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Statement delivered by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Open Debate in Security Council on “The situation in Afghanistan”

Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity.
Italy joins in the expressions of appreciation for the work that UNAMA has done and supports the renewal of its mandate.

The first year of Afghanistan’s ‘transformation decade’ has been difficult and complex. There has been a troubling deterioration in the security situation due to an escalation in indiscriminate violence by insurgent groups and terrorist attacks.

The latest data is unequivocal: 2015 broke yet another tragic record in terms of civilian deaths. The increase concerns mainly the weakest categories of society including women, up by 37% from 2014, and children, up by 14%. As noted in the Secretary-General’s report there has also been a 78% increase in internal displacement.

In this context, the Afghan forces have shown great courage and resistance, at the cost of many lives lost. But the threat of destabilization and the challenges before Afghanistan today continue to be formidable and to demand the support of the international community as a whole.

Mr President,

Italy hereby reiterates its support for the efforts towards peace, security and stability in Afghanistan, and for the protection of the achievements reached so far in the fields of democracy, civil and social development. Among the most prominent of these are the gains in the rights of women and girls, which we must do our utmost to preserve and consolidate.

To this end, together with our NATO partners, we have renewed our presence in the framework of the Resolute Support mission. With our military contingent in Herat, Italy fulfils its role as Framework Nation for the western region of the country helping the Afghan defense and security forces to strengthen capacity and address autonomously the violent actions of insurgent groups.

We support the efforts of the National Unity Government towards the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. We salute the constructive dialogue forged in recent months among countries in the region, in particular between the Governments of Kabul and Islamabad, and we support the efforts of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group to foster peace talks between the Government, the Taliban, and other groups willing to negotiate. In this context, it is essential to ensure the active involvement of women’s representatives in negotiations and we appreciate the will expressed in this regard by the Afghan Government.

Mr. President,

Improving the security situation is also crucial to enabling Afghanistan to achieve growth and self-sustaining development, overcoming the current precarious economic situation, which creates uncertainty and has driven many citizens to migrate.

This is why it is absolutely necessary for Afghanistan to implement effectively the reforms outlined by the National Unity Government within the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework. Concrete progress in economic governance, rule of law, the fight against corruption, respect for human rights and especially the human rights of women, ensuring women’s empowerment at every level of society are a priority. It is also more urgent than ever to continue to pursue electoral reforms, in view of the parliamentary and district vote scheduled for next fall.

This will enable consolidation of the partnership with the international community on the basis of the principle of mutual commitments, in particular in view of the Brussels Conference and above all in the interest of the country and its people.

I thank you, Mr. President.