Amb. U. Joy Ogwu

Ambassador/Permanent Representative

Nigeria Mission to the UN

New York, NY

6th January, 2010

As Delivered

As the representative of one of the newly elected members of the Security Council, let me seize the opportunity provided by this first formal debate of the Council in 2010 to reiterate Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the preservation of international peace and security. I want to assure you, Mr. President, of our solemn obligation to work in concert with other members in the discharge of the daunting responsibilities of the Council.

We congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for this month and on having convened this important meeting. We also greatly appreciate the presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in our midst. We commend him especially for his report on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2009/674). The report contains cogent observations critical to the attainment of peace in the country. We also thank Mr. Kai Eide, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, for his succinct briefing and for the resolute manner in which he discharged the duties of his office. We wish him the best in his future endeavors. We also greatly appreciate the insightful statement of Ambassador Tanin.

Nigeria is concerned that, in spite of intensified global efforts, the challenges in Afghanistan, in particular the security challenges, remain intractable. The Secretary-General’s report notes the deteriorating security situation in the country and the expansion of the insurgency, including suicide bombings, rising conflict-related civilian casualties and escalating threats to United Nations and international aid personnel. This deplorable situation constricts not only aid delivery around the country but also the efforts of the Government to deliver basic services to the people. The situation is exacerbated by existing and new political challenges, as well as severe economic stagnation.

In spite of these challenges, we appreciate the resilience and commitment of the Afghan people to democratic governance. We also appreciate the roles played by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the successful resolution of the political crisis following the elections.

Nigeria believes that the new Afghan Government deserves support to strengthen and consolidate its capacity to deliver basic services, maintain domestic peace and security, facilitate an inclusive process of dialogue and national reconciliation and fortify its relationship with its neighbours. Indeed, the rule of law and a vibrant political process capable of supporting national reconciliation are prerequisites for the gradual return of peace and stability to the country. The international community must augment its investment in these areas. That is why we welcome the London Conference scheduled for 28 January 2010 and the subsequent Kabul conference, in the hope that both conferences will help to galvanize international resources and support for the country. The task for the international community is to ensure that progress is effectively monitored.

To reverse the deteriorating security situation in the country will require the consolidation of existing security mechanisms and the adoption of fresh initiatives, including the proposal to use local security agents under the Community Defense Initiative, and security sector reform. We share the Secretary- General’s view that this combination of measures must be underpinned by national reconciliation and good governance. In addition, there must be sustained cooperation between local security forces and their international counterparts. Meanwhile, we urge greater protection for United Nations personnel and aid workers and for Afghan civilians.

Nigeria is mindful that electoral contests have increasingly constituted a major challenge to the security and stability of emerging democracies. We therefore welcome the proposal for electoral reforms in Afghanistan. The reform should be a measure to reinforce the country’s nascent democracy and should constitute the foundation for sustainable political development in the country. In effect, the focus of the reform should be to bolster the electoral process, to sustain continuous electoral exercises and to guide meaningful political relationships. In this regard, the Electoral Complaints Commission and the Independent Electoral Commission should be reformed to conform to international best practices by being truly independent and free of partisan bias and control. The reform should be all-encompassing, affecting all levels of government and involving all the stakeholders in Afghan society. We urge the country’s political actors to understand and defend the electoral process and also to approach the political system with a sense of compromise and reconciliation.

In the final analysis, under the rubric of lesson learned, it is important to make public the recommendations of the ongoing investigations into the electoral irregularities in the country, as a means of forestalling future occurrences.

Nigeria supports the need for the international community, within a framework of a strategy of transition, to reinforce the coordination structure in Afghanistan, under a United Nations umbrella. We appreciate the central role which UNAMA plays in these efforts and we hope that the full implementation of its 2010 budget, as approved, will help to strengthen the Mission. We appreciate the contributions of Afghanistan’s neighbours to the efforts to tackle the challenges confronting the country and urge international support for sustained regional engagement.