Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen during the Security Council meeting on the Situation  in Afghanistan - March 10, 2020

10.03.2020 - Speech

(check against delivery)

We express our condolences to the victims of the recent attacks in Afghanistan, most notably in Kabul on 6 March. It is sad to see violence flaring up again after some days of calm. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

Mr. President, let me confirm here again Germany's commitment to Afghanistan. We are together with Indonesia the co-penholders in the Security Council. We will continue to be engaged with Afghanistan as the second largest donor and second largest troop contributor, and are also working hard to support capacity-building of the Afghan National Police. We will continue to stand by Afghanistan's side.

Our goal remains to maintain the main achievements of the past 18 years, particularly the rule of law, constitution and the rights of women, children and marginalized groups. We would like to congratulate President Ghani on the occasion of his inauguration yesterday. His commitment to national cohesion and the formation of an inclusive government that is acceptable to all remains key. At the same time, we call upon all Afghan stakeholders to act responsibly in the interest of the country's unity and continue working towards democratic and inclusive governance based on the Afghan constitution. In particular, we will not accept any parallel government and the use of force to solve any political conflict.

We believe that the agreement reached between the United States and the Taliban, as well as the joint declaration of the United States and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 29 February can be important stepping stones to peace in Afghanistan, something that the country so urgently needs after 40 years of war. On this occasion, I would like also to pay tribute to the government and the people of Qatar who have over eight years worked very hard to make the conclusions of this agreement possible. We also appreciate the very close cooperation we had with the government of Qatar in organising the intra Afghan dialogue, which is so important in the future. For this process to begin, we call for a speedy start of the intra Afghan negotiations. And we welcome the announcement of the negotiating team by the government of Afghanistan today and hope that outstanding issues on the prisoners exchange can be resolved without delay. With regard to the negotiating teams, and I expressly say both negotiating teams, it is key that what we always preach here in general happens in practice that women are part of the negotiations and not only a marginal part, but substantive part of the teams of the negotiation.

On the resolution, we welcome that it calls for the start without delay of the inclusive intra Afghan negotiations. It points out that the UN Security Council does not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. It contains references to the rights of women, youth and minorities. And finally, the draft underlines the important role of UNAMA. And these points that I mentioned are important and need to be implemented.

We would have welcomed in the resolution a clear reference to the Afghan constitution, as well as a reference to human rights and the importance of respecting human rights in general. For us, both references to the constitution and human rights remain the indispensable basis for the future development of the country. We also stress the importance of the UN in the Afghan peace process. We hope particularly in this crucial period for the country's future that the new SRSG and head of UNAMA can soon commence their work. The UNAMA mandate will come up for renewal later this year. It is vital that the Security Council and the entire United Nations remain by the Afghan people's side and especially the women of Afghanistan. We therefore ask for a strong mandate this year.

Indonesia and Germany, the two co-penholders, are united in our determination to ensure that the Security Council continues to closely follow and support the peace process in Afghanistan as an expression of our responsibility as co-penholders.

Thank you.

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