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National statements

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

Thematic issues

  • Afghanistan
  • Human Rights
  • Humanitarian
  • Peace and Security
  • Terrorism
  • Women
  • Women peace and security


Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Madam President

I thank Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing and recognise his instrumental contribution to Afghanistan's transition, as well as that of the entire UNAMA team and the wider UN. At this vital juncture his role remains central. I also thank Ambassador Tanin for his briefing.

Three months ago, we congratulated the Afghan people, who – despite the persistent threat of violence by terrorists and insurgents – made clear their desire for a democratic future by voting in historic and great numbers. The presidential candidates must now to live up to the expectations of the Afghan public. The timely, peaceful, and credible resolution of the electoral process is vital to Afghanistan's future stability and prosperity. The candidates must honour their commitments to accept the outcome of the full election audit, abide by its results, and work together to form a government of national unity. If the political impasse is not resolved promptly, Afghanistan's successful transition is at risk. That must not happen.

UNAMA and international observers have played a vital role in supporting the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission throughout the full election audit. We commend the UN for the rapid deployment of more than 120 election experts. The international community acted in good faith in responding to the request from Afghanistan for international supervision of the audit. Australia was pleased to support the audit, which was unprecedented in its scale and depth of scrutiny.

The formation of a new Government will mark a defining point for Afghanistan. And the international community is looking ahead to the framework for supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014. We welcome the recent NATO Summit declaration on Afghanistan, which sets key markers for NATO support for Afghanistan beyond 2014, including the desirability of Security Council endorsement for the post-2014 ISAF successor mission. Australia is ready, with our partners, to work with the new Government to cement arrangements for the international community's ongoing support for Afghanistan.

The latest Secretary General's report notes an increase in insurgent activity during the period of political impasse. We have also seen an increase in civilian casualties, the vast majority of which have been perpetrated by anti-government forces. Recent attacks involving large numbers of fighters are a particularly worrying trend.

We are encouraged that Afghanistan's army and police have been able to respond effectively, including in the provinces. The growing capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces was also demonstrated throughout the election period. It is vital that the ANSF continues to develop and sustain its capabilities, particularly in provincial areas. Australia remains committed to supporting the sustainment of Afghanistan's security forces and institutions. We will provide US$300 million from 2015-2017 for this.

Australia also remains ready to contribute to the post-2014 NATO-led non-combat train, advise, assist mission. We urge the new Afghan government to conclude the necessary legal arrangements for this mission as an immediate priority.

Also critical for a stable Afghanistan will be implementation of the commitments and reforms agreed at the 2012 Tokyo Conference. This will be necessary for sustainable economic and social development. Afghanistan has implemented important legal reforms to combat terrorism financing, money laundering and human trafficking. We recognise that Afghanistan's current economic challenges are a significant concern. Further efforts to tackle corruption and promote fiscal sustainability are an urgent priority.

It is imperative the incoming administration progresses implementation of the National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security. Women's active participation in Afghanistan's political and reconciliation processes – and more primordially, recognition of and respect for their human rights – will be a critical test of whether Afghanistan can hope to have a successful future, and whether it will continue to attract international support. We continue to urge the full implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law to build on the gains of the last decade. We welcome progress with the Action Plan for the Prevention of Underage Recruitment, and look forward to its full implementation. The incoming government must also support a strong and independent Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

UNAMA will continue to play a key role in support of Afghanistan beyond transition, including through its good offices, in promoting human rights and improved governance, and in donor coordination and facilitating humanitarian assistance.

To conclude, Madam President

It is clear that the Afghan people desire a democratic and accountable Government. Equally clear are the challenges Afghanistan faces on the road to a more peaceful and secure future. Australia, along with the international community, is committed to supporting Afghanistan throughout this transition. And we look to do this in close partnership with a responsive, transparent and accountable Afghan government.

Madam President

Finally, I want to acknowledge the personal contribution, leadership and empathy of Ján Kubiš as he concludes his mission and thank him for what he has done to help Afghanistan embrace a new future. I want to thank him also for his support to Australia as pen-holder on Afghanistan in the Council. We wish Ján every continued success.

Thank you.

(As delivered)

Last Updated: 18 June 2015
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