H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi
Permanent Representative of Japan
On Item 28, "The Situation in Afghanistan and its Implications for International Peace and Security",
and Item 40(f), "Emergency International Assistance for Peace,
Normalcy and Reconstruction of War-stricken Afghanistan"
5 December 2003
Thank you for your initiative to convene this meeting in order to discuss this very important subject on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Bonn Agreement.
During the last two years, much progress has been made, including the recent finalization of the draft constitution, among other achievements, and we commend all the parties involved in Afghanistan for their efforts. In order to further advance the political process in Afghanistan, the upcoming Constitutional Loya Jirga must be successful in producing concrete results which will pave the way for the election to be held next year. I am confident that the further leadership of President Hamid Karzai and the continued efforts of all parties concerned will facilitate the attainment of these objectives.
Japan is determined that Afghanistan should not become politically destabilized and should never revert to being a breeding ground for terrorism, and therefore continues to be actively involved in efforts to support its reconstruction, in concert with the international community. Recently, Japan extended the term of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law for the purpose of enabling the Japanese Self Defense Force Vessels deployed in the Indian Ocean to continue to engage in replenishment activities in support of the Operation Enduring Freedom coalition fighting against terrorism in Afghanistan.
At the Tokyo Conference held in January of 2002, Japan pledged to provide 500 million US dollars in assistance by June 2004. At this point, approximately 468 million dollars, which amounts to more than 90% of the pledged amount, has already been implemented or allocated for specific projects, and the pace of allocation is accelerating. We are working hard to implement the remaining 32 million dollars in assistance as early as possible.
In addition, Japan decided last month to make an additional pledge of 20 million US dollars through its trust funds in the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, in an effort to respond to Afghanistan's urgent near-term needs.
Furthermore, with respect to assistance after June of 2004, Japan recently urged the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and UNDP to carry out a revised needs assessment for Afghanistan, on the basis of which we will consider future contributions that are commensurate with our international responsibilities.
Restoration of domestic security is indispensable to advancement of the political process and the smooth implementation of international assistance. From this perspective, the recent trends in the overall security situation, which include the Taliban reunification movement, a shift in terrorist tactics to focusing on "soft targets" such as humanitarian aid workers, expansion of opium production, and glaring attacks on efforts to promote the rights of women, are of grave concern to all of us. We need to seriously address this issue. Japan welcomes in this connection the adoption of the Security Council resolution 1510 to allow ISAF to deploy in the provinces and assume additional duties. We strongly hope that, with support from Member States, ISAF will be able to step up its activities outside Kabul and thus contribute to the improvement of the security situation in the provinces.
Japan, taking the lead in tandem with the United Nations in supporting Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) for ex-combatants, welcomes the start of the pilot phase of the DDR program, and reiterates its appeal to the international community to support it. In order to succeed, DDR must be implemented in a fair and equitable manner, which will ensure that it benefits the Afghan people as a whole and not only specific groups, and the role of the International Observer Group (IOG) is extremely important for verification of that. We highly appreciate the efforts of the IOG in the pilot phase and urge the Transitional Administration and all Afghan groups to cooperate with the IOG, and the international community to support it by financial and other means, in order to move towards full-scale implementation of DDR.
It is essential that the political process, improvement of domestic security, and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance be advanced in a balanced manner. All three elements are interlinked. The current grave security situation risks delaying and even placing in jeopardy the ongoing political and reconstruction processes. The United Nations is now under criticism from various quarters, but it is extremely important for the United Nations to rigorously follow through on a task once embarked upon, in order to maintain its authority. The United Nations has taken a forceful initiative to help Afghanistan to escape conditions of coercion, poverty, and conflict and to become a democratic and peaceful state with bright prospects for the future. Achieving this objective is extremely important for Afghanistan and for the United Nations as well. In co-sponsoring and strongly endorsing the draft resolution presented here, we wish to reemphasize the importance of remaining focused on our commitment to making the utmost effort to realize that goal.
Thank you very much.