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Assemblea Generale – Riunione Plenaria on “The situation in Afghanistan”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Plenary Meeting on “The situation in Afghanistan”. —

Mr. President,

Italy welcomes the opportunity to participate in the annual debate on Afghanistan in the this Assembly and we wish at the outset to reiterate our full support to the resolution to be adopted. We also align ourselves with the statement made by the European Union.

Italy remains committed to the enduring partnership between the International Community and Afghanistan. Together, we will persevere in our common efforts to create an environment that allows the Afghan people to look towards a future of peace, economic prosperity and self-reliance.

This partnership is essential precisely because Afghanistan continues to face daunting challenges, first and foremost in the security arena. The cycle of violence has continued to exact a terrible toll on civilians, and especially on the most vulnerable categories of the Afghan population, such as women and children.

As Framework Nation of the ‘Resolute Support’ mission, Italy continues to train, advise and assist the Afghan national security and defense forces, and we honor their bravery and sacrifices on the battlefield.

Mr. President,

The best path to enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan remains today in a negotiated solution through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process. Intra-Afghan negotiations must begin as soon as possible, and should ensure the full buy-in of all layers of Afghan society.

Italy strongly supports the ongoing engagement by international stakeholders to promote the revitalization of the peace process. We hope that the window of opportunity for peace – pursued so resolutely and tenaciously in recent months – will remain open.

We must also maintain a strategic approach, recognizing that sustainable peace is a long-term project. The process should be as inclusive as possible, including a primary and meaningful role for Afghan women at the negotiating table. This will be essential in order to ensure that their Constitutional rights and the hard-won civil and social gains are fully safeguarded.

We welcome the holding of the Afghan-led presidential elections last September, in spite of the insurgency’s attempts to disrupt the process, which we condemn. The credibility and transparency of the electoral process must be maintained during the final tabulation of the votes as well. We hope the definitive results will be announced as soon as possible.

Italy welcomes the partnership between the Afghan Government and the International Community to advance wide-ranging, meaningful reforms. We look forward to the next international pledging conference in 2020, which will be an opportunity to take stock of the progress made and to reaffirm our mutual commitment to foster a future of peace, prosperity and sustainable development.

It remains imperative, in this context, to strengthen the measures to fight corruption. This will build people’s confidence in the institutions and have a positive impact on private sector development, which is a key element for a more open and productive society.

In closing, I wish to reaffirm Italy’s full support to UNAMA and the key role that the mission plays in the framework of the partnership between Afghanistan and the International Community.

I thank you.