UN Security Council press conference: Opening remarks by Turkish Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan
The visit has been very productive, thanks to the excellent organization of UNAMA. It was also thanks to the sincerity of our interlocutors.
We held substantive talks with members of the executive and legislative branches, meeting with President Karzai, Foreign Minister Rassul, Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga Mr Qanuni and Chairs of the Standing Committees of Parliament, as well as members of the Cabinet. These included extensive interaction with Afghan institutions, including the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). We also held useful discussions with civil society. We visited the NATO training mission. We also met with the main international stakeholders, including UN agencies, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union. During our visit to Jalalabad today, we met with local authorities, UN colleagues and families located in a returnee settlement.
During our contacts we reiterated the United Nations Security Council’s support and enduring commitment to the people of Afghanistan and its Government in furthering peace, development and stability. We emphasized the central role of the United Nations in Afghanistan and expressed full support to and solidarity with the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General, in particular through his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, and UNAMA.
The visit was conducted at an important period after the Consultative Peace Jirga and before the Kabul Conference.
We were briefed on various challenges related to the legislative elections scheduled for 18 September. Free and fair elections are necessary. We welcome the strong participation of women candidates.
We emphasized the importance of economic and social development for the future of Afghanistan.
Afghan officials indicated their strong commitment to improve governance. We also welcomed the trend to improved local governance.
The 1267 (al-Qaeda and Taliban) Committee is in the process of finalizing its review of the consolidated list. This process includes all the entries concerning individuals and entities linked to the Taliban. The review is conducted on a case-by-case basis.
We encouraged the Afghan authorities to further their efforts to uphold the rule of law, human rights, in particular, women’s and children's rights.
We stressed the importance of regional cooperation in political, security and economic areas. It was underlined by several Afghan authorities that regional cooperation is a central part of Afghanistan's foreign policy.
We also stressed the importance of combating the narcotics industry and trade.
We would like to thank the Afghan authorities and UNAMA for all the arrangements they made.
The international community will continue its solidarity and engagement with the Afghan people in furthering peace, development and stability.
(The following opening remarks were delivered by Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to the United Nations, at a press conference in Kabul).