|Statement by Ambassador Li Baodong at Security Council Debate on Afghanistan|
I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Le Roy for his briefing on the situation in Afghanistan. China expresses its readiness to fully support the work of the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. De Mistura, who has already taken up his duties in Afghanistan, and UNAMA.
Last year, Afghanistan successfully held presidential elections, which represented a major step towards governance of Afghanistan by the Afghan people. Thanks to the joint efforts of the Afghan government and the international community, positive results have been achieved at the international conferences on Afghanistan held at the beginning of this year in Istanbul and London respectively. Now that Afghanistan has entered a critical phase of transition, the international community should keep focused on that country, increase support and assistance, and lay the groundwork for full transition to governance of Afghanistan by the Afghan people by means of enhancing Afghanistan's sovereignty, autonomy and capacity for development.
The turbulent security situation is a prominent challenge to Afghan reconstruction and its improvement calls for integrated approaches. While working to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan army and police, the international community must also further advance the process of national reconciliation led by the Afghan government so as to consolidate and expand the political basis for achieving peace and stability. The transfer of security responsibilities to the Afghan government should be carried out in a progressive, prudent and well-planned way and under the pre-condition of ensuring the security and stability of the country.
The key to long-term security and stability of Afghanistan lies in the development of the economy and improvement of people's lives. With the gradual implementation of Afghanistan's National Development Strategy, agriculture has seen recovery, foreign investment has increased, the economy is growing rapidly and government revenue has been on a steady rise. The international community should further increase support for the implementation of Afghanistan's National Development Strategy so that more Afghan people can benefit from the peace dividend. Donors and relevant international agencies should respect the autonomy of Afghanistan in economic reconstruction and encourage the enthusiasm and initiative of the Afghan government and people. We support the provision of assistance by countries through the Afghan government in order to enhance the latter's capacity for self-development.
We support the United Nations in continuing to play a leading and coordinating role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We highly appreciate the outstanding performance of UNAMA in fulfilling its mission under extremely difficult conditions and support the extension of its mandate for another year. The parliamentary election in Afghanistan is scheduled to take place in September and we hope that the election will be held successfully and support UNAMA in providing necessary electoral assistance in accordance with its mandate.
As a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan, China has actively supported, participated in and promoted the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan. In the future, China will continue to support Afghanistan within the limit of its capabilities. At the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Afghan President Hamid Karzai will pay a visit to China on March 23 to 25. I am confident that the visit will achieve positive results. We believe that with the energetic support of the international community and as a result of their own efforts, the Afghan government and people will eventually reach the goal of peace and stability, independence and self-reliance, development and progress, and friendship and amity with its neighbors.
Thank you, Mr. President.