(check against delivery)
Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,
Let me thank you, Ambassador Yamamoto, for your profound briefing. I’d also like to thank all other briefers, especially Professor Haress.
Germany aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.
These are once again crucial – and testing – times for Afghanistan. While we are about to enter the second half of the Transformation Decade, I would like to make some remarks from the German perspective, being the second largest donor and troop contributor:
- At the end of November, under the auspices of the United Nations, Afghan President Ghani and CEO Abdullah met with member states in Geneva to discuss the state of play and the perspectives for Afghanistan half way through the Transformation Decade. The Geneva conference sent a clear signal of international commitment to and expectations of Afghanistan. It also demonstrated that there is a moment of opportunity for progress towards peace.
- Germany welcomes the adoption of the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework (GMAF) as a clear sign by the international community to Afghanistan as well as by the Afghan government to continue the reform process. Geneva has shown progress in our common efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. However, much still needs to be done, and the security situation remains challenging. Germany will continue to do its part in order to counter these challenges.
- It was a very encouraging sign to see the high participation in the parliamentary elections in October. Despite threats and acts of violence, millions of Afghans made use of their constitutional right to vote. Their courage is an inspiration to all of us.
- While this commitment to engage in democratic processes is highly encouraging, significant shortcomings in the electoral process, including with regard to the tallying of votes, risk discouraging Afghan voters. It is therefore crucial, especially in view of the upcoming presidential elections, to draw the right lessons.
- There have been encouraging signs over the past months that there might be a real opportunity for progress towards a substantial peace process. We welcome efforts of the Afghan government, most recently the appointment of a Peace Negotiation Team to facilitate direct talks. We call upon the Taliban to do likewise and to heed the call from the Afghan people and come to the negotiating table. It is essential that the process remains Afghan-led and –owned and that it includes all groups of society.
- The role of women in politics and especially in peace building in Afghanistan must be increased. Studies show that peace processes that include women as witnesses, signatories, mediators or negotiators lead to a 35% increase in the probability of a peace agreement to last longer than 15 years. This counts for peacebuilding worldwide and thus also for Afghanistan. Look at it not only as a matter of gender equality but as a precondition for sustainable peace and security.
- Over the last months, Afghanistan has also been battling with the effects of a serious long-lasting drought. This is a phenomenon that Afghanistan will most likely be confronted with over and again in the years to come. Climate change affects all of us, but in a country hit by violent conflict and poverty, its consequences can be even more devastating. We must not let that happen. As a Security Council member, Germany will put an emphasis on the security effects of climate change. The situation in Afghanistan is a case in point, as the Secretary General’s report we all have in front of us aptly demonstrates.
Finally, Germany, together with Indonesia, is looking forward to being the co-penholder on Afghanistan in the UN Security Council in the next two years. We will continue to stand by our Afghan friends both here in the Security Council, in the General Assembly, in the European Union and, first and foremost, in Afghanistan itself.