Statement by H.E. Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Afghanistan

Baki İlkin 30.06.2009
I wish to thank Special Representative Mr. Kai Eide for his insightful briefing. I also thank the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan Mr. Zahir Tanin for his statement.

In view of the upcoming elections, which we hope will constitute a milestone in the transformation of Afghanistan into a stable and democratic state, our meeting today takes on additional significance. Indeed, holding of these elections in a free and fair manner represents a high priority not only for Afghanistan, but also for the entire international community.

Council members have already emphasized the importance of the elections and expressed their determination to help make it a success. Turkey joins this commitment and reiterates its full support to UNAMA's activities in this regard.

In fact, UNAMA is playing an essential role in almost all walks of social, political and economic life in Afghanistan and we want this to continue unabated in the critical period ahead.

In light of the Secretary-General's comprehensive report, I would not go into details of what further could and should be done. Let me just underline that we fully agree with Secretary-General's observations and recommendations.

In this context, we particularly look forward to agreed benchmarks being formulated and reflected in the next report of the Secretary-General. We believe that this exercise will result in further improving the UN's work in Afghanistan and will also guide the member States in their contributions. As an active contributor to peace and stability efforts in Afghanistan, Turkey pledges its full support to the Secretariat in formulating those benchmarks.

We believe that the benchmarks should be concise and achievable, reflecting the challenges and opportunities on the ground. But even more importantly, given the need for a comprehensive strategy, including security, governance, rule of law, human rights, and social and economic development, the benchmarks must address all these dimensions in a holistic, balanced and realistic manner. Only through such a broad-based and forward-looking strategy we can achieve our common objectives.

Likewise, continued and enhanced regional cooperation is another requirement to accomplish our goals in Afghanistan. Recently, there are a number of promising developments in this context, particularly with respect to Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. The international community should continue to encourage and help these efforts to further advance regional cooperation.

On its part, Turkey leads a trilateral cooperation process including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey. Building upon our excellent relations with both countries and our deep-rooted engagement in the peace, prosperity and stability of the region, we hope that this initiative will constitute another contribution to the international community's joint endeavors. In this context, I am pleased to inform you that the third Trilateral Summit within the framework was recently held in Ankara.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate once again what we have been saying from the first day on: That failure is not an option in Afghanistan. Indeed, given the stakes involved we must succeed and we are confident that we will.

We have every reason to believe that the proud people of Afghanistan, together with the help of the international community, will turn the challenges into opportunities and will pave the way for a bright and prosperous future. Our Afghani brothers and sisters who have suffered immensely from decades of war and destruction deserve no less.

Turkey will continue to contribute to the collective efforts in this direction and we will do everything possible to make sure that we achieve our common goals, sooner rather than later.

Thank you.