Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union and wishes to add some remarks in its national capacity.
Allow me to begin by expressing our appreciation, too, for the work of UNAMA, and voicing Italy’s support for the renewal of its mandate, because of the action it has performed and the fundamental contribution it has made to coordinate the international community’s actions in support of Afghanistan toward the common goal of achieving peace and sustainable development in the Country.
I wish to underline the precious added value provided by UNAMA during the troubled election season of last year, which concluded with the formation of a national unity government and the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history.
The completion of the ISAF mission and the hand-over of responsibility for security to the Afghan forces – in the framework of a fruitful collaboration with NATO and the other Countries that continues today with the Resolute Support mission – confirm the importance of UNAMA’s future role and activities.
The challenges facing Afghanistan remain considerable, in particular the security situation. We cannot, in fact, ignore the gravity of the situation that emerges from the report prepared by UNAMA, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. The report indicates a 22% increase in civilian victims in Afghanistan in 2014 over the previous year. These are extremely disturbing figures that make it imperative to achieve peace in the Country.
In this perspective developments in relations between Afghanistan and other regional players are positive. The close collaboration among the Countries of the area is decisive to attaining peace and stability not only in Afghanistan but throughout the region. But focusing on the hoped-for process of domestic reconciliation that, in its Afghan-led and Afghan-owned dimension, should not lead to any backtracking on the gains made in democracy and civil rights, particularly the civil rights of women, or to any concessions to terrorism. These gains represent a legacy that must not only be defended but also further consolidated.
Italy stands alongside the National Unity Government and its leadership, to which we lend our full support, and its efforts to assure peace, security and prosperity to the Country and the people. This is what inspires our participation in the Resolute Support mission, in particular in the western region of the Country. And this is the target of our cooperation assistance, in the framework of a long-term commitment from Italy and the whole international community to benefit Afghanistan.
This partnership is based on the principle of reciprocal commitments, as affirmed in Tokyo and reiterated last December in London, which require a resolute pursuit of reforms in the Country in the areas of the democratic and electoral processes, the fight against corruption, administrative and economic governance, and human rights, particularly the human rights of women, which are prerequisites to enabling Afghanistan to progress resolutely on the road to democratic consolidation and self-sustainable social and economic development.
This is a challenging responsibility but it is at the same time unavoidable. This is why it is so important to complete the government team at the central and local levels. We hope this will take place soon, to enable the Government to effectively deploy its action to concretely implement reforms and achieve the hoped-for results. We are convinced that, for this action to be successful, the role of UNAMA continues to be crucial. Which is one more reason why Italy supports the renewal of its mandate.
Thank you, Mr. President.