2004 Statement


H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi

Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Open Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation in Bougainville

6 May, 2004

Mr. President,

Allow me first of all to express my appreciation for the comprehensive briefing provided by the Secretariat on the situation in Bougainville. Japan is very pleased to note that, in the period since the political mission was reorganized into the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB) last December, it has continued its activities in an efficient and effective manner. Let me also take this opportunity to say that we highly appreciate the positive role that Ambassador Noel Sinclair played as the head of the UN mission in Bougainville until the end of February of this year.

Mr. President,

The Bougainville peace process has entered into its final and most critical stage both politically and militarily. The current tasks are to formulate the Bougainville Constitution and to collect and destroy weapons. We understand that the Constitutional Commission is currently working on the final draft constitution. It is our hope that the Commission will be able to finalize its work quickly and report to the Government of Papua New Guinea for its speedy endorsement of the draft constitution.

Japan welcomes the report that, through the voluntary cooperation of the people of Bougainville, eighty percent of the collected weapons have already been destroyed. We are somewhat worried, however, about the report that a considerable number of weapons were recently stolen from a government weapons repository. Although we understand that such a theft is an exceptional occurrence, we wish to register our hope that the weapons disposal work be completed expeditiously, so that there will be no recurrence of this kind of unfortunate incident.

Mr. President,

My government would also like to emphasize that, as the expiration date of the mandate of Observer Mission in Bougainville is fast approaching, it is essential for the people of Bougainville to exercise their ownership in accelerating the peace process. On this point, we have been pleased to how positively Bougainvilleans responded to the work of weapons disposal. Japan, for its part, intends to continue extending the bilateral assistance in the areas of education, public health and transportation infrastructure that it began to implement last October. It is our hope that this bilateral assistance will improve daily life and strengthen the economy, so that the people of Bougainville will be able to stand on their own two feet.

The mandate of UN Observer Mission in Bougainville is scheduled to expire at the end of June. For the sake of the consolidation of peace in Bougainville, we are fully aware of the necessity of a long-term commitment, including assistance for economic development on the part of the international community. At the same time, however, Japan maintains the position that the mandate of any United Nations political mission should be limited to the period deemed necessary to complete its assigned goals. We, therefore, strongly hope that, in the period of between now and the end of June, UNOMB will further intensify its work, so that it will be able to fulfill its mission as completely as possible in the time remaining.

Thank you, Mr. President.