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

Baki İlkin 23.08.2005
Mr. President,

Since I am taking the floor for the first time in the month of August, allow me to congratulate you for your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council and wish you every success.

May I also extend our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report describing the present situation in Afghanistan.

I also would like to thank Mr. Jean Arnault, the Special Representative, for his briefing today and commend him and his colleagues for their efforts in trying to promote democracy, peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Turkey has already aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of the United Kingdom a short while ago on behalf of the European Union. In light of Turkey's deep-rooted historical and friendly ties with Afghanistan, I am taking the floor to highlight a few points with regard to my country's views.

The adoption of a Constitution on 4 January 2004 and the direct Presidential elections held on 9 October 2004 constituted important milestones in the Bonn process and reaffirmed the dedication of the Afghan people to achieve reconciliation, peace and stability in their country and thus in their region. We very much hope that the last benchmark of the Bonn Agreement, that is the parliamentary and provincial council elections of 18 September 2005, will be held on time and in a secure environment.

Mr. President,

As of February 2005, Turkey assumed for the second time the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with the participation of a large Turkish military contingent, in order to consolidate peace, tranquility, law and order in Afghanistan. As stated in the Secretary-General's report, after having fulfilled her mission Turkey handed over the command to Italy on 4 August 2005. However it is needless to say that Turkey's strong commitment for the security, unity, reconstruction and welfare of Afghanistan will continue unabated. The visit made by the Turkish Prime Minister in April 2005 to Afghanistan, which took place during our leadership of ISAF, gave our Government the opportunity to confirm its readiness to assist and support Afghanistan in every possible way.

Mr. President,

The only option open for Afghanistan is success. Hence the continued commitment of the international community for the realization of this goal is and will remain essential in the months and years to come.

Thank you.