Statement delivered by Italy at the Security Council Opne Debate on the situation in Afghanistan —
At the outset I wish to congratulate the Russian Federation on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of September. We are deeply grateful to SRSG Yamamoto, Director Fedotov and Ambassador Djani for their comprehensive presentations. I also wish to thank the permanent representative of Afghanistan for her update on the situation in the country and on the election process. Italy aligns with the statement to be delivered later by the European Union.
While the situation in Afghanistan remains extremely volatile at present, these uncertainties should not lead us to overlook the significant progress made in recent months in the negotiations to achieve peace.
In this challenging context, UNAMA remains an essential point of reference for the prospects of stability and development in Afghanistan, and we look forward for the renewal of its mandate in the coming days. I cannot continue my remarks today, however, without first expressing our firm condemnation of the heinous terrorist attacks that have again struck Afghanistan and its capital in recent weeks. We are horrified by the Taliban’s latest attack in Kabul, and convey our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
Italy’s sincere hope is that this current phase constitutes an inevitable but necessary moment for the parties to reflect; an opportunity to develop a shared awareness of the deeper significance that lies behind a peace negotiation. Such talks require a great sense of responsibility on the part of all stakeholders, and their behavior should be in keeping with the spirit of dialogue. Above all, laying the foundations for a successful peace process requires the patient rebuilding of trust, which is impossible in an environment of escalating violence.
It is therefore cynical and unacceptable for the Taliban to resort to indiscriminate violence against civilians as a tool to gain leverage. What the negotiations need to do instead is reassure all stakeholders, and first and foremost the Afghan people, that the cycle of violence which has prevailed in recent years can indeed be reversed.
Efforts made thus far in order to advance peace talks should not be dispersed. On the contrary, they should constitute the basis for reviving debate and dialogue between the parties. We therefore hope that the window of opportunity for peace – pursued so resolutely and tenaciously in recent months – will remain open. Peace is the only guarantee of a stable and prosperous future for Afghanistan.
Italy thus reiterates its full support for those diplomatic initiatives that can facilitate the start of a reconciliation process in Afghanistan, under Afghan leadership and ownership, including a primary role for Afghan women in order to assure that their Constitutional rights and hard-won civil and social gains are adequately safeguarded.
In this regard, we also reaffirm the importance of the contribution that the main regional stakeholders can make to the peace process.
Addressing the constant threats to security entails high costs, draining precious resources and energies that are urgently needed for institution-building and for the economic and social development of Afghanistan.
Italy continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Afghan partners and, in the framework of Mission Resolute Support, alongside the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, which bravely fight every day against terrorism and violent extremism in order to restore stability and security.
In closing, I wish to refer to the now imminent presidential elections scheduled for September 28, which must be credible, transparent and inclusive. The upcoming election must provide the Afghan people with a tangible demonstration of the progress made towards democratic maturity, and a framework for further strengthening Afghanistan’s political institutions.
Above all, the election will constitute an opportunity for the people to reaffirm their strong desire for peace, which is shared by all Afghans. Building a broad-based consensus for peace through elections can also be a crucial means to improve the prospects for intra-afghan dialogue.
I thank you.