Statement delivered by Italy at the Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan
At the outset I would like to thank SRSG Yamamoto, Executive Director Fedotov, and USG Voronkov for their comprehensive briefing. Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.
Events over the past days and weeks highlight how the security challenges facing Afghanistan remain extremely complex. International support through the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, in which Italy participates and contributes as a Framework Nation, therefore remains necessary.
As many Council members have already noted in this debate, however, we have recently been witnessing some truly encouraging developments. We salute President Ghani’s courageous peace offer extended last February, as well as the announcement of a unilateral cease-fire during the last phase of Ramadan and the decision to prolong it. For the first time since 2001, the cease fire was also initially reciprocated by the Taliban.
The political significance of these events was further amplified by the unanimously positive reactions from both the Afghan population and the International Community. Allow me to reiterate, in this framework, Italy’s unequivocally support to these initiatives, which we hope can serve as a catalyst for the peace and reconciliation process.
We encourage all actors and stakeholders to interpret these developments with the necessary caution, without losing sight of the hope for a peaceful future they have generated. This phase requires a heightened sense of responsibility from all sides, and in this context we urge the Taliban to react positively to President Ghani’s peace offer.
We have before us a window of opportunity, which manifests itself in the Afghan people’s clear longing for a sustainable peace and can gain further momentum if all relevant regional and international actors work together constructively in order to remove the remaining obstacles to peace.
Tangible cooperation between neighbors on confronting terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime networks remains essential. We welcome, in this context, the bilateral dialogue between Kabul and Islamabad: effective cooperation on issues of common interest can also serve as an instrument to significantly improve the prospects for peace.
Afghanistan is rapidly approaching a long electoral season, culminating with the presidential election scheduled to take place in 2019. The holding of free, fair, credible and inclusive parliamentary and district elections this coming October will be a crucial milestone for Afghanistan’s democratic institutions, also in terms of delivering results for the Afghan people. This objective would also provide a tangible demonstration of the Government’s commitment to reform in the run up to the Geneva Conference.
We appreciate the efforts made over the past few weeks by the Afghan Government and the relevant electoral institutions, leading to a noteworthy increase in voter registration. It is certainly encouraging that almost one third of those who have registered are women.
Allow me to reiterate, in this context, the crucial importance of protecting and promoting women’s rights. We encourage the Government to continue in its efforts in this regard, since the gains made thus far cannot be taken for granted, as demonstrated by UNICEF’s recent data on declining primary school participation while also taking into account the difficult security situation in many parts of the country.
In conclusion I would like to renew our sincere appreciation for the important role and contribution that Special Representiative and UNAMA provide in the framework of the International Community’s efforts to bring peace, stability and development to Afghanistan.
I thank you.Security Council – Meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan
Statement delivered by Italy, at the Security Council Meeting on the situation in Afghanistan