Thank you Mr. President,
We welcome High Representative Baroness Ashton to the Security Council and thank her for her briefing on the European Unionís cooperation with the United Nations. We join Australia in congratulating the EU on receiving Nobel peace prize.
Pakistan and the European Union enjoy excellent relations. The European Union is an important trading and development partner of Pakistan.
Pakistan attaches importance to cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security. Over the years the European Union (EU) has become a major cooperation partner of the United Nations and has made important contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security.
African issues constitute the bulk of the agenda of the Security Council. Although the African Union and African sub-regional organizations are currently working actively to resolve conflicts in Africa, they are facing funding and capacity problems. The EU has provided significant support to peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities in Africa. It has provided substantial funding for United Nations-mandated African Union (AU) peace support operations and is playing an active role in post-conflict peacebuilding efforts in the continent.
The Sahel region faces serious security, humanitarian, and socio-economic challenges, which have negative consequences for the long-term stability of the region. These include chronic food insecurity, underdevelopment, impact of climate change, and rise of organized crime including terrorism, and drug and weapons trafficking.
The outflow of refugees from Mali, for instance, has placed an additional burden on neighbouring countries that have already suffered from drought.
The enormous challenges in the region can be addressed effectively through a coherent strategy. The region lacks capacity and resources. It needs support of the international community. It is in this context, that Pakistan supported the elaboration of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel region.
The European Union is already making significant contribution to the Sahel region through the ďEU Strategy for Security and Development in the SahelĒ. In addition to the funds committed under the Strategy, the EU has also made a commitment to address the humanitarian situation in the region. We hope that the EU will continue to support the region and will also provide resources for the UN Integrated Strategy, which we expect will soon be finalized.
The situation in Mali poses a serious threat to the peace and security of the region and beyond. The crisis in Mali stems from internal causes, as well as the overall situation in the wider Sahel region. Following the French intervention, the situation has significantly improved, but the country requires sustained support of the international community to consolidate peace and restore full constitutional order.
We welcome the EUís decision to provide training to the Malian Defense Forces through the deployment of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) as well as its commitment to contribute to the funding of AFISMA through the EU African Peace Facility. We hope that as a clearer picture emerges regarding the countryís needs, the EU will offer further assistance to Mali.
The EU has also made important contribution to consolidating peace in the Balkans. The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) is providing support to Kosovo in the area of rule of law. The EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has helped to bring the two sides together to resolve their outstanding disputes. The recent elevation of the dialogue to the level of Prime Ministers is an important personal contribution of Baroness Ashton.
The Syrian crisis has assumed catastrophic proportions. More than 70,000 people have died. An estimated 4 million Syrians , including 800,000 refugees and 200 IDPs, need humanitarian assistance. Pursuit of the military option has fueled this devastating internecine strife for the past two years. Syrians as one nation have to reconcile their differences through dialogue.
With the recent statements of the opposition and the government for dialogue without preconditions, there is a glimmer of hope for engagement. This opportunity must be seized by the Syrians, the United Nations and the European Union. Full support to the efforts of the Secretary General and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi will help in making the Geneva Communique operational and giving a fresh impetus to diplomacy.
We welcome the results of the donorsí conference in Kuwait on 30 January, where the international community was able to pledge US$ 1.5 billion. We hope that these pledges would be fulfilled expeditiously to alleviate some part of suffering of the Syrian people.
We appreciate the humanitarian assistance, which the EU is providing to the affected people of Syria.
The Security Council has invested considerable time and efforts to address the Iranian nuclear issue. It is time to reflect on and review the objectives and strategy pursued so far.
A peaceful resolution of this issue is possible by pursuing the twin goals of non-proliferation and Iranís right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Confidence building measures will help this process.
We encourage the E-3 Plus Three and Iran to stay the course of meaningful engagement, build on the talks that they have held so far and deepen the diplomatic process for a negotiated resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope that the talks on 26 February will make some headway.
We welcome Baroness Ashton's statement on the Middle East peace process. The European Union and the UN Secretary General, as members of the Quartet, can play an important role in reviving the completely stalled process. The two state solution is in a free fall. The EU can help in reversing this trend by putting its collective political and moral weight behind the efforts to persuade key states and players to come back to the negotiating table.
In conclusion, we welcome the Security Councilís continued engagement and exchange of views with the EU. We encourage the ongoing cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and regional organizations. Such cooperation can play an effective role in conflict prevention, conflict-resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding.
I thank you.