Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman Charge D'Affaires a.i. and Deputy Representative of Turkey to the UN at the Security Council Briefing on Afghanistan

Fazlı Çorman 06.01.2009
Mr. President,

Since this is the first open meeting of the Council this month, I wish to congratulate the Permanent Mission of China for assuming the Presidency of the Council in January. We sincerely welcome the five new members to the Council.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban-ki Moon for his detailed report and his Special Representative Mr. Kai Eide for his comprehensive and frank briefing. We join you in your remarks regarding the distinguished service of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. Kai Eide. I also would like to welcome Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Council.

We would like to commend the report which provides a comprehensive outlook. We agree with the contents and the observations of the report. This meeting coincides at a time where so many developments are unfolding regarding Afghanistan. I therefore would like to give Turkey's perception concerning the situation in Afghanistan. I will limit my remarks to three main areas: international developments and strengthening of UNAMA, regional developments and the parliamentary elections.

Firstly, it is a welcome development that the international community is widely discussing developments in Afghanistan. While doing so, as clearly expressed by Mr. Eide, we should design our priorities in cooperation with the Afghan administration.

Turkey believes that there is a need for a comprehensive approach. It should include security, governance, rule of law, human rights and social and economic development, but should not be limited to only military means. In addition, four areas need special attention: a comprehensive economic development, a strong and well-trained Afghan military and police, an inclusive national reconciliation, and a modern education and justice system to effectively combat extremism. In other words, a political and economic Action Plan is needed.

As suggested in the report, the role of UNAMA should be strengthened in order to better serve the Afghan people. The new role should be jointly designed with the Afghan administration. On the other hand, security threats against the UN are increasing. For the first time the UN was targeted so deliberately. However, those terrorist attacks should not deter us. It should only strengthen our determination to assist the Afghan people. The continuation of a strong UN presence is of utmost importance. We, therefore, should all support the Secretary General in his efforts to this end.

Secondly, We think that regional ownership could be a key to success in Afghanistan. While there are several international developments unfolding regarding Afghanistan, regional cooperation should be encouraged as well. From this vantage point, Turkey has initiated Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Summit process in 2007. The fourth Trilateral Summit will take place in Turkey on 24th of January with a focus on education.

With the same understanding, we will also host a Regional Summit on 26th of January with the participation of the neighbours of Afghanistan and some observers, so that those attending the London Conference on 28th of January could take along a regional input to London where regional cooperation will be one of the topics to be discussed. The Regional Summit aims to address challenges that are common to countries of the region and enhance regional dialogue.

We will also host the Fourth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) in Turkey in 2010.

Thirdly, I would like to reiterate our views regarding elections. We believe that the new administration should embrace the whole nation after the presidential elections. It should refocus on national unity and reconstruction efforts as soon as possible. It should reach out to all ethnic groups through inclusive policies. On the other hand, all who competed against President Karzai in the elections shall offer their support to the new administration. In our opinion, what Afghanistan needs now is strengthening the democratic values and an efficient state mechanism to fight against several problems including misconduct. And in democracies Parliaments stand for these two elements.

Along the same line, it would be much preferable that the parliamentary elections be held in 2010 as foreseen in the Afghan constitution. If there is need for improvement of some procedures, they could be and should be realized. But since the international community is defending the rule of law, it is hard to explain the postponement of elections. They may be delayed for some time, but not a long time. The elections should be seen as a tool, but not as an obstacle; a tool to encourage different groups to national conciliation and national unity.

Finally, Mr. President, we would like to reiterate that in addition to our diplomatic efforts, Turkey will continue its contributions in Afghanistan in cooperation with the UN in the period ahead. We will do our best to perform our responsibilities in the Security Council as the lead country on Afghanistan for this year.

Thank you Mr. President.