'A political settlement remains the best way to secure a sustainable peace in Afghanistan'

Statement by Ambassador Lyall Grant to the UN Security Council Open Debate on Afghanistan

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UN Security Council

Thank you Mr President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative Nicholas Haysom for his first briefing to this Council this morning and to welcome him into this important new role. I also thank the Executive Director of UNODC Yury Fedotov for his briefing this morning and also Ambassador Tanin for his comments.

Mr President,

I will focus my statement today on three areas: the importance of international support for the new government and its reform agenda; the launch of the Resolute Support Mission; and the United Nations’ future engagement in Afghanistan.

As Afghanistan prepares to enter the transformation decade, I applaud the new Afghan government for its reform agenda, as set out by President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah at this month’s London Conference. This agenda provides a credible framework for delivering economic security by tackling corruption; maintaining progress on national security; delivering political reform; and consolidating progress on human rights. These are the right priorities.

At the London Conference the international community demonstrated its clear commitment to Afghanistan’s future and the implementation of this reform programme. We commend President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah for their work to establish a National Unity Government. We now encourage the swift confirmation of Ministerial appointments to ensure that this momentum is maintained.

Mr President,

This is the last time that this Council will meet before the conclusion of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and I want to pay tribute to the courage of the service men and women who have served to bring peace and security to Afghanistan, particularly to those who sacrificed their lives. The recent attacks in Kabul against Afghan security personnel, innocent Afghan civilians, and international workers bring home to us the gravity of the security challenge, as does the increase of civilian casualties, especially children. But they also illustrate the courage and perseverance of those who have strived to achieve security and development in Afghanistan. Those men and women can take great pride in the fact that Afghanistan has seen its first ever peaceful transfer of power between elected leaders.

As the Afghan National Security Forces continue to bravely combat the insurgency, it is vital that we continue provide support. We therefore welcome the establishment of the NATO Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces from the start of 2015. This Council showed its support for this mission with the adoption of resolution 2189 last week.

A political settlement remains the best way to secure a sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We therefore welcome the recent dialogue between the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and look forward to further progress. Afghanistan’s neighbours will be central to this effort. We welcome the support of countries engaged in the Heart of Asia Process and other initiatives to promote security, trade and economic prosperity.

Mr President,

UNAMA will play an ever more important role in Afghanistan next year, working to support the reform priorities of the new Afghan government. Their provision of good offices to assist with government formation, preparation for parliamentary elections and protecting the gains made on human rights must be central to their mandate. To do so effectively, UNAMA must also have the resources it needs to maintain its presence in the provinces.

Mr President, in conclusion;

We are entering a new chapter in our ongoing partnership with a sovereign and independent Afghanistan. There is no doubt that 2015 will be a challenging year, but it is heartening to see the commitment of the Afghan people, the Afghan government and the International Community to build a stable, democratic and prosperous future for Afghanistan.

Published 18 December 2014