Prof. U. Joy Ogwu

Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations

New York, NY

6 July 2011

As Delivered

I want to thank Special Representative De Mistura for his very inspiring and lucid briefing. I also want to thank Ambassador Tanin not only for his comprehensive briefing, but also for the tremendous courage that he has demonstrated even in trying times.

 Nigeria welcomes the steady progress being made in Afghanistan. The quest for honourable peace and stability has been steadfast. A new Constitution is in place; several elections have been held; economic growth seems promising; the new counter-insurgency strategy bolsters recent military gains; and donor commitment to funding civilian reconstruction remains very strong. We believe that these political developments should be consolidated through a rigorous reconciliation and reintegration process involving Taliban and non-Taliban insurgents, especially in the Kandahar area.

 As the report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/381) cautions, we must be vigilant in ensuring that the reconciling parties are indeed genuinely committed not only to the new code of conduct delineated by the Government, but also to upholding the Constitution. The political process must be led and driven by Afghans and in accordance with the Constitution. It must promote not only lasting peace and stability, but also the protection of the interests of women. A successful political process will serve to underpin the ongoing efforts of the Government to improve governance and accountability, including the unimpeded participation of women in the peace process.

 The Government should remain committed to its anti-corruption agenda and its obligations arising from the London and Kabul conferences. A greater commitment of the Government to its anti-corruption agenda and its obligations arising from the London and Kabul Conferences will strengthen these efforts.

 On the security sector, the recent attacks on the United Nations operations centre in Mazar-e-Sharif and on the capital’s premier hotel are tragic reminders of the tense and fragile security situation in the country. We condemn such cowardly acts, which indiscriminately target innocent civilians, security forces and the personnel of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The perpetrators of those attacks must be brought to justice. Indeed, such attacks undermine the capacity of the Afghan security forces and raise questions about the readiness of the Afghan authorities and security forces to meet the security challenges ahead. We support the urgent strengthening of the implementation phase of the security transition process through enhanced training and capacity building and greater cooperation between the United Nations and ISAF forces.

 The participation of the Afghan Government in the listing and de-listing process will provide a more secure platform for the fight against terrorism, especially against the background of the Kabul communiqué. That is why Nigeria supported the decision to split the Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions regimes. In this regard, we wish to reiterate that such de-listing requests should be addressed by the Committee on a case-by-case basis, and especially on their own merits.

 In the economic sphere, Nigeria commends the Government’s continued commitment to implementing the national priority programme in accordance with the Kabul process. Implementing the programme and meeting the Government’s set benchmarks will require greater coordination and timely international assistance on the part of the donor community. We support the channeling of donor funds and other assistance to the country through the Afghan budget system in order to ensure greater coherence and efficiency.

 The current socio-economic growth and the Government’s prioritized programme, including education and health care, will suffer reversals if a viable solution to the continued impasse on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme is not urgently found. We therefore support the setting-up of an appropriate mechanism that the Government and donors alike can utilize to advance and implement the IMF programme.

 On regional cooperation, we welcome the growing cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbors, especially in overcoming counter-terrorism challenges and combating drugs, arms, human trafficking and organized crime. We welcome the revival of the tripartite meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States. Both developments reaffirm the commitment of regional partners to Afghanistan’s stability, economic development, territorial integrity and sovereignty. It is our hope that the tripartite initiative will be sustained as we all look forward to the Istanbul Conference scheduled for 2 November and the international conference of foreign ministers scheduled to take place in Bonn at the end of this year. Through these conferences, the international community can renew its commitment to and support the Afghan-led peace process.

 The future and destiny of Afghanistan may defy imagination, but the international community must be eternally vigilant to make certain that it is a future of peace, security and, indeed, genuine reconciliation and development. In this formidable endeavour, we commend Special Representative Staffan de Mistura for his inspiring and exceptional leadership of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The distinctive accomplishments of the staff of the Mission and their invaluable contributions to the concerted global effort to restore democracy, peace and security to Afghanistan will endure eternally.