Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Security Council Debate “UNAMA”

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, New York, 14 September 2016

(1.Introduction)

Thank you Mr President and thank you for the opportunity to speak at this debate on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union, and supports the statement from Italy as part of our cooperation related to the upcoming split term in the Security Council. We are currently defining our cooperation around shared goals and values in the firm belief that this agreement sends a positive political message of cooperation to tackle common challenges.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his detailed and thorough report.

I would also like to thank Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto for his briefing and for his work so far as deputy SRSG. I wish you well in your new position. Let me also thank Permanent Representative Saikal for his statement.

Today I will focus on three issues:

1) The security situation, 2) the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan on the 5th of October, and 3) Gender issues.

(2. Security and reconciliation)

Mr President,

Peace and reconciliation are paramount and we would welcome the swift signing of an agreement between the High Peace Council and the Hezb-e-Islami as an encouragement for other insurgent groups to engage in serious peace talks. The need for peace and reconciliation is underlined by the security situation in Afghanistan. The SG’s report states that the overall security situation has deteriorated since the beginning of the year. The people of Afghanistan have borne the brunt of violence and terrible atrocities committed by the Taliban and other armed groups.

Civilian casualties have increased and are currently at the highest level since 2009, according to the SG’s report. This has resulted in many IDP’s and refugees, and an increasing pressure on migration, also to Europe.

The severe fighting that took place in Tarin Kowt last week shows the fragility of the region and the security situation in particular. In addition, last week 41 innocent people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in two major attacks in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. These developments demonstrate the urgent need to improve the security of ordinary Afghan citizens.

We commend the Afghan Special Forces and the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) for their adequate and professional response in countering the Taliban and other insurgents. The international community, including the Kingdom of the Netherlands, has supported the ANDSF for over a decade now and we will continue to do so as announced in Warschau.

(3. Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, BCA)

We are looking forward to the BCA. Our minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms Ploumen, will participate. It is an important moment where the International Community will renew its commitment to the Afghan people.

We commend the Afghan National Unity Government for pursuing an ambitious reform agenda, especially with regards to tackling corruption and fostering regional stability and economic growth. All these issues require stability, and a long-term commitment by the Afghan government and by the international community. We urge the government to now implement these ambitious plans without further delay.  

The Kingdom of the Netherlands welcomes the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF). It clearly demonstrates the resolve of the Afghan government for Afghanistan’s near future. And we are looking forward to concrete action to implement this plan in line with the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework commitments.

(4. Gender)

Much progress has been achieved so far. Millions of women and children, now have access to basic services like education and health care. Women and girls actively take part in social life, and Afghanistan witnessed a sharp increase in girls enrolling in schools. This was unthinkable during Taleban rule. At the same time, Afghanistan still faces many challenges and the position of women remains precarious.

We welcome the adoption of the Afghan National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The Kingdom of the Netherlands will continue to cooperate with the Afghan government and civil society partners to expedite its implementation.

Women are, after all, the corner stone of society and women need to play a crucial role in rebuilding the country.

(5. Conclusion)

Mr President,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has been a long-time partner of Afghanistan, and has contributed significantly in the fields of peace, justice and development. We remain committed to support Afghanistan throughout the Transformation Decade – a decade of ever more Afghan ownership and leadership. In this spirit of partnership, the Afghan people can count on us standing by their side.

Thank you.