Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Security Council Briefing on Afghanistan

Ertuğrul Apakan 30.06.2010
Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban-ki Moon for his report and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. Staffan de Mistura for his comprehensive briefing. After having extensive talks with him in Kabul on the occasion of the Security Council mission to Afghanistan, I welcome him for his first presentation to the Security Council. I also welcome Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Council.

Mr. President,

I first wish to share my impressions regarding the Security Council mission to Afghanistan.

The visit was conducted between 21-24 June, at an important period after the Consultative Peace Jirga and before the Kabul Conference. The visit was very productive thanks to the excellent organization of UNAMA. It was also thanks to the sincerity of our interlocutors.

We held substantive talks with members of the executive and legislative branches, meeting with President Karzai, Foreign Minister Rassul, Speaker of Wolesi Jirga Mr. Qanuni and Chairs of the Standing Committees of Parliament, as well as members of the Cabinet. These included extensive interaction with the Afghan institutions including the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the Independent Electoral Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission. We also held useful discussions with the civil society. We visited the NATO Training Mission. We also met with the main international stakeholders, including UN agencies, ISAF, NATO, and the EU. During our field visit to Jalalabad, we met with the local authorities, UN specialized agencies and families located in the returnees settlement.

During our contacts we reiterated the UN Security Council’s support and enduring commitment to the people of Afghanistan and its Government in furthering peace, development and stability. We underlined the messages indicated in the Terms of Reference of the mission (S/2010/325). We particularly stressed central role of the UN in Afghanistan, solidarity with the SRSG Staffan de Mistura and UNAMA. We underlined the necessity of free and fair elections. We welcomed strong participation of women candidates. We emphasized the importance of economic and social development. We encouraged the Afghan authorities to further their efforts to uphold rule of law, human rights, women and children’s rights. We indicated the importance of combating the narcotics industry and trade. We stressed the importance of regional cooperation.

We were briefed on various issues including challenges regarding the legislative elections scheduled to be held on September 18th, security situation, reconciliation and reintegration, and importance of regional cooperation.

We would like to thank the Afghan authorities, UNAMA, DPKO, DSS and UN Security Council Secretariat for all the arrangements they have made. The official mission report will be prepared soon.

Mr. President,

I now would like to make few remarks regarding the report of the Secretary General and situation in Afghanistan. We would like to commend the report which provides a detailed outlook. We agree with its contents and the observations. I also welcome Mr. De Mistura who held meetings with my authorities in Turkey before coming to New York. We appreciate and strongly support his activities.

I wish to emphasize three points: empowerment of Afghan leadership, comprehensive approach and regional cooperation.

Firstly, Istanbul and London Conferences brought new impetus. The key words should be Afghanization, Afghan leadership and Afghan responsibility in the period ahead. Afghan ownership should be supported by the international community. Afghan administration should be empowered. Parliamentary elections in September 2010 will be part of this process. There should be a Afghan-led political process and UN should be part of it.

Secondly, a comprehensive approach should be at the front. It should include security, governance, rule of law, human rights as well as social and economic development. It should not be limited to only military means. Four areas need special attention: a comprehensive economic development, a strong and well-trained Afghan military and police and equipping them, an inclusive national reconciliation led by the Afghan administration, and a modern education and justice system to effectively combat extremism.

Another key is transition. But it should not be understood as an exit strategy. We will continue to increase our civilian efforts. Turkey had announced the establishment of a new Turkish PRT in Cevizcan. The Turkish civilian–led PRT will be based on the successful experience of our first PRT in Wardak. It will bring additional civilian capacity and complement the ongoing development efforts in that region.

Thirdly, regional cooperation and dialogue should be enhanced. Turkey hosted the Fourth Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Summit in January with a focus on education. We hosted the Istanbul Summit with the participation of neighbours of Afghanistan. The Istanbul Statement was the first manifestation of the region since the Kabul Declaration of 2002 to emphasize regional ownership. We believe it provides a solid basis to enhance regional cooperation. Regional cooperation was also discussed in the London Conference. As a follow up of the Trilateral Process, Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey met in Istanbul on 7 June. They discussed the level of cooperation reached at the Trilateral Process, current developments related to Afghanistan including the Peace Jirga convened in early June and the upcoming Kabul Conference. Turkey will continue its regional contributions by hosting the Fourth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) after the parliamentary elections.

Mr. President,

Before concluding, I would like to reiterate that we see Kabul Conference as a milestone in order to promote dialogue and to harmonize civilian and military strategies towards a vision for Afghanistan.

Last but not the least, we would like to offer our deep condolences for the UNAMA national staff killed yesterday in Kabul.

Thank you.