must look into electoral reform. We have been discussing the issue with all Afghan authorities and members of Parliament. The feeling is that there is a need for the sort of electoral reform that will help to prevent some of the problems that have been encountered in the latest election and in previous elections. That is the task that we will have to take on together. We are confident that the Afghan capacity for bringing an inclusive political approach to solving some of the pending issues will bring about inclusive participation — despite the previous exclusion of some ethnic groups in the elections — hopefully before January.

In conclusion, I wish to thank the Afghan authorities, members of the Security Council, our friend and colleague who is the European Union representative in Kabul, and our friends and colleagues representing the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul for the support that we have consistently received in implementing the UNAMA mandate, which can only be fulfilled — and incrementally so — if the necessary resources are allocated to it in the next budget.

Security Council Debate on The Situation in Afghanistan

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

at the Security Council Debate on The Situation in Afghanistan

New York

Madame President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First please allow me to congratulate you on your Presidency of the Council for the month of December. I would like to also thank the Secretary General for his most recent report, and Special Representative Staffan De Mistura for his informative briefing and dedicated leadership of UNAMA.

Madame President,

We have arrived at the end of an eventful and historic year in Afghanistan. The year began with the London Conference, followed by the Peace Jirga, Kabul Conference, the second parliamentary elections and NATO Summit in Lisbon. This year, while we have made momentous strides towards defining and strengthening our relationship with international partners, we sought to re-engage the Afghan people in all efforts to bring peace and security to our country, enhance collaboration with regional partners and reach out to the armed opposition.

Madame President,

The Lisbon Summit was a milestone towards reassuring an enduring partnership between Afghanistan and NATO. Among the key outcomes of the conference, we adopted the framework of transition to greater Afghan leadership over the next four years, through a province by province approach.  High level mechanisms which include key national and international stakeholders have been established to oversee the transition process.  The new year will mark the launch of the transition process.  Practical preparations are underway to that end. The commitment of our international partners to sustained and expedited recruitment, training and resourcing of the Afghan national army and police, will constitute a key component of their redefined mission.

The Lisbon Summit sent three key messages: first – a message to the Afghan people that the international community will not leave Afghanistan and will remain engaged with the Afghan people for the long haul; second – a message to terrorists and extremists that they will fail in their efforts to take Afghanistan back to the days of tyranny and oppression; and third – a message for the region that cooperation is vital; our neighbors have a role and a stake in the security and the stability of Afghanistan.

Madame President,

Improving security, which remains a top priority of the Afghan government, has been a key focus of the Afghan and ISAF forces. Despite isolated incidents of attacks and suicide bombings by the Taliban and other extremists, overall security has improved. The latest assessments show that the ISAF and Afghan forces for the first time in the last two years have begun to regain the military initiative.  This is particularly the case in southern provinces which once saw high levels of insecurity. The zone of security has expanded, with Afghan security forces exerting greater presence and control in areas previously held by enemy combatants.

Such success has a direct effect on public perception. In the Afghan villages, specifically in the south, people acknowledge the progress being made, and have begun to engage with local authorities and the Afghan and international forces. Consolidating the support of the local populace is vital for a successful international engagement in Afghanistan. In this context, emphasis must continue to be placed on ensuring basic services for Afghans as well as avoiding civilian casualties during military operations. We welcome increased measures of coordination among international forces and the review of tactics in order to prevent harm to local communities.

Madame President,

It is now clear to all that an end to the sanctuaries in the region is crucial to the success of the international campaign to stabilize the region and eliminate the threat of terrorism. We cannot underestimate the need to address sanctuaries and safe-havens in the region which operate as the “command and control headquarters” for terrorists and extremists. Without progress on this front, all our efforts will go in vain.

Madame President,

Our recent parliamentary elections, the second since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, reaffirmed the commitment of the Afghan people to the democratic process.  Millions of Afghans braved security threats and cast their votes to elect members of the National Assembly.  Nobody expected a perfect election process. The circumstances under which the elections took place gave way to irregularities including the closing of polling stations and the discounting of many votes by election bodies.  As it has been announced, the new parliament will be inaugurated in late January.

Madame President,

The Afghan government continues to focus on enhancing our relationships with our neighbors in the region.  Effective regional cooperation is indispensable for solving the many challenges facing Afghanistan and countries in the region. We maintain high level communications with the government of Pakistan for wider cooperation in the fight against terrorism and for promoting peace, stability and economic development in both our countries.

We continue to strengthen cooperation with all neighbors in the region.  Afghanistan holds a unique standing, in which it is increasingly positioned to serve as an economic hub or an Asian Roundabout in the greater region.

A historical event occurred on the 11th of December in Ashqabat during the summit meeting of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) with the signing of the important agreements for the implementation of the gas pipeline project. The summit was a key step for the realization of the regional framework of cooperation in providing energy and energy security.

Madame President,

With the beginning of the transition process, reintegration and reconciliation will be pursued as a matter of high priority in Afghanistan. In fact, reconciliation is becoming an essential political dimension of the transition strategy.  For reconciliation to work, the Taliban must be ready to engage sincerely in peace talks; but for reconciliation to succeed, the Taliban must put down their arms, renounce violence and choose the path of peace. Success lies in maintaining our key asset, Afghan leadership and ownership of the reconciliation process.  There is also a role for others – the International Community, the region, and the United Nations- to support the Afghan government to succeed in its reconciliation efforts.

Madame President,

The Afghan government has worked diligently toward implementing our goals in security, development, and governance. Recent progress in all three of these areas is outlined in the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB)’s Progress Report on the Afghanistan National Development Strategy,  released in November.

The results overall were highly encouraging, particularly in the areas of governance, national transparency and accountability. In the first 100 days since the Kabul Conference, 95% of planned activities were completed for creating an efficient and effective government, including recruitment of 24 new district governors and the drafting of new anti-corruption laws. The Afghan government will continue to pursue effective and timely implementation of all national priority strategies.  In this regard, we are monitoring progress and challenges in relation to all programs through the recently established monitoring mechanism.

Madame President,

The most important assessment of the situation in Afghanistan comes from Afghans themselves. Public opinion in Afghanistan, according to recent surveys, reflects that the majority of Afghans continue to positively assess their government, support national reconciliation efforts, and most importantly, they share the perspective that the country is heading in the right direction.

Madame President,

As transition begins, there are clear roles for both the Afghan government and for the International Community. In the four years ahead, the measure of success will be determined by the strength of the partnership of the international community and Afghanistan.  The focus of this partnership must be on building the Afghan government’s capacity to take responsibility.  The transition process goes far beyond the training of Afghan security forces; our partnership must actively address not only security, but development and governance.

Madame President,

A stable and prosperous Afghanistan requires unity of understanding, unity of efforts, and unity of action.  And I assure you that we will spare no effort to do our part.

I thank you.

Foreign Minister Rassoul Addresses UN Security Council on Afghanistan

H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Afghanistan, today addressed an open-debate of the UN Security Council on the “Situation in Afghanistan.”

News

The meeting, which convened to consider the recent report of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, was also attended by the Special Representative of the UNSG, Staffan di Mistura.

In his statement, H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul first discussed Afghanistan’s recent parliamentary elections, noted that despite intimidations and threats of attacks, including assassinations by extremists, millions of Afghanistan from all segments of society took part in the elections, reaffirming their “steadfast commitment to democracy and self-determination.” He highlighted the broad participation among the youth and girls. “The unprecedented number of young candidates and voters illustrates the degree to which democracy is taking root in Afghan society.  Further, the significant increase in women’s participation is testament to the further empowerment of women in Afghan political life.”

He said for the coming years Afghanistan would pursue a comprehensive strategy to implement the outcome of the London and Kabul Conferences. He further asserted that Afghanistan would work towards gradual leadership in all areas, including security, development and governance.  On security he said Afghanistan would strive to build the size, capacity and operational capability of its security forces “for taking the lead role in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011, and meeting the security’s security obligations independently by 2014, with international forces offering back-up support.”  He also reiterated Afghanistan appeal for continued international support and assistance in the building of Afghan security forces.

Further, he highlighted the up-coming NATO Summit in Lisbon, at which the Afghan government would come together with partner-countries to “crystallize our joint strategy for transition to Afghan security lead over the coming years.” At the conference Afghanistan would also update its international partners on progress in strengthening Afghan security forces.

He added for transition to succeed, Afghanistan and the international community had to find a solution to the ongoing security problem.  He underscored a comprehensive strategy for improving security, including a “comprehensive and robust out-reach initiative.” He said Afghanistan would pursue the implantation of its reintegration and reconciliation initiative,
to ensure an honorable place in society for members of the armed opposition who are willing to renounce violence, accept our constitution, return to normal life and embrace international human rights.”   He said Afghanistan had established a “High-Peace-Council, to oversee the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation strategy.”

Foreign Minister Rassoul noted that terrorism posed a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and beyond, and expressed Afghanistan concern about the “continued presence of safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region where terrorists receive recruitment, training and logistical support.”

alluded to the situation in Afghanistan, and said the increased awareness of the need to re-engage the Afghan people in the reconstruction and stabilization of their country has helped enable the government of Afghanistan and its international partners to “focus on finding ways to meet the needs and expectations of the Afghan people.”

He however asserted that civilians continued to “pay a staggering price in the ongoing conflict” in the country. He said over six thousand Afghans, including women; children and the elderly were killed and injured in just last year. In that regard, he said the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and their terrorist allies continue to show complete disregard for human life, embracing assassinations and executions in an effort to control the population through terror.

He said the cost of the conflict was not limited to just Afghanistan, but also international partners countries. He highlighted increased terrorist attacks on UN staff and members of humanitarian organizations who work in various fields, including health and education.  In that regard, Ambassador Tanin expressed gratitude to UN staff and other partners “who continue to work under difficult circumstances for the sake of the Afghan people, and in pursuit of international peace and security.”

Moreover, he welcomed the increased measures by former ISAF former commander, General McCrystal, aimed at better protecting the lives of civilians.  He expressed confidence that civilian protection would continue to receive due consideration from ISAF’s new commander, General Patraeus.

He nevertheless noted that civilian casualties remained a concern to Afghanistan, and undermined the people’s confidence in the good-will of the international community.  He emphasized increased efforts at the national level “for building an efficient, effective and responsible army and police force dedicated to the protection of Afghans and maintenance of security and the rule of law.”

Ambassador Tanin also said the safety of the Afghan people should remain a priority, and it was necessary to enhance collaboration for strengthening the trust and confidence of Afghans in future efforts.

Statement

Remarks by H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

At the Security Council Open-Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan,

29 September 2010

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, let me thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, and congratulate the government of Turkey in assuming the Council Presidency for the month of September. I also thank Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his most recent report on Afghanistan, and SRSG Staffan di Mistura for his comprehensive briefing.

Mr. President,

Today’s meeting comes at a crucial time in Afghanistan just over three months after the Kabul Conference, and less than two weeks since the holding of our parliamentary elections. I am pleased to be among you today, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan, and shed light on the strategy we will pursue to end violence, and achieve lasting peace and security.

Mr. President,

I want to begin by saying a few words about our recent elections, which gave Afghans another chance to shape their future, and consolidate our young democracy. Millions of Afghans from all segments of society braved intimidations and threats of attacks, including assassinations, to cast their vote.  As such, Afghans reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to democracy and self-determination. The unprecedented number of young candidates and voters illustrates the degree to which democracy is taking root in Afghan society. Further, the significant increase in women’s participation is testament to the further empowerment of women in Afghan political life.

Our elections were a major victory for democracy in Afghanistan. Let me take the opportunity to convey our gratitude to the United Nations and other partners for providing financial and technical support for our elections.

Mr. President,

Just three months ago, Afghanistan and our international partners gathered at the international Kabul Conference to renew our partnership for durable peace, security and stability.  Together, we adopted the “Kabul Process,” which focuses on increased Afghan leadership across the board. We also presented our 23 national priority programs, including the national security policy and our national reconciliation initiative, all of which were endorsed by the international community.

Mr. President,
Going forward, Afghanistan will pursue a comprehensive strategy to implement the outcome of the London and Kabul Conferences. We will work towards gradual leadership in all state of affairs, security, development and governance in particular. Our objective is clear: a gradual transfer of responsibilities towards self-reliance in ensuring social and economic opportunities for all Afghans, and enforcing the rule of law throughout the country. In the area of security, we will work to build the size, capacity and operational capability of Afghanistan’s national security forces.  In doing so, we will meet a vital pre-condition for taking the lead in combat operations in volatile provinces by 2011, and for meeting our security obligations independently by 2014, with international forces offering back-up support. In achieving this goal, I want to reiterate the importance of sustained international support for the training, resourcing and equipping of the Afghan national army and police.

Moreover, we have committed to a comprehensive social and economic agenda to improve the lives of all Afghans, and achieve a sustainable Afghan economy. In particular, we are giving special focus to agricultural development, rural rehabilitation, human resource development and economic and infrastructure development to generate employment opportunities and meet the immediate needs of our people. I seize this opportunity to convey Afghanistan’s thanks and appreciation for the international community’s support and assistance. Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that Afghanistan will not be able to realize its development goals without greater responsibility for our finances. Afghans must have a greater role in their own development. We welcome the international community’s decision to channel 50% of donor assistance through our national budget by January 2012.  This will lead to greater transparency and efficiency in utilization of development assistance by donor countries.

Mr. President,

At the same time, we have embarked on a reinvigorated effort to combat corruption, and strengthen governance at all levels. Afghans are well aware of the detrimental effect of this menace on the dignity, image and prosperity of our country. We are fully committed to ridding corruption from our society effectively and resolutely.
Mr. President,

In less than two months from now, Afghanistan and its NATO partners will gather at the NATO Summit in Lisbon to crystallize our joint strategy for transition to Afghan security lead over the coming years.  We will update our international partners on our progress in the building of our security forces, and discuss remaining challenges to that effect.

Mr. President,

For transition to succeed, we first have to find a solution to Afghanistan’s ongoing security problem. Afghanistan has endured violence for more than thirty years.  Almost ten years since the start of our joint efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, security remains a problem. We have prioritized ending violence and providing Afghans with what has eluded them for decades: the chance to live in peace and security. There will be no peace unless military efforts are complemented by a robust and comprehensive out-reach initiative. That is why President Karzai launched a “reintegration and reconciliation initiative to ensure an honorable place in society for members of the armed opposition who are willing to surrender arms, renounce violence, accept our constitution, return to normal life and embrace international human rights. We recently established the “High-Peace-Council,” to oversee the implementation of our reintegration and reconciliation. The High Council is now operational and will meet regularly. In addition, we welcome the Security Council’s review and updating of the 1267 consolidated list as important for implementing our peace initiative.  In this regard, we look forward to additional updates, on the basis of additional delisting requests.

Mr. President,

Terrorism poses a grave threat to the security and stability of our region and beyond. In this regard, we remain concerned at the continued presence of safe-haven and sanctuaries in our region where terrorists receive recruitment, training and logistical support.

Mr. President,

It is ever more evident that addressing the challenges facing Afghanistan and our region, including terrorism, extremism, and narcotic drug production and trafficking will not be possible without meaningful cooperation at the regional level. For our part, Afghanistan remains fully committed to a sincere and effective dialogue with Pakistan and other regional countries for security and prosperity in our region.

Just recently, together with the government of Pakistan, we signed the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Trade and Transit Agreement (APPTA), aimed at increasing bilateral trade and generating employment opportunities. Moreover, the signing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipe-line project and the conclusion of the feasibility study for the CASA 1000 project for transfer of energy in the region are milestones for the development and prosperity of our region. We are both confident that these projects will benefit security and stability in Afghanistan and the region and strengthen mutual trust and confidence.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is confident that by pursuing our comprehensive national agenda for security, development and governance, and by implementing our reintegration and reconciliation initiative, we will succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan and preventing the enemies of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan from regaining control of our country.

Mr. President,
Nine and a half years since the beginning of our partnership with the international community to defeat terrorism and achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, we have come a long way. We attribute our achievements to the sacrifices of the Afghan people and the troops of our partner countries. A transition to increased Afghan responsibility and ownership will be our main priority over the coming years.  We expect our international partners to remain by us with fortitude and commitment to ensure the successful conclusion of that transition.

Thank You Mr. President.