Allow me first, on the occasion of his last briefing in the current capacity, to join in the expressions of appreciation and gratitude addressed to Special Representative Nicholas Haysom for his outstanding work and unrelenting commitment as Head of UNAMA in a very delicate juncture in the history of Afghanistan.
I would like also to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report.
Italy aligns itself with the statement by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity.
Afghanistan’s security and stability is still under threat by continued attacks and violence of Taliban and other hostile insurgent groups.
New tragic records on civilian casualties in Afghanistan have been documented by UNAMA: nearly 2.000 civilian victims in the first quarter of 2016 and, what is particularly worrisome, children represent almost one third of all victims. Internal Displaced People and Afghan migrants flows have considerably increased, nourished also by a precarious economic scenario.
Against this challenging background, I would like to reiterate the full support of Italy to the efforts of the Afghan National Unity Government towards peace and stability and to defend the important gains achieved in Afghanistan in the last fifteen years in terms of democratization, basic freedoms, human rights, women and girls’ education.
It is the purpose of the active participation of Italy to the Resolute Support Mission, together with NATO members and the other partners, as Framework Nation in the Western region, providing training and assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, which with great courage and with sacrifice are carrying out their task to protect their Country and its people.
A long lasting peace in Afghanistan will hardly be sustainable without a political solution. To this end a sound collaboration among all regional players is pivotal. Terrorism is a global and destabilizing threat. We therefore support all the diplomatic efforts such those undertaken by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group aimed at easing the conditions for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, by engaging neighboring countries and establishing a needed constructive dialogue.
However, a process of peace must not endanger the achievements so painstakingly gained over the years in the sphere of human, civil, and social rights, particularly for women and girls – as is ultimately reflected in the Afghan Constitution – representing one of the pillars of Afghanistan’s democratic growth and partnership with the international community.
We also encourage and support the initiatives such as interconnectivity and trade infrastructural projects aimed at fostering economic integration and cooperation in the region which would significantly contribute to the development and prosperity of all its countries. Afghanistan is the first beneficiary of Italy’s development aid and contribute to reduce the main structural connectivity gaps in the Country represent one of the main goals of our cooperation with Afghanistan.
The Afghan Government has started a reform process which is fundamental for the democratic consolidation and the self-reliance of Afghanistan. Progress in sectors such as rule of law, especially the critical fight against corruption, economic governance, electoral reform, respect of human rights, in particular women’s rights and women‘s empowerment at every level of society, are essential.
Thus, we commend the determination on its commitment on reform and the encouraging results obtained by the Government on this regard, such as the increase of fiscal revenues, key appointments and new measures anti-corruption. But further tangible achievements on the basis of the mutual accountability principles must now follow.
Looking at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, next October, continuous concrete progress by the Afghan Government on its reform and governance agenda combined with the sustained support of international community is the key to success in this challenge to boost the state-building and ensure sustainable growth and prosperity to Afghanistan and its people.