Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly Agenda Item 16: The Situation in Afghanistan

Baki İlkin 28.11.2006
Madame Chair,

Turkey aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Finland on behalf of the European Union. However, given Turkey's special ties with Afghanistan, I want to make a few additional remarks in order to reaffirm our support to the ongoing reconstruction process in this country.

It has been more than four years since we opened a new page in Afghanistan. In retrospect, the progress achieved to date is truly substantial. What has been accomplished by the Afghani people is indeed commendable.

However, there are still major challenges lying ahead. Therefore, we should continue to act with full resolve to contribute to the creation of a democratic, secure and stable Afghanistan.

In this regard, the resolution before us strikes a good balance with what has been achieved and what still remains to be done in Afghanistan. It contains all the elements of a check-list that can guide us towards the right end. Given their interlinked nature, only through a comprehensive process we can fully achieve these objectives.

Accordingly, we fully support the Compact process which has been initiated less than a year ago along these lines. It has already started yielding results and we remain committed to its successful completion.

In this regard, the year ahead of us is critical to be able to make good on our commitments. Not only do we have to consolidate the initial successes of the Compact process and extend it country-wide, but we should also stand firmly against the re-emerging forces of darkness and instability that try to hold back Afghanistan from its march towards progress and prosperity.

In particular, the increase in drug trafficking and the worsening of the security situation in the south and east of the country require our immediate and resolute attention and action.

Madame Chair,

Taking this opportunity, I would like to reiterate my country's determination to continue to stand by the Afghan people. We believe in their great potential and feel that they deserve the full support of all of us in their endeavour to carry Afghanistan forward.

This is why, after leading ISAF twice in the last three years, we still maintain a large contingent in the country as part of the NATO forces. We have also recently launched and assumed the full responsibility of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Vardak Province, north of Kabul.

To sum up, we will continue to assist our Afghani brethren in every way we can. We are thus pleased to be one of the co-sponsors of today's resolution which is precisely designed for that purpose. While extending our appreciation to Germany for skillfully coordinating the negotiations on the resolution,

I thank you for your attention.