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Security Council – Meeting on the situation in Afghanistan

Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan —

Madam President,

At the outset, I congratulate to the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. We are proud of the close collaboration between our two countries in the framework of our split term.

Italy aligns itself with the statement that will be delivered by the European Union.

We welcome today’s unanimous vote on the renewal of UNAMA’s mandate. The mission plays a vital role in the partnership between Afghanistan and the International Community, in the face of extremely complex challenges and difficult conditions on the ground. From its efforts to facilitate the peace process to the delicate issues revolving around electoral processes and reforms, we strongly appreciate and support UNAMA’s contribution.

Madam President,

We condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that took place in Afghanistan and its capital in the past weeks. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Afghan Government and to the families of the victims. The intensity of the conflict remains worryingly high, with tragic effects on the population, as UNAMA’s regular reporting on civilian casualties continues to assess.

In this difficult context, we welcome President Ghani’s courageous peace offer, as presented during the second meeting of the Kabul Process which took place last week. This offer represents a tangible demonstration that the Afghan authorities are determined to pursue the objective of peace through dialogue with insurgent groups.

The National Unity Government’s proposal opens a political window of opportunity for the peace and reconciliation process, which must be explored and pursued to its fullest potential. We therefore hope that the Taliban will grasp the significance of this opening by accepting the Government’s invitation to come to the table in the spirit of sincere dialogue, with the shared objective of putting an end to the conflict and thus opening the way to a future of peace and prosperity for Afghanistan and its people.

We are aware that bringing about the conditions for a meaningful peace process is not an easy task. Every effort must be made in order to bring substance to this road map. To further this objective, it will be crucial to generate a broad national consensus in support of the peace process. We therefore appreciate and encourage the commitment of the Government and its relevant institutions to maintaining and strengthening its outreach efforts towards all components of Afghan society, on the basis of a truly inclusive approach.

In this context, it is essential that Afghan women are given the opportunity to play a primary and active role, first and foremost in order to ensure that the rights enshrined in the Constitution and the broader civil and social gains made in the last sixteen years are protected and promoted. We strongly appreciate the Government’s commitment in this regard, which should be reflected in its road map for peace.

Support of the Afghan people for the peace process will also be strengthened by the necessary cohesion between various political groups, as well as the ability of the Government to meet the needs of the population by enacting the necessary reforms. Ensuring that the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections are held in a timely, transparent and inclusive manner will certainly provide an important contribution to this goal.

Madam President,

Terrorism and violent extremism continue to pose a formidable obstacle on the road to peace. A decisive, common effort against this grave threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan remains a key factor. Italy continues to play its part in this regard in the framework of the ‘Resolute Support’ mission, by providing a significant contribution to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces (ANDSF).

To be fully successful in defeating terrorist groups, however, it is also necessary to bring about a close and genuine collaboration between regional stakeholders. This also applies to the fight against transnational criminal networks and drug trafficking.

We therefore encourage all efforts geared towards making concrete progress in terms of a constructive dialogue and effective cooperation between neighboring countries, on the basis of a common understanding that this kind of ‘win-win’ cooperation can bring tangible benefits to all parties.

Thank you and good luck for the rest of the Presidency.