National Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNAMA
National Statement delivered on behalf of Sweden, Ambassador Carl Skau, at the Security Council Briefing on UNAMA. Wednesday, 21 June 2017, New York.
Sweden associates itself with the statement to be made by the European Union.
I thank Special Representative Yamamoto for his candid briefing and we welcome the Secretary-General's comprehensive report. We also welcome the Secretary-General's visit to Afghanistan, demonstrating his solidarity with the Afghan people.
Despite decades of effort by national and international actors to stabilise the security situation in Afghanistan, the situation today remains volatile and has deteriorated further since we last met. The ongoing violence takes a heavy toll on the civilian population. Each attack on a mosque, each bazaar, home, hospital or school targeted, each life lost, undermines the ability of the Afghan people to plan their lives and futures with hope or certainty.
Let me reiterate Sweden's condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected. We call for an end to the senseless violence, and for those responsible to be held accountable.
We encourage the Afghan government to take necessary steps to defuse the tensions following the attacks. As we heard today from the Special Representative, unity is of utmost importance if the people of Afghanistan are to tackle the many challenges ahead. Internal differences must be put aside in order to progress the reform agenda and to bring an end to the conflict.
As the Secretary-General says in his report, "Peace must be attained through negotiations and not on the battlefield." With this in mind, we commend the Afghan government on the first meeting of the Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation. We look forward to the next meeting under this process, and to cooperating closely with the Afghan authorities to ensure women's participation. A peace process without women, is not a peace process. Sweden remains fully committed to supporting an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. We also echo the call of the SRSG on the need to restart the dialogue with the Taliban towards a lasting political settlement.
All of us, but particularly the countries of the region, have an interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. In turn, sustained and constructive engagement by the region will be essential to make this a reality. Regional tensions continue to undermine Afghanistan's long-term stability and economic growth. We call on all parties to act constructively and responsibly, and work together towards sustainable peace. Enhanced dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan is an important part of this complex puzzle.
UNAMA continues to play a critical role in supporting the government and people of Afghanistan as they work towards building a democratic, prosperous and peaceful society; however, significant challenges to that goal remain. Against this background, an efficient, effective and appropriately configured UN presence in Afghanistan – in Kabul as well as in the provinces – continues to be vital to support efforts to achieve lasting peace. We welcome the ongoing strategic review and await the final report. Looking forward, Sweden sees the following priorities for UN support to Afghanistan:
Firstly, there is a need for a comprehensive approach that includes development, human rights, the rule of law and humanitarian assistance. Providing appropriate support will require a coherent and well-coordinated United Nations.
Second, it is important to continue UNAMA's field presence at current levels, so as to safeguard crucial contacts between international and local actors, build local capacities, as well as facilitating humanitarian access.
Third, there needs to be a stronger political mandate for the SRSG, including on regional issues related to peace efforts, and with sufficient resources to implement this mandate.
Fourth, we see the need for improved donor coordination, with a continued strong focus on development, humanitarian and human rights issues, including protection.
Fifth, women's participation and integration into the political, economic and social life of Afghanistan must be at the core of UNAMA's activities.
Sixth, children continue to suffer disproportionally from the violence in Afghanistan. We welcome an enhanced focus on children and armed conflict. Words must be translated into action.
And finally, ensuring respect for humanitarian principles, human rights and international humanitarian law should always be an integral part of the UN's mission.
We must not ensure that the gains made are not lost. Renewed efforts from Afghan leaders and the international community are needed to move the country down the path to peace.
Sweden has provided assistance to Afghanistan for more than three decades, and we are committed to standing with the Afghan people for the longer term.
I thank you.