Ambassador Raff Bukun-Olu Onemola
Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
22nd December, 2010
I too would like to thank Mr. Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), for the clarity of his briefing on the situation in that country. We also welcome Ambassador Tanin’s participation and the perspective he has presented to us.
Madam President, Nigeria offers its deep condolences on the demise of Ambassador Holbrooke, whose pioneering work in Afghanistan cannot be forgotten. Our greatest regret is that he did not live to see the success of the work that he started in Afghanistan. What we owe Ambassador Holbrooke is to continue, so that the Afghans may realize his dreams for the development and security of the country.
Nigeria welcomes the successful conclusion on 18 September of elections to the Lower House of the parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, despite the huge challenges endured, including the intimidation of voters by insurgents, and reported cases of electoral fraud. The certification of the final results has enhanced the credibility of the country’s electoral process and should serve as the foundation for further progress in electoral reform. We commend the Afghan led Independent Electoral Commission for its efforts and contributions, and UNAMA for providing the requisite technical support for the elections.
The parties that have filed complaints with the Electoral Complaints Commission should now allow the legal process to take its course. The Complaints Commission’s obligation to expeditiously and transparently deal with all pending complaints cannot be overstated. Both the Independent Electoral
Commission and the Complaints Commission should take advantage of the ongoing discussions with the United Nations to further strengthen their capacities.
We welcome the formal inauguration of the High Peace Council by President Hamid Karzai. The responsibility placed on its members is crucial to national peace and unity. They should therefore create a platform for reconciliation, as envisaged, and promote peace and unity through confidence-building measures. That is particularly relevant to the attempts to reintegrate some armed groups that have expressed their commitment to disarming, renouncing violence and supporting the Government’s development efforts.
The volatile security situation in Afghanistan continues to hinder the country’s political and economic development. The persistent attacks by insurgents and terrorists on innocent civilians and on the personnel of non-governmental organizations and the United Nations deserve our strong condemnation, particularly the one on the United Nations multiagency compound on 23 October. Our focus and priority should be on continuing to strengthen Afghanistan’s security capacity and on implementing the Government’s security framework. These conditions are unquestionably vital to reinforcing the Government’s preparedness to assume full responsibility for law enforcement by 2014. UNAMA’s technical and military training and capacity-building support remain important and will make the difference. By fulfilling its pledges, the international community will also be helping the process.
The international community must continue to support Afghanistan’s fledgling democratic structures and show solidarity with the Government. Threats and attacks must not be allowed to hinder efforts to foster peace within the country and the entire region. We welcome Afghanistan’s regional policy, emphasizing political dialogue with neighbouring countries. The policy’s benefits are already evident in Afghanistan’s improved and enhanced relationships with its
Nigeria welcomes UNAMA’s role in generating a coherent approach to donor assistance in support of the Afghan Government’s anti-corruption agenda. We support the strengthening and expanding UNAMA’s field offices and the efforts for greater coordination among United Nations partners through the development of the Integrated Strategic Framework, which is currently under way, as key steps towards UNAMA’s effective delivery on its development coordination mandate.
Nigeria notes with concern the limited access for humanitarian activities, despite the increasing demand for such assistance. More concerted efforts are needed to address the situation. However, we appreciate the tremendous work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in facilitating the return a number of Afghan refugees.
Nigeria welcomes the announcement that the new parliament will be inaugurated in early January 2011. It is our expectation that the Afghan people and Government will seize this opportunity to deepen confidence- and nation-building efforts in order to address in a concrete manner the issues of security and governance in the country. We also thank those who continue to provide training, mentoring and support to the Afghan military and police, as well as those who made financial commitments during the donor conference.
In conclusion, Nigeria expresses its appreciation to the staff and personnel of UNAMA for their dedication, and to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his continuing commitment to peace efforts in Afghanistan.