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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.

The uncertainty of the result after the Afghan elections and the continued absence of a new President, in the framework of the last phase of the Transition Process – a very delicate juncture for Afghanistan – are a source of grave concern for the future of the Country.

This is why it is crucial for the electoral process to reach a positive outcome in the short term – an outcome that is accepted and trusted by a majority of the Afghani peoples. The search for the necessary dialogue between the parties should be driven by the highest interest of the Country. It is thus our strong hope that the efforts undertaken by the international community – in particular the United States and Special Representative Kubis, whom we support fully – will be crowned by success.

To achieve this goal, all the stakeholders must show great moderation and a sense of responsibility, avoiding divisive initiatives that might undermine an agreement.

Madame President,

We expect the commitment of the two presidential candidates – reiterated in the message addressed to the NATO Heads of State and Government at the Celtic Manor Summit – to become concrete as quickly as possible, so as to create a solid foundation for the socioeconomic development, pacification and stabilization of the Country.

Today it is more urgent than ever that the electoral process be finalized through the installation of a new President and a new Government. This will also reward the widespread action and commitment of the Afghan National Security Forces to guarantee to the Afghan people the right to express their wishes at the ballot box, and to limit the insurgency’s attempts at destabilization. The insurgency continues to be a dangerous force, as demonstrated by the fresh wave of terrorist acts in recent months.

This is why Italy, together with its partners, has confirmed the commitment it made in Chicago two years ago – reaffirmed most recently at the Celtic Manor Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government – to support the ANSF in the transition to the post-ISAF phase. At the same time, however, Afghanistan should implement transparency and accountability criteria in the management of the resources allocated to it.

The prompt signature of the Bilateral Security Agreement between Afghanistan and the United States and of the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO is imperative if the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) is to start. The purpose of these agreements is to provide the necessary legal framework for the presence of international troops in the Country.

Madame President,

Italy reiterates its wish to carry on its more than decade-long commitment to foster the development and stabilization of Afghanistan, in coordination with the broader action of the international community.

The conditions for this to happen are based, consistent with the legacy of Tokyo, on concrete, measurable progress by the Afghan parties in the field of human rights, particularly of women, and of democratic principles, the fight against corruption and drug trafficking, administrative and economic governance. In these areas, thanks also to the ISAF mission, Afghanistan has made giant steps forward, though much remains to be done.