Coun­cil con­clu­sions on Afghanistan

The Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:

“1.) The Coun­cil dis­cussed devel­op­ments in Afghanistan and EU efforts on the ground on the basis of the Action Plan for Enhanced EU Engage­ment in Afghanistan and Pak­istan, adopt­ed in Octo­ber 2009. The dis­cus­sion took place in the pres­ence of Mr. Vygau­das USACKAS, who today was appoint­ed as sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the EU in Afghanistan, tak­ing up office from 1 April 2010. His appoint­ment as both the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the EU and Head of the EU Del­e­ga­tion in Kab­ul is a fur­ther step to strength­en coor­di­nat­ed EU action on the ground, work­ing in close coop­er­a­tion with oth­er inter­na­tion­al actors. EU efforts will be spear­head­ed under Mr. Usackas’ lead­er­ship, who will guide the imple­men­ta­tion of the Action Plan, in close coop­er­a­tion with Mem­ber States’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Kab­ul. The Coun­cil expressed sin­cere appre­ci­a­tion to out­go­ing EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Ettore Sequi, and out­go­ing Head of the EU Del­e­ga­tion, Han­sjörg Kretschmer, for their out­stand­ing work over the past years.

2.) The Coun­cil reit­er­at­ed that the inter­nal secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion remained a direct chal­lenge to the sta­bil­i­ty of Afghanistan. The Coun­cil under­lined its con­tin­ued sup­port for inter­na­tion­al civil­ian efforts in Afghanistan, empha­sis­ing the cen­tral coor­di­na­tion role of UNAMA and reaf­firm­ing its sup­port for the UN man­date and the objec­tives of ISAF. The key to deliv­er­ing the civil­ian efforts will be enhanced coor­di­na­tion and the devel­op­ment of a coher­ent approach between all major civil­ian actors, notably the EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al and the NATO Senior Civil­ian Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, under the lead­er­ship of the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanistan. The Coun­cil under­lined the impor­tance of Afghan own­er­ship and lead­er­ship.

3.) The Coun­cil empha­sised its sup­port for the out­comes of the Lon­don Con­fer­ence of 28 Jan­u­ary 2010 and reit­er­at­ed that all efforts must now focus on imple­ment­ing the com­mit­ments made there, includ­ing with regards to the announced Peace and Rein­te­gra­tion Trust Fund to finance the Afghan­led Peace and Rein­te­gra­tion Pro­gramme. The Coun­cil under­lined the sig­nif­i­cance of bal­anced, Afghan-led rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and rein­te­gra­tion process­es as key ele­ments of a sus­tain­able polit­i­cal solu­tion in Afghanistan. In this respect, the Coun­cil wel­comed the organ­i­sa­tion of a Peace Jir­ga, sched­uled to take place this Spring. The Coun­cil also wel­comed recent con­tacts between lead­ers in the region aimed at con­fi­dence build­ing. It looks for­ward to a sec­ond suc­cess­ful ad hoc Sum­mit between the EU and Pak­istan on 21 April 2010.

4.) The Coun­cil dis­cussed the Kab­ul Con­fer­ence, which should fol­low up the com­mit­ments made in Lon­don. The Kab­ul Con­fer­ence will pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Afghan Gov­ern­ment to chart the way for­ward, notably on anti-cor­rup­tion, rein­forced secu­ri­ty, effec­tive and impar­tial gov­er­nance, eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment, human rights and improved elec­toral process­es. The EU expects that the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanistan will act swift­ly and deci­sive­ly to deliv­er on the promis­es made to its peo­ple. Through its Action Plan, the Euro­pean Union in coop­er­a­tion with UNAMA and oth­er inter­na­tion­al part­ners, con­tin­ues to pro­vide long-term assis­tance to Afghanistan in insti­tu­tion build­ing and civil­ian capac­i­ty pro­grammes, includ­ing at sub-nation­al lev­el. The Coun­cil expects to dis­cuss a first report on the progress of imple­men­ta­tion of the Action Plan next month.

5.) The Coun­cil stressed the impor­tance of cred­i­ble, inclu­sive and secure par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Afghanistan reflect­ing the will of the peo­ple. Recall­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the EU Elec­tion Obser­va­tion Mis­sion to the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tions of 2009 and the com­mit­ments made at the Lon­don Con­fer­ence to ensure the integri­ty of the elec­tions, the Coun­cil urged the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanistan to pro­ceed with­out fur­ther delay with reforms to the elec­toral process to safe­guard the impar­tial­i­ty, inde­pen­dence and integri­ty of the elec­toral insti­tu­tions, notably the Inde­pen­dent Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and the Elec­toral Com­plaints Com­mis­sion, in close coop­er­a­tion with the SRSG of the UN. The Coun­cil empha­sised that only struc­tur­al reforms will make any sup­port extend­ed to the elec­toral process by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty ful­ly effec­tive. The Coun­cil will con­tin­ue to close­ly fol­low prepa­ra­tions for the upcom­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.”