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Madame President,

I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and the Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing.

Italy fully aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union and would like to add a few remarks in a national capacity.

Italy wishes to express its satisfaction over the renewal of the mandate of UNAMA, a pillar of the international civilian presence in Afghanistan and a fundamental contribution to the development and stabilization of the Country. From the time of its original mandate, and with each successive renewal, UNAMA has made a remarkable contribution to accompanying Afghanistan on its road to growth, human rights protection, and institutional strengthening. We greatly appreciate the generous efforts of the women and men of UNAMA, who often serve in trying conditions to bring assistance to the Afghani people, under the commendable leadership of the Secretary-General and his special representative for Afghanistan.

Between now and the end of 2014, Afghanistan has to meet a series of crucial appointments: in particular, the holding of presidential elections and the completion of the transitional process. The election will mark the first time in the Country’s history of a turnover from one Head of State to another through a democratic process. And the completion of the transitional process will pave the way to ISAF and mission “Resolute Support.”

Madame President,

It is vital that the electoral process, from start to finish be regular, leading to the proclamation of the new Head of State. Acceptance of the result by the defeated parties and public opinion will depend on the perception that the electoral process has been legitimate, credible, transparent and inclusive. Consequently, so will a peaceful and seamless political transition. To this end, the United Nations should dedicate its support also to continue aiding the Country on its path to civil and economic development.

The proper and orderly holding of the presidential and provincial elections will have to contend firmly with the security factor. This is the responsibility of the Afghani National Security Forces (ANSF), which are making constant progress in the difficult daily challenge of controlling the territory. Unfortunately, terrorist assassination attempts and attacks define everyday life in Afghanistan. A circumstance that, on the one hand, means we cannot lower our guard, and on the other, that the road to the final stabilization of the Country will require more time.

Madame President,

On the completion of the transition process, it is of fundamental importance that Afghanistan and the United States sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA) in the near term, since the delay is having a clear impact on planning NATO’s future presence in Afghanistan. At stake is the entire framework of the international community’s future commitment to Afghanistan in the political, military, and financial spheres.

Italy reaffirms its conviction that until there is not domestic reconciliation within Afghanistan, there will be no prospects for stabilization. Nor can any stabilization be lasting without the genuine and heartfelt contribution of the other regional stakeholders. Italy thus confirms its support for the peace process, recognizing the full ownership of Afghanistan. In so saying, we also voice our expectation that there will be no backtracking in the area of democratic gains and civil and gender rights, or yielding to terrorism.

Madame President,

In such a fluid phase of the stabilization process and development of Afghanistan, it is essential not to lower ambitions, nor to sacrifice the quality and quantity of the benchmarks the Kabul Authorities are called on to respect. We thus expect our Afghan friends to honor the legacy of Tokyo, and to achieve certain and measurable results in areas such as the democratic and electoral process, the fight against corruption, administrative and economic governance, and human rights. This is another reason why Italy so appreciates the important space that the UNAMA resolution dedicates to these aspects, in particular the protection of human rights in all its aspects.