To start, let me thank the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Yamamoto, for his comprehensive briefing and both him and his staff for their tireless efforts.
Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
Afghanistan continues to require our joint and dedicated attention. Germany remains fully committed to its support of the Afghan people without artificial timelines.
Long-term stability in the region can be achieved only through a comprehensive peace and reconciliation process. We agree with the conclusions outlined in the report on the strategic review that UNAMA must prioritize political stability and the creation of an environment conducive to reaching an Afghan-owned peace agreement. Sustainable solutions can be attained only by bringing together all instruments of conflict resolution and prevention in a coherent political strategy. This is in line with the sustaining peace approach and the Secretary-General’s current reform efforts which Germany strongly supports. It has to come together in a coherent, well-coordinated way.
Achieving durable peace is the only way to end the suffering of the Afghan people. When citing the sad statistics of civilian casualties, we must not forget that behind every figure lies a personal tragedy. Even more needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable in Afghan society. We expect that the National Civilian Casualty Prevention and Mitigation policy will be endorsed and implemented quickly.
We condemn the suicide attacks on Shia mosques in Herat on 1 August and Kabul on 25 August which were carried out right before the holy Islamic feast of “Eid al-Adha” and left over 110 people dead. These attacks clearly aim to cause division along social, ethnic and religious lines within Afghan society, and we call on all Afghan citizens to not give in to such provocations but to stand united to face terrorist threats.
The Independent Election Commission’s announcement to schedule the overdue parliamentary and district council elections for 7 July 2018 is an important step. The holding of transparent, fair and credible elections is an indispensable component for a peaceful and stable future in Afghanistan. Conflicts need to be resolved in parliament, not on the battleground. But this can be achieved only when there is trust in the electoral system. Germany stands ready to assist Afghanistan in this process and encourages the National Unity Government to proceed with the outstanding electoral reforms.
Let me conclude by reiterating Germany’s full support for the crucial role played by UNAMA and UN agencies working in Afghanistan. We welcome the results of the strategic review which seek to optimize the structure of UNAMA and strengthen the mission even further. We recommend swift implementation.
Germany welcomes the decision to retain the UNAMA field presence in Afghanistan, as it is one of the most visible manifestations of UNAMA’s and our joint commitment to the Afghan people.
Following the withdrawal of the Police Advisory Unit, the Rule of Law Unit and the Military Advisory Unit, Germany trusts that the important tasks of these units will be fully integrated into UNAMA’s core activities.
As Chair of the International Contact Group for Afghanistan, Germany especially commends UNAMA’s efforts to help strengthen cohesion among international and regional stakeholders in Afghanistan.
Germany remains committed to supporting Afghanistan—in close cooperation with the Afghan government and our international partners—and commends efforts to foster regional and international cooperation in support of peace under the umbrella of the “Kabul Process.”