New York, 18 March 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to Mr. Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, for his briefing, as well as to Ambassador Tanin for his remarks. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the current situation in Afghanistan (S/2010/127). We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan. We wish him every success in his work.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also aligns itself with the statement to be delivered later on behalf of the European Union.
In the light of the latest key developments in Afghanistan and the various important challenges that the international community and Afghan authorities will face in the near future, Bosnia and Herzegovina commends the high level of intensity in recent diplomatic activities aimed at helping Afghanistan and its institutions. Our delegation therefore appreciates the organization and outcomes of the Conference on Afghanistan held in London on 28 January. Bearing in mind the importance of regional cooperation for the achievement of the long-term goal of a stable and democratic Afghanistan, we also emphasize the significance of the summit on the theme “Friendship and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia”, which was held in Istanbul on 26 January. We also look forward to the conference in Kabul scheduled for spring. That conference is a very encouraging sign, as it will be the first high-level meeting hosted by the Afghan Government.
At the outset, Bosnia and Herzegovina would like to emphasize its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan, as well as its support for all of Afghanistan’s efforts aimed at rebuilding the country and achieving sustainable peace and constitutional democracy. We expect that the United Nations will continue to play a central and impartial coordinating role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, jointly with the Government, in order to implement the Afghanistan Compact.
However, we are deeply concerned about the humanitarian and security situation in the country. We condemn the increased attacks on civilians, humanitarian workers and Afghan and international forces.
Bosnia and Herzegovina believes that current efforts to promote and establish the process of democratic transformation in Afghanistan deserve strong support from the international community. In that regard, we are convinced that several issues are of fundamental importance.
First, it is evident that the organization of parliamentary elections in September will be a great challenge, not only for Afghan institutions but also for the international community. We strongly encourage the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to provide overall political coordination of the international support for the elections. The elections should not lead us to forget the necessity of future long-term electoral reform. We endorse the efforts of the United Nations to continue to assist the Afghan Government in that essential work. In order to have an independent, impartial and credible electoral process, it continues to be important to facilitate and encourage the cooperation of the international community and Afghan authorities to ensure a conducive environment for the upcoming elections.
Bosnia and Herzegovina would also like to underscore the crucial importance of the roles of the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission. We are convinced that they play fundamental roles in the electoral process in Afghanistan, and thus we stress the importance of safeguarding their independence and transparency.
We consider the participation of all segments of Afghan society in those elections to be of great importance for the democratic transformation of the country. We strongly support the measures aimed at improving the participation of women and minorities.
We also welcome the efforts made to accelerate the implementation of the national plan for women. Our delegation encourages the Afghan Government’s continuing efforts in that direction, as we believe that women’s participation can only bolster the Government’s capacity to find solutions to numerous challenges that Afghan society will have to deal with in the future.
Secondly, Bosnia and Herzegovina attaches great importance to UNAMA’s role in providing good offices to the Afghan Government, in particular in the area of reconciliation. We believe that there is no alternative to the dialogue between the Afghan Government and opposition forces. In that regard, we support the reintegration process and commend the proposal to establish a donor-funded peace and reintegration trust fund that would provide employment and financial incentives for insurgents who wish to renounce violence. We believe that such instruments are of crucial importance to future social and political cohesion within Afghan society.
Thirdly, our delegation recognizes the importance and necessity of the leading role of UNAMA in coordinating international humanitarian aid. At the same time, we encourage UNAMA to include and consult Afghans and to work through Afghan institutions in the implementation of projects. We would like to see the Afghan Government play a greater coordinating role, as that is one of the pragmatic and concrete ways to support the process of transition to Afghan leadership.
Fourthly, Bosnia and Herzegovina firmly supports the return of internally displaced persons in Afghanistan. We would like to express our concern about the estimated 296,000 such people, as indicated in the latest report of the Secretary-General. Our own experience in the post-war period allows us to insist that these returns are essential to building a democratic society and to re-establishing a climate of security and confidence among citizens. We welcome all efforts made in this direction. We would also like to encourage the Government of Afghanistan to continue with its positive achievements in the implementation of the mine action programme, with the support of the United Nation and all relevant actors.
We believe that the aforementioned activities and commitments constitute important steps towards the new transition phase emphasized and announced in the London communiqué and aimed at encouraging Afghan-led leadership and ownership in different areas.
Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina supports the renewal of the UNAMA’s mandate for an additional 12 months.