Statement by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan —
Thank you Madam President, members of the Council,
Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union.
I would like to express our gratitude to the Secretary General for his excellent report as well as to SRSG Yamamoto for his comprehensive briefing and for his dedication.
Italy supports the continuing efforts of the Government of Afghanistan to defeat terrorism and violent extremism. We remain concerned by the continuing fragility of the security situation and the alarming level of civilian casualties.
Together with our allies and partners Italy renewed its active commitment to the ‘Resolute Support’ mission, as one of its Framework Nations, and we will also continue to be one of the main financial contributors to the capacity-building efforts in support of the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces.
These commitments are underscored by a shared understanding that the only road to lasting peace in Afghanistan lies in reconciliation, leading to a political settlement. We commend the Government’s courageous initiatives in this regard, which we fully support.
The fact that the most recent ceasefire was not reciprocated by the Taliban demonstrates however that the road to peace is still long. Efforts to bring about peace in Afghanistan will require patience, determination and unity of purpose.
We underline once again the crucial role of international – and especially regional – stakeholders, who can help in fostering the conditions for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
The Government of Afghanistan’s efforts to advance the reconciliation process are taking place against a backdrop full of significant milestones in Afghanistan, first and foremost in the electoral sphere, with parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on October 20th and presidential elections slated for next year.
It has been eight years since the last parliamentary elections. We cannot overstate, therefore, the importance that the men and women of Afghanistan be able to cast their vote in the context of a credible, transparent and inclusive manner. We hope that all political forces will remain fully engaged in this process, and we support the active involvement of civil society groups in ensuring that the vote is free and fair.
The Government’s commitments in the electoral sphere are part of the broader efforts to effectively implement much needed reforms in a wide range of areas, such as women’s empowerment, good governance and anti-corruption.
In pursuing the reform agenda, the needs and the potential of the Afghan youth must be fully taken into consideration.
Evaluating the progress on this reform agenda will be the cornerstone of the Geneva Conference in November. Italy looks forward to the conference as an opportunity to draw a comprehensive assessment of the ‘state of play’ in the partnership for peace, and prosperity agreed between the Government of Afghanistan and the international donors two years ago in Brussels.
In closing, allow me to reiterate Italy’s appreciation for the exceptional work carried out by UNAMA under SRSG Yamamoto’s leadership, in an environment that continues to pose numerous challenges.
I thank you.