UN Security Council Open Debate on Afghanistan Statement by HE Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN

Ertuğrul Apakan 19.12.2011
Mr. President,

I wish to extend a warm greeting to Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan H.E. Jaweed Ludin, who is with us today. We welcome the insightful and comprehensive statement he has made today.

I would also like to thank Under-Secretary General Herve Ladsous for his insightful briefing. We take note of the valuable observations expressed in the Secretary General’s report.

Before I proceed any further let me also express our sincere appreciation to the outgoing Special Representative Staffan de Mistura for his strong leadership and dedication during a very critical time in Afghanistan. Our Embassy in Kabul and our authorities have enjoyed an excellent cooperation with him and his able team. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with him in his new capacity.
I would also like etxend a warm welcome to Mr. Jan Kubis. We are confident that his wealth of knowledge and experience will be an important asset for Afghanistan and for the whole international community, as Afghanistan goes through another important phase in its history. We look forward to also working in close cooperation with him in the coming weeks.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan has attained significant progress in the last ten years. Despite remaining challenges, today Afghanistan continues to invest in a better future for its people. In this respect we welcome the announcement of the second tranche of the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). We expect that by the end of Febuary 2012, half of the Afghan population will be under the security responsibility of ANSF.
As Afghans assume more responsibility for the security of their country, we should therefore equally focus our energies on sustainable development as well as institutional and civilian capacity building of the country.
Development needs of Afghanistan are immense and continued assistance of international community will be required over the long term. We believe that a strong focus on education is imperative if we seek to achieve prosperity for the country. We should therefore concentrate on educating future generations of Afghan boys and girls. Likewise, we should intensify our efforts to empower Afghan women. We must also continue to streghten the institutional capacity building to enable Afghan forces to fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

Mr. President,

Turkey considers regional ownership and cooperation as an essential element for lasting peace, stability and propserity not only in Afghanistan but also in the region as a whole.
Turkey hosted Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia on 2 November 2011, under the chairmanship of Turkish and Afghan Foreign Ministers. The Conference reaffirmed the strong commitment for a secure, stable and properous Afghanistan.
In Istanbul, parties, recognizing the central role of the United Nations, welcomed Afghanistan’s willingness and determination to use its regional and historical position to do its part to promote security and peaceful economic cooperation in the region. Mindful that the region and the international community are not seperated, they emphasized their stake in the security and stability of the region.
By launching the Istanbul Process, the Heart of Asia countries announced a new vision and their determination to own, lead and develop the efforts for enhanced cooperation.

We are now looking forward to the Ministerial level follow-up meeting, which will take place in Kabul in June 2012. We believe that Kabul Meeting will be an important opportunity to build on the momentum achieved by the Istanbul Process.

Mr. President,

As we move on with the transition period, with the eventual withdrawal of international military forces, it has become much more essential for the international community to continue its active and strong support to the Afghan Government in order to prevent the country from sliding into further instability once again and to avoid setbacks in the ongoing process of reconstruction as well.
We are therefore pleased with the successful conclusion of the Bonn Conference, which has reaffirmed international community’s commitment to Afghanistan beyond the transition decade. The transformation decade defined in Bonn, in which the Afghan people will be in full charge of their future, is an opportunity for us all to concentrate our efforts on the long-term sustainable development of Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Success in Afghanistan requires our long term commitment. We want to reiterate that Afghan ownership and leadership should be the key in our collective efforts.
Let me assure our Afghan brothers and sisters that our commitment to Afghanistan is long-term and we will continue to stand-by them as long as they require.
Thank you.