Statement by H.E. Mr. Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey, on Situation in Afghanistan

Halit Çevik 16.03.2015

Thank you Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to express our appreciation to the French Presidency for convening this meeting. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and his Special Representative Mr. Nicholas Haysom for his briefing and Ambassador Zahir Tanin for his statement.

Afghanistan stands at a crucial junction in terms of its political, security and economic transformation. We welcome the continuation of the transformation processes in the country. However, the significant gains of the past years, including in the fields of security, democracy, governance, capacity and institution building, economic development and human rights are not yet at a point of no return. The launch of the transformation decade necessitates enhanced efforts for consolidating the achievements in these fields.

The international community’s continuing support remains to be vital for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan that can effectively serve the needs of its people. The steps we take and the messages we give now will have immense impact on the way in which the next decade will unfold. Therefore, we attach particular importance for all to refrain from mentioning any misguiding dates, which could imply the drawing down of the international community’s commitment to Afghanistan at an early stage incompatible with the situation and requirements on the ground.

Mr. President,

The resolution renewing the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is timely, when change and transformation dominate the agenda of Afghanistan. We believe that the comprehensive role assumed by UNAMA in assisting the Afghan people for achieving a bright future is of utmost importance. Turkey will continue to support UNAMA’s activities and efforts in this regard.

The National Unity Government’s resolve in carrying Afghanistan forward should be commended. We welcome and support the robust reform agenda the Afghan leadership has embarked upon, including in the fields of governance, rule of law, fight against corruption, as well as, its efforts for an Afghan-led and owned reconciliation process. The international community’s support to the efforts of the government of Afghanistan with full respect to the principles of Afghan leadership, ownership and sovereignty will be particularly important.

Mr. President,

The issue of civilian casualties continue to be a source of grave concern in Afghanistan. Regrettably, 2014 has marked 22 percent increase in the number of civilian casualties compared to the previous year. We believe that addressing this issue should remain among the top priorities of our common agenda.

Furthermore, we condemn the terrorist attacks that have been perpetrated in the country since the Security Council’s last debate on Afghanistan in December 2014, including an attack carried out on the route of a Turkish Embassy vehicle in Kabul last month, which claimed the life of one Turkish Armed Forces personnel and wounded another. We reiterate our conviction that the perpetrators of such attacks will not achieve their goals of dragging Afghanistan into instability and confirm that we will always stand by Afghanistan in its struggle against terrorism.

Mr. President,

The Secretary-General’s report underscores that, and I quote, “peace remains the fundamental precondition to durable and sustained political and economic progress in Afghanistan”. In fact, a successful Afghan-led inclusive reconciliation process would serve to eliminate obstacles impeding social, political and economic development.

Furthermore, at a time of transformation, the importance of regional cooperation and commitment becomes all the more relevant. We welcome all bilateral and multilateral dialogue and cooperation efforts to this end. With this understanding, we also welcome the increased momentum that has been achieved through the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process. Concrete projects emerging from increased cooperation will facilitate economic development, stability and self-sustainability in the region.

Turkey remains committed to standing by the people of Afghanistan in this transformation process, including in the fields of security and development. In addition to Turkey’s financial commitments for the funding of the Afghan National Security Forces, Turkey has assumed the Framework Nation role for Kabul in the new Resolute Support Mission.

Mr. President,

The international community’s solidarity and continued commitment will strengthen the hopes of the Afghan people for a bright future. Turkey will continue to contribute to a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Thank you.