Statement by H.E. Ambassador Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop
Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations
22 December 2010
I thank Special Representative Staffan de Mistura for his briefing and for the work he and his team carry out in UNAMA. I also thank Ambassador Zahir Tanin for his statement.
As 2010 comes to a close, this debate provides a good opportunity to take stock of an eventful year, in particular with respect to the relations between Afghanistan and the international community. The overall balance is positive, despite the need for further progress.
The summit between NATO and the Government of Afghanistan last November completed the framework for the process of transition to increased Afghan responsibility for its security initiated with President Karzai’s second inaugural speech and the London Conference. The message of the declaration signed in Lisbon is clear from its very title: “Enduring Partnership”. The transition process, consistent with the London and Kabul commitments, is to be carried out consistent with NATO’s “long-term commitment to a sovereign, independent, democratic, secure and stable Afghanistan”. The challenge now is to translate this commitment into concrete realities on the ground.
The fact that Afghanistan has been exceeding the force generation targets for its Army and Police is an encouraging evidence of its determination to assume greater responsibility for its own security. Afghans deserve continued international support to such effort, including through the provision of necessary equipment and capabilities. Such cooperation is crucial to bring down today’s record high number of civilian casualties, more than 3/4 of which caused by armed opposition groups. Also on the part of the pro-government forces, although important progress has been made to protect civilians, more should be done to spare them from further suffering.
Redoubling the efforts towards peace and reintegration is vital in this regard, as it is quite clear that a durable solution will not be possible exclusively through military means. My delegation is encouraged that a number of alleged combatants from the rank and file of armed opposition groups have already approached Afghan authorities expressing their intention to lay down arms and return to their communities. We hope that this can become a consistent and firm trend, which paves the way for substantive peace talks at the senior level. Another important development was the participation of High Peace Council and Government Officials in the conference on Justice and Reconciliation convened by civil society organizations and UNAMA. Increasing consultation with civil society regarding Afghan peace, reconciliation and reintegration efforts can contribute significantly to ensure a peace that is just and does not sacrifice the achievements of the recent years, especially on human and women’s rights.
The parliamentary elections showed that Afghan authorities could learn the lessons of the past and move forward towards consolidating democracy. Even though there were a number of allegations of frauds and irregularities and despite security, logistical and political challenges, the electoral institutions were able to investigate and address complaints effectively. The will of the Afghan people and the decisions of the independent electoral institutions are to be respected by all without undue interference.
However, as always, improvements can be made, including some that actually depend on the security situation, such as increasing voter turn-out and making progress in long-term electoral reform.
Brazil welcomes the progress that the Government of Afghanistan has made in its Kabul Process commitments. We appreciate, in particular, the establishment of a monitoring and reporting framework to track progress on the implementation of the national priority programmes, the achievement of more than 70% of the October benchmarks and the detailing of short and medium implementation plans for the programmes. As the Afghan Government shifts its focus to their implementation and delivery, international support will be all the more critical and urgent.
We note, in this regard, the paucity of information regarding progress by the international community on their commitments to the Afghan Government. One possible measure to fill this gap could be to set up a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the fulfillment of international commitments to increase budget aid and realign off-budget aid.
The IV Regional Economic Conference on Afghanistan, in Istanbul, and the progress on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement were important milestones in the regional cooperation with Afghanistan. The implementation of the Agreement and of the conclusions of the Conference can make a significant contribution to the social and economic development of Afghanistan and to its full integration in its sub-region. We also commend the holding of the Afghanistan International Investment Conference, in Dubai.
The response to the attack against the UN compound in Heart showed the UN ability to learn from past misfortunes. We commend the enhancement of security arrangements for UN facilities in Afghanistan and the increase in secure accommodation. The establishment of the support office in Kuwait and the acquisition of the Alpha Compound have helped to reduce the deficit of international staff in UNAMA, although the vacancy rate remains high. We encourage the SG and the SRSG to continue their efforts in support of UNAMA’s ability to carry out its mandate.
In closing, allow me to express Brazil’s expectation that, as 2010 was the year when Afghanistan and the international community renewed their partnership and set forth a framework for a responsible transition, 2011 may become the year when we deliver on our mutual commitments and help bring about the prosperity, the stability and the peace the Afghan people rightly deserve.