21 May 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Says NATO Summit Should Signal International Partners


Will Not Withdraw Support from Afghanistan as They Draw Down Military


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit meeting on Afghanistan, in Chicago, United States, 21 May:

I come to this Summit with one overriding message:  We at the United Nations will continue to support the Afghan Government to the maximum of our ability.

Afghanistan faces clear and difficult security and development challenges.  Yet, our resources are limited.  The United Nations cannot fill all the gaps.  The enduring commitment of every leader here today will be critical.

This Summit must reaffirm the timeline for an international troop withdrawal in tandem with the pace at which the Afghan national security forces assume responsibilities.  It should also provide concrete decisions on funding following that withdrawal.

Let us send an unmistakable signal:  Afghanistan’s international partners will not withdraw their support as they draw down their military presence.  The commitment of neighbours and other countries in the region will be crucial.

Afghan security forces must prioritize the protection of civilians — including special measures to protect the human rights of all citizens, particularly women and girls in armed conflict.

We must focus our efforts more broadly than a technical restructuring of security institutions.  We must link these efforts within a strategic framework and a social contract that is both inclusive and consultative.

Combating drug production and trafficking is also essential.  So are health, education and livelihoods.  Here, too, let us commit to do more for women and children — including girls’ education and women’s participation in the country’s political life.

In July, the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan will take up issues concerning the development challenge in Afghanistan.  Success rests on our ability to deliver for the Afghan people.

By presenting a clear road map and offering clear financial guarantees here today on security and, in July, on the socio-economic agenda, we will help to reassure Afghanistan of the international community’s commitment to a peaceful and stable future.

At the same time, we recognize the responsibility of the Afghan Government to take the often hard political decisions to fight corruption, enhance performance and improve delivery — all essential to good governance.

Finally, we will continue to push for a genuine, broad-based political reconciliation process and reinforce the critical role of women in promoting peace and security.

Through these steps, we can consolidate our gains and ensure that the huge investments and sacrifices over these past 10 years will make a lasting difference.  I thank you for leadership and commitment.

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For information media • not an official record