Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan

Baki İlkin 09.07.2008
Mr. President,

Though Turkey has already aligned itself with the EU statement, I still would like to touch upon some issues that deserve particular attention.

The recent Paris Conference marked the renewal of our long-term commitment to Afghanistan while firmly underscoring the priority areas designed to ensure better and safer living standards for our Afghan brothers and sisters.

Indeed much has been achieved in Afghanistan so far. Yet there remains more to be done. And we all know there is no quick fix to the mostly structural problems stemming from the devastation of the past. The Secretary-General's latest report makes it clear that if the Afghan people are to continue reaping the benefits of achievements, there needs to be a stronger UN presence in the country and closer partnership between the Afghan Government, the UN, NATO and the rest of the international community under Afghan ownership and leadership. To enhance the sense of ownership we also need to make Afghan people see the positive developments which have already started to improve their daily lives.

The successful implementation of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) will pave the way for attaining the goals set out by Afghanistan Compact. In this arduous task, international community has to be ever more active, resourceful and forthcoming to support the efforts of the Afghan Government. And we believe UNAMA has an important coordinating role to play in this regard. We fully concur with the Secretary-General's reflections on the priority areas and his recommendations contained in the report. In this context, I want to place a special emphasis on the need to enhance the capabilities of UNAMA. The international community's resolve and commitment should also be fully reflected by structurally reinforcing the UN Mission in a quick fashion so.

The terms, security and prosperity are inseparable and complementary. In the case of Afghanistan, security situation might easily become a big stumbling block in our joint efforts to bring about a bright future there. The recent upheaval of terrorist activity has again showed us that if not properly checked in, these subversive operations have the potential to derail all our achievements in Afghanistan.

There is no hesitation that the Afghan security forces should be the ones in the forefront to combat against terrorism. However, the complexity of this threat requires a holistic and coordinated regional approach, as this threat unfortunately has the strong propensity to cast a spillover effect on the region. We strongly believe that our Afghan and Pakistani brothers would further increase their collaboration to curb this scourge.

Mr. President,

Turkey's commitment to Afghanistan is long-term one. Turkey has already made extensive and concrete contributions to security and economic development in Afghanistan. At the Paris Conference Turkish Government has allocated another 100 million US Dollars for the economic development and reconstruction, to be disbursed in the next 3 years. This doubles our total commitment to 200 million US Dollars. We have also recently earmarked 5 million US Dollars to be utilized in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

Assisting the international efforts to build a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan is one of the high ranking foreign policy agenda items of Turkey. We will certainly continue to support Afghanistan in every way we can through international mechanisms and bilaterally.

Thank you.