Välisministeeriumi välismajanduse ja arengukoostöö asekentsleri, Eesti eriesindaja Afganistanis ning Pakistanis, hr Väino Reinarti sõnavõtt Julgeolekunõukogu debatil Afganistani teemal (inglise keeles)
Thank you, Mr. President,
Firstly, allow me to join the others by thanking the President of the Council for organizing this debate. I would also like to thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive report and the Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing and the tremendous work that UNAMA has done. Furthermore, let me thank the EU Special Representative Mr Mellbin for his presentation. Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
Although many challenges remain for Afghanistan to become a wholly secure, democratic and prosperous country, we recognize with satisfaction that the Afghan people are successfully taking over responsibilities in their own country. This is crucial, as without ownership neither real transformation nor development will ever be possible or sustainable.
This summer marks a significant milestone in Afghanistan as the Afghan National Security Forces have taken the security lead across the country. We have also seen positive progress in the local administration assuming civilian responsibilities and in the reconciliation process. It is important that the preparations for the elections are on track and the necessary legal and institutional frameworks have been adopted. Free and fair elections are paramount in the political transition and in consolidating democracy in Afghanistan. We hope that the Afghan authorities continue prioritizing the election preparations, including ensuring inclusive participation of all eligible population groups as well as providing security during the election time.
It is vital that the international community remains engaged in supporting Afghanistan’s efforts throughout the transition phase as well as after 2014 and that the Afghans truly perceive the long-term partnerships declared in Tokyo and Chicago. In this, the continuation of development cooperation and the full implementation of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework are fundamental. After the withdrawal of the ISAF mission, Afghan National Security Forces will still need advice, assistance and training. We hope that the modalities of further cooperation between NATO and Afghanistan will be defined in the coming months. Furthermore, the role of the international community, in particular the UN`s, in assisting the elections preparation process is essential.
Estonia is and will stay committed to supporting Afghanistan during and after the transition period. Estonia has been a long-term partner to Afghanistan, being one of the highest per capita contributors to ISAF. In order to support the Afghan government in safeguarding the elections, our contingent will stay on the ground until the end of the election period. Our experts currently participate in EUPOL and NATO Training Missions and we are ready and willing to contribute to training and financing Afghan security forces after 2014.
Afghanistan is also Estonia´s priority country for development cooperation, as we believe there exist no durable solutions for Afghanistan involving only a military component. As Estonia itself has been a recipient country for development assistance, we believe we can contribute with our knowledge and experience where aid is most needed and expected by the locals. This is the reason why we mainly focus on the promotion of health care, rule of law, women empowerment and education in Afghanistan. For instance, Kabul University is currently establishing three Master's programs in the field of IT with the support of Tallinn University.
Estonia pays careful attention to the protection of human rights, in particular to the rights of women and children. Human rights awareness raising campaigns and education are instrumental in eliminating gender stereotypes. We also call upon the Afghan authorities to fully adhere to universal human rights and their pledge to continue balanced development and empowerment of all social groups, with special focus on the most vulnerable groups of women and children.
It is hard to underestimate the role the UN and its bodies have played in Afghanistan; this role is only likely to increase in supporting and strengthening Afghan capacities.