Statement by Fazlı Çorman, Charge d'Affairs Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN, at UNSC Open Debate on Afghanistan

Fazlı Çorman 06.07.2011
Mr. President,

Let me begin by warmly greeting Ambassador Tanin and Special Representative de Mistura. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report and the Special Representative for his insightful briefing.

We are grateful for the dedicated and outsanding work UNAMA is carrying out in fullfilment of its mandate under the effective leadership of the SRSG de Mistura, in the face of very real and serious threats, which was last evidenced by the attack against the UNAMA compound in Mezar-ı Sharif on April 1. We strongly condemn and deplore this heinous attack and extend, once again, our condolences to the bereaved families of those who lost their lives as well as the UNAMA personnel and all the UN family.

We also condemn the recent spate of attacks by the insurgents against Afghan targets which have resulted in an increased loss of innocent civilian lives. These attacks cannot be tolerated and they will not deter the Afghans and the international community from the pursuit of a peaceful, secure and democratic Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is going through a historic period of transformation. The neighbors of Afghanistan as well as other relevant actors in the region and beyond should respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty and continue their multi-dimensional contributions towards solidifying it.

The transition of security responsibilities and the peace process as well as economic development are all at the core of efforts towards realizing the ultimate goal of full Afghan ownership. If one of these processes fails, the overall body of work will also falter.

The Afghan leadership of all processes related to Afghanistan is a fundamental principle. Security is a primary enabler that would facilitate development, governance, the rule of law and institutional capacity building.

In the past six months the military operations have reached unprecedented levels. Yet, lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan can only be founded on a political solution. Therefore, necessary time and space must be given to the Afghan peace process when windows of opportunity arise for reconciliation.

The prospects for peace in Afghanistan are stronger than ever. And let me underscore that the durability of peace in Afghanistan requires that it encompasses all segments of society. Enhanced national unity is the single most important basis upon which lasting peace and stability would take hold.

While the training of the Afghan National Security Forces is essential in fulfilling transition by the end of 2014, civilian capacity building and economic sustainability are just as important post-2014. We urge all donors to intensify their contributions to civilian capacity development and economic viability.

A benign regional order is an indispensable pillar of Afghan peace, sovereignty, development and prosperity. In turn, Afghanistan’s peace, sovereignty and prosperity would constitute indispensable pillars of the peace and prosperity of its neighborhood.

In this regard, we will continue to pursue efforts in support of the regional dimension. At the Regional Countries’ meeting hosted by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, in Istanbul on 10 May, which is referenced in the SG’s report, the preparations for the “Istanbul Conference on Afghanistan“ to be held in Istanbul on 2 November 2011 have been launched. The International Contact Group Regional Cooperation Working Group meetings held respectively in Istanbul and Kabul on 3 June and 26 June under the co-chairmanship of Turkey and UNAMA have been useful in eliciting broad support of the region as well as beyond, leading up to the upcoming Istanbul Conference.

A set of commonalities have already been emerging. The “2002 Kabul Declaration on Good Neighborly Relations” was a ground breaking document. The 2010 “Istanbul Statement on Friendship and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia” went even beyond the Kabul Declaration by setting out a common regional vision and constituted a welcome milestone.

But, since Istanbul last year, the regional work as well as the circumstances and requirements have moved on significantly. And hopefully all of this will be put to paper in a format which will be undersigned by the Istanbul Conference participants. We know that this is what Afghanistan wants from the regional meetings.

We therefore intend the Istanbul Conference to be a turning-point in the regional dimension. As always, we are looking forward to the strong support of the international community, the importance of which has already been emphasized in the SG’s report.

We will be working closely with Afghanistan, the United Nations, as well as all other relevant countries and organizations in the run up to the Istanbul Conference on Afghanistan, which is slated to be one of the top international events of this year.

I thank you Mr. President.