Norway welcomes the Security Council’s second mission to Afghanistan.
The Mission was indeed a timely one, as the situation in the country still gives reason to grave concern. The report contains important recommendations.
I would like to commend Ambassador Oshima and the other members of the delegation for the initiative to “map the terrain” at this crucial moment. Let me initially also commend SRSG Koenigs and his team at UNAMA for their efforts and dedication, in spite of difficult circumstances.
Norway supports the views expressed by EU, and appreciates the constructive role and close cooperation with EU Special Representative Vendrell.
As stated during the recent deliberations of the General Assembly on Afghanistan, Norway believes that the situation calls for a broad and comprehensive strategy.
Three challenges are facing us:
1. A need for improved coordination of international assistance.
2. A need for capacity-building within government institutions, the police, the judiciary and the army.
3.More concerted efforts to support the Afghan government’s outreach beyond the capital and improve its own institutions.
These challenges are closely interlinked. Norway stands ready to contribute to developing and implementing a strategy that addresses these issues.
In 2007, Norway intends to increase its financial assistance to Afghanistan to at least 450 million NOK, or approximately USD 72 million. This is an increase of more than USD 16 million.
We will continue to contribute in accordance with national priorities and the Afghanistan Compact, and channel substantial resources to the Afghan budget through ARTF. A key to success would be a rapid progress on development of the Afghan National Development Strategy. The plan should be focused and uncomplicated. It is crucial that it is developed on the basis of truly national consultations.
ISAF continues to play a key role in providing security. Norway is committed to continue its participation.
Turning to the mission report, Norway would particularly emphasize the importance of enhancing the coordinating role of UNAMA.
Norway is currently looking at ways to assist UNAMA in strengthening its capacity on humanitarian coordination, both in Kabul and in the field. It is imperative that UNAMA is present in the provinces.
Civil- military coordination should be strengthened, while maintaining a clear division of roles and tasks.
Humanitarian assistance must be based on humanitarian principles.
Norway strongly supports the mission's appeal to the Secretary-General to make specific recommendations on how to promote UNAMA’s coordinating role.
Norway agrees to the importance of strengthening the Afghan National Police. Norway will increase its efforts to achieve this goal, and is looking forward to continuing the close cooperation with Afghan authorities, EU, and other stakeholders. UNAMA has an important role to play also in this area, not least in assisting Afghan authorities in speeding up reforms.
Reform within the Ministry of Interior is vital. In particular, I would like to point out the importance of improving procedures for appointments, and respecting them.
The JCMB, where Norway is now a member, has a significant role to play. Norway welcomes its recent report, which contained a balanced description of challenges and achievements. We welcome the proposal to hold a JCMB with senior officials. Further strengthening of headquarter coordination required.
The Norwegian proposal to appoint a Special Envoy is aimed at strengthening the dialogue between capitals and international organizations, in support of the Afghan Government and UNAMA.
Norway also welcomes recent efforts to strengthen regional cooperation. A political dialogue and facilitation of economic cooperation within the region would be helpful in the endeavours to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.
The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan should be encouraged to continue their cooperation on security matters in the border areas. The involvement of local leaders in this dialogue will hopefully prove to be useful in this respect.
Finally, Mr. President, Norway would like to stress the importance of making the empowerment of women a cross-cutting priority, which is in line with the recommendations of SC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. Women’s rights, and women’s needs, should be given particular attention, also in Afghanistan.