Firstly, allow me to commend Germany for its leadership on the resolution before us today, which has been negotiated against a complex backdrop, and under challenging circumstances.
In the midst of the global pandemic, 2020 is also the year that sparked a glimmer of hope for an end to more than four decades of conflict in Afghanistan.
Norway welcomes the announcements by the two Afghan negotiating sides in Doha on December 2nd that they have adopted the rules of procedure, and have moved to discuss the draft agenda.
This represents an important step in a process that must have at its end-point a durable and inclusive peace settlement in Afghanistan.
We also commend Qatar’s key role in hosting and facilitating this phase of negotiations and this important breakthrough.
Building on the important milestone of December 2nd, we encourage both sides to continue to engage with each other in good faith, with a constructive spirit, and ready to find common ground.
We also urge both sides to give priority to ending violence.
The ongoing violence is unacceptable.
Norway unreservedly condemns all acts of terrorism.
And we support the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global humanitarian ceasefire.
Experience teaches us that inclusive peace agreements are more likely to succeed in the long-run.
We see the participation of women in all aspects of the peace and security process, including at the negotiating table, as crucial in this respect.
The peace negotiations should be Afghan-owned and Afghan led.
The international community stands ready to offer support as the parties may wish.
Afghanistan’s neighbors play a vital role in securing peace, stability and prosperity.
Integrating Afghanistan into the regional economy will be a major contribution towards poverty eradication.
We reiterate our support for a political settlement that protects the rights of all Afghans, including women, youth, and minorities.
A settlement that sustains and builds on the economic, social, political and development gains achieved since 2001.
The recent donors’ conference gave a clear message from the international community that Afghanistan is expected to continue strengthening its democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights.
Efforts in combatting corruption must also be redoubled.
Norway will continue to provide humanitarian assistance and watch closely how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and affect Afghanistan.
Protection of civilians needs to be one of our main priorities.
Particular attention should be given to protection of children and young people, including the protection of schools from attack.
It is essential that humanitarian actors get safe and unhindered access to people in need of lifesaving assistance and protection.
We must also ensure that efforts to prevent violent extremism does not undermine human rights or impede the ability of civil society – including women’s groups – to operate effectively.
On January 1st, Norway will take a seat as an elected member in the Security Council.
We will do our utmost to support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNAMA, and to ensure that the Council supports Afghanistan’s peace and development process.