Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On the Situation in Somalia
5 March 2012
At the outset, I would like to extend warm congratulations to H.E. Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, on his assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of March, and also to express appreciation for his leadership in convening this Open Debate on Somalia at this timely juncture. I also would like to appreciate H.E.Mr. Elmi Ahmed Duale, Permanent Representative of the Somali Republic, for his statement as well as Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, for his briefing.
I wish to highlight that a large window of opportunity has finally opened for Somalia, which has seen more than 20 years of devastation. This was made possible thanks to the efforts of the Somalia TFG, Somali people and the international community. Japan extends its sincere appreciation to the forces of the Somalia TFG and AMISOM, recently joined by troops from Kenya and Djibouti, as well as Ethiopia, which spared no effort to combat Al-Shabaab, despite huge sacrifices. It is high time for the international community to echo these efforts. In this context, Japan welcomes the adoption of Security Council resolution 2036, which allows for more sustainable assistance to AMISOM operations, and commends Ambassador Mahiga for his dedication to Somalia, including his mediation role and his decision to relocate UNPOS to Mogadishu.
Japan congratulates all participants on the success of the London Conference on Somalia held on 23 February, in which Japan also took active part. It was an important occasion for the international community to reaffirm its strong commitment to Somalia. Japan would like to express its appreciation and respect to the United Kingdom for its leadership in making this meeting successful and fruitful. Japan intends to cooperate proactively with other partners in accordance with the Communiqué adopted at the Conference.
It should be noted that Somali stakeholders have made tremendous efforts over the past year in the Somali political process. Japan expresses its sincere appreciation of the series of agreements they have made, namely, the Kampala Accord, the Roadmap and, most recently, on 17 February, the Garowe II Accord, which paves the way forward to the end of the transitional period in August 2012. Now that the commitment of the international community has been reaffirmed, it is time for the Somali people to renew their commitment.
Japan has committed firmly to the achievement of peace and stability in Somalia, making a wide range of substantive contributions. First, together with the European Union, Japan has taken a leading role in the efforts for the reinforcement of the Somali and AMISOM police sectors, contributing a total of $38 million through two UN trust funds. This contribution is currently providing for the stipends of 5,000 Somali police officers as well as the construction of police stations and the procurement of equipment, including armored vehicles. Bearing in mind that the needs in this field will increase as TFG and AMISOM forces advance in expanding their control areas, Japan remains committed to maintaining this police sector assistance.
Japan is also extending assistance to secure improvement in the humanitarian situation in Somalia, particularly $30 million in assistance to ease the serious famine situation last year. Although the famine crisis has receded, humanitarian needs still remain, so we must continue to extend our support. Furthermore, it’s not too early to consider the issue of the reconstruction of Somalia. In this regard, Japan looks forward to taking part in the Istanbul Conference in June to discuss this issue. Japan is already engaged in the improvement of infrastructure and the promotion of good governance, through various projects such as the rehabilitation of Mogadishu port and border control training for Somali TFG officers in partnership with WFP, UNDP and IOM respectively.
Piracy not only is linked to stability in Somalia, but also continues to be a stand-alone, serious threat to international security. We need to continue to conduct anti-piracy operations. Japan is proud of its participation in these vast maritime peace operations, in close collaboration with other coalitions over the last three years, through the continuous deployment of two vessels and two patrol aircraft in the Gulf of Aden. Our escort and surveillance activities have contributed significantly to the safe passage of merchant ships through these areas. Moreover, in June last year, Japan established its own facility in Djibouti to accommodate its personnel and equipment, towards more effective conduct of these operations. These efforts clearly demonstrate Japan’s strong commitment to the fight against piracy.
While it is commendable that the anti-piracy operations have greatly contributed to the effective prevention of attacks by pirates, Japan has become increasingly concerned about the recent expansion of the area of pirate activity to the western part of the Indian Ocean.
As stated in the Report of the Secretary-General submitted last month, the issue of piracy prosecution remains a major task for the international community. Japan is one of 20 countries which prosecute apprehended suspected pirates in their respective countries, and has recently pledged to make an additional contribution amounting to $2 million to the International Trust Fund managed by UNODC, in support for the prosecution of suspected pirates in Somalia and neighboring States. Also, Japan supports neighboring coastal nations to enhance their maritime security and enforcement capacity so that they can tackle Somali piracy on their own.
The TFG can be transformed to become a more democratic and legitimate government for Somalia. To that end, the upcoming months will be very crucial. Japan urges all Somali stakeholders to implement the Roadmap and the Garowe II Accord without further delay. The next milestone will be the adoption of a new Somali constitution. All stakeholders should take an active role in this important task, and the international community should extend assistance to ensure its realization. Japan, of course, spares no efforts to continue to support Somalia.
I thank you, Mr. President.