The Brussels Conference was a significant appointment for renewing the partnership between Afghanistan and the international community, which is indispensable to assuring a future of development and self-sustaining growth and prosperity for the Country and people of Afghanistan.
We are all aware of how ambitious this goal is. But the stakes are fundamental and Afghanistan cannot afford to fail on the road to reform.
To this end the determination and effectiveness of the National Unity Government’s actions are crucial. In the first two years of its term the Government has shown various encouraging results, but it is absolutely necessary for further concrete steps to be taken in this direction. The cohesiveness of its leaders and the sense of responsibility of all the Afghan institutions in this regard are not an option but rather an unavoidable condition.
The relationship of solidarity between the donor community and Afghanistan renewed in Brussels – and prior to that in Tokyo and London – is built on this assumption. In other words, the framework of mutual accountability must be fully respected in order to declare the success of the ambitious reform and development programs presented by the Afghan Government.
Therefore, every effort must be made to: fight corruption, which represents a formidable obstacle on the road to development and sows a dangerous distrust among the people toward the institutions; complete the election reform; make economic governance more efficient; and continue – this is a priority – to improve the condition of women in the Country by promoting the rights and empowerment of Afghan women in every sector and at every level of society.
The Afghan Government has expressed its strong commitment to these goals, which we appreciate, and in its action it can continue to count on the full support that Italy renewed tangibly in Brussels.
Security conditions are a decisive factor toward meeting the challenge of defending and expanding the progress achieved in the past fifteen years in Afghanistan.
Today the Afghan security and defense forces are deeply engaged in fighting the actions of hostile terrorist insurgent groups, which are taking a growing number of civilian victims and creating more and more internally-displaced persons in Afghanistan.
In this difficult context Italy concretely supports the efforts of the Afghan Government in pursuing the security and stability of the Country. In Warsaw we reaffirmed, together with our NATO partners, the commitment to assist the Afghan defense and security forces in improving their capacities through the role of “framework nation” that Italy performs in the context of the Resolute Support Mission.
To assure a lasting peace in Afghanistan, national reconciliation still remains the primary political objective to pursue.
The start of a possible peace process would certainly benefit from a cooperation and convergence framework among those who can play a positive role in achieving this goal. We therefore need to renew diplomatic efforts so that, in particular, a constructive collaboration among the main regional stakeholders can significantly facilitate the conditions for a peace process and trigger a virtuous cycle of stability and development, for the benefit of Afghanistan and of the region as a whole.