(check against delivery)
Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,
Just like last year, it is again my pleasure to introduce the resolution entitled “The Situation in Afghanistan” in the General Assembly. As you know, this resolution was first adopted in 1980 and has been re-introduced every year since then, mirroring the dynamics of the conflict and the enduring international endeavor to help restore peace and stability and end the long suffering of the Afghan people. Since 2002, Germany has served as facilitator of this resolution. During these years, we were able to adapt the resolution to the changing circumstances of the times and also to revise it to increase its effectiveness. This has never been easy, but always resulted in a demonstration of the international consensus on Afghanistan.
This year, with parliamentary elections in October and the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan in late November, we decided to postpone the adoption of the resolution to December to make sure it reflects the latest developments.
As my experts tell me, the negotiation process was again quite intensive this year. Positions presented by member states reflected various views until the very end of consultations. For this reason, we have decided to present a “consensus draft” which reflects the positions communicated to us to the maximum extent possible. We are confident that the text before you now represents our aggregated and joint views.
As last year, I would like to remind everyone that this resolution remains first and foremost an important expression of support for Afghanistan and its people by the entire membership of the United Nations. I would like to thank all the delegations which have demonstrated great flexibility to maintain this unified show of support.
Turning to the substance of the resolution, our preeminent concern remains the fragile security situation in Afghanistan. Throughout this past year, we have again seen a number of high-profile attacks, most recently on 20 November targeting a gathering of religious scholars. More than 55 people were killed and 80 injured in this terrible attack. We call on all Afghan citizens to stand united in the face of terrorist threats.
We also pay tribute to the patriotism and sacrifices of the Afghan Security Forces. Together with our international partners, Germany will continue to support them through NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in their efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
But this support is only viable if matched by and connected to continued support to civilian development and stabilization as well as diplomatic efforts aimed at a political solution.
An inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process involving all parts of Afghan society including the Taliban is the only path towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict. The Afghan government, through its peace offer and the initiative of a ceasefire earlier this year, has shown the world that political solutions are possible. We need to continue on this path.On behalf of the international community, this resolution reiterates the call on the parties to the conflict, in particular the Taliban, to recognize their responsibility for peace and to enter into direct talks without preconditions. The support of the neighbours of Afghanistan and countries of the region in support of a peace process is crucial for the success of this effort.
Afghanistan has come a long way. However, numerous challenges still remain. Especially the fight against corruption, women empowerment and for good governance continues to be of crucial importance. We encourage the government of Afghanistan to continue its efforts in this regard and to implement the announced political and economic reforms.
Germany remains committed to supporting Afghanistan – in close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan and our international partners.
Germany aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union later in this debate.
Thank you, Madam President.