I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its 27 Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country, Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank the Permanent Representative of Afghanistan for her statement. Also, I would like to thank all delegations that have participated in the consultations on the resolution text, and particularly the German team for facilitating the negotiations. Yesterday, we all received a Note Verbale from the Afghan Mission asking for support to this resolution. We hope that this message from the country that this is all about, was well received by all member states, and that the resolution is adopted by consensus today.
Afghanistan is at an important juncture. There is a historic opportunity for peace and stability that all Afghans long for after decades of immense human suffering. The start of intra-Afghan talks on 12 September was an encouraging step towards genuine reconciliation and we, the international community, must support this. Only an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process can lead to durable peace.
At the Donors’ Conference of 23-24 November, the EU and its Member States renewed their commitment to accompany Afghanistan in its path toward peace, security, stability, democracy, prosperity and self-reliance. Respect for human rights, participation of the whole population – including meaningful inclusion of women and of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities – are key components in the political process. The resolution we are voting on today reflects that consensus and provides a strong commitment of support for the people of Afghanistan.
The EU and its Member States strongly condemn the horrific levels of violence in Afghanistan, which have continued, and in certain aspects even increased, after the Doha Agreement and the beginning of the intra-Afghan direct negotiations. We call for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, to save the Afghan people from more meaningless suffering and to demonstrate sincerity in the peace negotiations.
An unstable Afghanistan will continue to threaten and destabilize its neighbours, the wider region and beyond. Illicit drug trafficking and terrorism do not recognise borders. The EU and its Member States will remain vigilant to ensure that terrorist organisations and violent extremists no longer use Afghan soil to launch attacks in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling and all the related organised crime networks must be stopped.
The Taliban continue to perpetrate an unacceptable number of deadly attacks all over the country, including in urban areas, causing substantial civilian losses. This brutality runs counter to the Taliban’s stated commitment to peace and to the declared sincerity of their participation in on-going peace talks. The legitimacy of any leadership in Afghanistan starts with respecting the lives of the Afghan people. Those responsible for acts of horrific violence against civilians cannot be Afghanistan’s leaders of tomorrow nor partners of the international community.
In line with Security Council Resolution 2513, the international community is ready to constructively support the intra-Afghan peace negotiations, but this is contingent on the parties’ genuine engagement in the negotiation. The lifting of sanctions is not automatic. The EU and its Member States, notably the members of the Security Council, are determined to ensure that the conditions are met before moving forward. Lasting peace cannot be based on the impunity of those who have committed gross violations of human rights.
The sustained support of the EU and its Member States for peace and development in Afghanistan is conditional and depends on progress in the peace process. Our contribution will be rooted in our transparent, democratic and principled approach. Gender equality, the full enjoyment of human rights of all Afghans, including women, youth, and persons belonging to minorities well as victims of war must safeguarded and promoted. We also underline the need for continued progress on governance and an effective fight against corruption.
I would like to reaffirm that the EU and its Member States will stand with Afghanistan and its people, to help build a sovereign, unified and democratic Afghanistan. Progress since 2001 to preserve and promote democratic principles and human rights and to fully implement the human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and the international conventions to which Afghanistan is a State Party, including the rights of women, youth and people belonging to minorities, must be upheld. A peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, free of terrorism and of drug traficking is essential not only for its own stability and development but also for that of the entire region and beyond. A negotiated political settlement leading to peace must result from an inclusive peace process.
We believe that the resolution we will adopt today reflects our collective political support to promote an inclusive Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process that builds on political and social achievements of the last 19 years.
Our mandate from the European citizens is to contribute to the improvement of the lives of Afghan citizens. Our actions are guided by this mandate. The future of Afghanistan must not be compromised and the interest of its people, in all its diversity, must be respected.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.