UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
27 June 2012
UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN (UNAMA)
Statement by H.E. Gary Quinlan
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you Mr President. And thank you to Under-Secretary-General Ladsous, Executive Director Fedotov and our close colleague Ambassador Tanin for their remarks earlier.
2012 is proving to be a major milestone for Afghanistan as it works with its international partners - in a spirit of mutual commitment – to ensure the gains in security, development, governance, and human rights made over the past decade are maintained.
The Chicago Summit’s recommitment to Afghanistan was an unmistakeable message to the insurgency.
The commitments to resourcing the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) after 2014 were significant, as was the agreement that NATO would lead a mission to train, advise and assist the ANSF, including Afghan Special Forces Operations.
Australia itself will contribute US$100 million per year towards ANSF sustainability and provide training to the ANSF after 2014. We will consider a Special Forces contribution – under the right mandate and with the agreement of the Afghan Government.
To underpin our long-term commitment President Karzai and Australian Prime Minister Gillard signed a Comprehensive Long-Term Partnership in Chicago.
As the Secretary-General has highlighted, the insurgency continues to threaten peace and stability, but its momentum has been severely degraded and security conditions remain good in areas that have transitioned thus far.
We are seeing clear evidence that ISAF’s transition strategy - based on strengthening the ANSF’s ability to take responsibility for security – is working.
But, as we know, to ensure security gains are properly sustained, we need to redouble our efforts to support Afghanistan’s economic growth and development.
We support the Secretary-General’s call for next month’s Tokyo Conference to deliver a clear message that Afghanistan will not be abandoned in its social and development needs. We must identify these needs and the resourcing that is required and available to meet them. Clear financial commitments from international partners will be needed.
To this end, Australia has committed to increasing its development assistance from $165 million to $250 million per year by 2015-16.
As we know, UNAMA’s role, including through coordinating humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan, will become even more important as the transition process advances. The cuts to UNAMA’s budget foreshadowed by the Secretary-General will require some hard – and creative - reprioritisation of UNAMA’s efforts but its core mission to support and underpin successful, enduring, transition in Afghanistan must be preserved. We encourage UNAMA to consult closely with international partners – both in Afghanistan and New York – on arrangements for its ongoing presence in Afghanistan.
Successful presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2015 are, of course, indispensable for Afghanistan’s future stability. But clarity about the future political process is needed quickly to ensure that the necessary planning and preparations can begin in earnest.
We welcome the assurance in the Secretary General’s report that the UN will remain an active partner in coordinating international assistance in the next round of elections. We look forward to ongoing close cooperation between UNAMA, the Afghan authorities and the international community in support of credible and inclusive electoral processses.
Reconciliation and reintegration still have a long way to go. But the insurgents need to understand that there is no alternative for them. UNAMA’s own support for peace and reconciliation efforts remain important. Reconciliation will obviously be a complex and protracted process. But lasting stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved through dialogue and Afghan-led processes of reconciliation and reintegration.
We commend the Secretary-General for highlighting the important role which women can and should play in shaping positive outcomes in this regard. Gender issues remain decisive for a successful Afghanistan. We expect they will be central to much of the discussion at the Tokyo Conference.
As we are all aware, Afghanistan will only become stable if a secure external environment for Afghanistan is achieved. The ‘Heart of Asia’ process – including the recent Kabul ministerial meeting on 14 June – is foundational to achieving this goal, and we commend the leadership of Turkey in particular in this process.
Implementation of the Confidence Building Measures from the Kabul ministerial will be a significant next step – Australia has committed to support the Heart of Asia countries implement CBMs on education and commercial opportunities. We thank Kazakhstan for its offer to host the next ministerial meeting in the first half of 2013.
To conclude Mr President, my government is determined to continue working with the Afghan Government and people - and our other partners in the international community – in support of a goal which is in everyone’s interests: a secure and stable Afghanistan, whose government, institutions and economy are on an irreversbile path to long-term and sustainable development.