Remarks to the press
by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the Joint Press Conference following the Meeting on Afghanistan
Thank you, Secretary General Rasmussen, of NATO; thank you, President Karzai, of Afghanistan.
It’s a great honour and pleasure for me to be standing together with President Karzai and the Secretary General Rasmussen.
I thanked the Secretary General Rasmussen’s leadership in organizing this very important meeting on Afghanistan.
We have just had a successful meeting, culminating in the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration and NATO Afghanistan Partnership Agreement.
These are important steps forward that build on all your conferences in London, in Kabul and on progress on the ground in Afghanistan.
Let me stress that the United Nations will continue to work closely with the government and people of Afghanistan, with ISAF and other partners. We all share the same goal: stability, reconciliation, good governance, respect for human rights, and harmonious relationships between Afghanistan and her neighbours.
There have been obvious difficulties in recent months, but we remain united and committed. We have defined the clear path for transition.
Afghan institutions have demonstrated that they can take on increasing leadership and responsibility. The United Nations will do its part to support the civilian aspect of this transition.
We also recognize that there can be no purely military solution. Afghanistan’s stability and well-being depend on a genuine political dialogue amongst all Afghans aimed at resolving the conflict. The Afghan-led search for a political solution has only entered this initial stage. The United Nations will support the process.
As we move ahead, we must be guided by realities, not schedules. Let us remember that Afghanistan has been at war for several decades. The United Nations has been working in Afghanistan throughout this period, helping Afghans at every difficult moment of their country’s history.
There are no shortcuts to peace. The United Nations is committed to supporting the Afghans over the longer term.
I thank the leaders of NATO and ISAF for their commitment and I pay tribute to all those soldiers and civilians, Afghans and international, who have given their lives in this effort.
The costs have been high. But the objective, Afghanistan at peace, remains necessary and just. I look forward to continuing close collaboration with Afghanistan and its partners in the period ahead.
Thank you very much.