Eight years have passed since the Taliban were defeated and the reconstruction of Afghanistan began. There have been positive developments, particularly in the socio-economic field. But many Afghans are becoming impatient and are saying that too little is happening too late. The deteriorating security situation causes suffering for the population and great concern in the international community. It is therefore necessary to ask how we and the Afghan government should prioritise, and where we can we improve our performance. The UN Mission in Afghanistan plays a key role in finding constructive answers to these questions.
On this background, Norway welcomes the unanimous adoption by the General Assembly of the resolution on the situation in Afghanistan. The broad support for this resolution – among all member states of the United Nations – sends an important message: the international community has a common wish for improved security, political stability and development for the people of Afghanistan.
Following the fatal attack on UN staff in Kabul 28 October, it is imperative that we express our strongest support for the UN in Afghanistan. We welcome the recent efforts taken by the Secretary General to ensure protection of his own UN staff. Norway is committed to assist the UN so it can continue its indispensable work in a safe manner.
The attack was a brutal reminder that our common goal – security and stability in Afghanistan – is still a long way off. It also shows that it is crucial that the efforts of the UN, NATO and a united international community in Afghanistan are predictable and have a long-term perspective. It is deeply tragic that the UN, whose mandate includes working for peace, stability and improved coordination, has been hit so hard.
We are very pleased that the key role played by UNAMA in Afghanistan is reflected in the significant increase in the mission’s budget for 2010. Only with a sufficient level of predictable funding will UNAMA be able to implement its mandate effectively. We should not expect more from the UN than we are willing to invest in it.
The Afghan presidential election and its aftermath this year illustrated clearly how challenging conducting elections in conflict affected areas can be. Following a lengthy and difficult election process, President Karzai will be inaugurated as Afghanistan’s next president on 19 November and soon thereafter a new Afghan government will be formed.
With the election concluded, the new Afghan government has to demonstrate a genuine interest to fulfil basic and crucial commitments towards the Afghan people and to the international community. If not, the new Afghan administration will risk losing support.
The legitimacy of the next Karzai government will be decided by the actions they take in the near future and judged by the Afghan people.
Not only the Afghan people but also the international community are setting out expectations and demands. President Karzai and the new Afghan Government will have to commit themselves on a larger scale and take all necessary measures to combat corruption and the culture of impunity, improve governance in particular at local level including rule of law, protect human rights and women’s rights, improve the security situation and its capacity to deliver basic services to the Afghan people.
As members of the international community, we must stand ready to assist the next Afghan Government to meet these demanding commitments to the people of Afghanistan.
Thank you, Mr. President.