Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Security Council Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan
At the beginning, I wish to express my deep appreciation for the words of condolence and support expressed by the members of the Council for the people of Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The Japanese government is making its utmost efforts to address the challenges we are facing. Japan has overcome many challenges in the past, and I am confident that we will once again do so this time.
I thank Special Representative de Mistura for his very comprehensive and informative briefing. I also would like to express my gratitude to all the men and women of UNAMA who have demonstrated a deep commitment to this difficult mission.
Reconstruction and development of Afghanistan is one of the most important issues facing the international community. While respecting Afghan ownership, the international community, in full cooperation with UNAMA, must continue its support for the country.
It was an important step for the Afghan government that NATO allies and partners confirmed, at the NATO summit in Lisbon last November, their commitment to create conditions that will enable Afghan forces to take the lead for security in all provinces of the country by the end of 2014. Expected announcement of the first group of provinces for transition on 21 March is an important step in this effort. This achievement signifies the Afghan government’s determination to take full responsibility for its own development.
In this context, we welcome the tireless efforts made by the Afghan government since the Kabul conference. We expect further progress in improving security capacity and governance. Strengthening the capacity of Afghan security forces and promoting capacity building of the central and local administrative institutions is indispensable. The international community, in support of the Afghan owned process, must continue its engagement with the country in this regard. Japan has been providing, and is determined to continue, assistance for improving the quality of the Afghan National Police by funding police salaries and training of the police.
We welcomed the initiative of the OIC to have hosted the International Contact Group meeting in Jeddah. The Bonn conference scheduled for December will be an important occasion to review the progress and provide impetus for the efforts of Afghanistan and the International Community in this undertaking.
Following the certification of the final results of the election of new members of the Lower House of Afghanistan, Japan welcomes the commencement of the new session and the election of the President of the Lower House. At the same time, we have to carefully follow the progress of the activities of the Special Court. Japan strongly hopes that deliberations in the Lower House proceed smoothly and that remaining issues are resolved as early as possible.
In order to ensure the sustainable development of Afghanistan, it is necessary to establish a system that enables the country to express its own will, built upon democratic processes. We hope that the Afghan government makes its utmost efforts for electoral reform, with the strong support of UNAMA and the international community, to achieve a free and transparent electoral system.
The Afghan-led political process, namely reconciliation and reintegration, will be especially crucial in stabilizing Afghanistan this year. As the recent SG report indicated, the transition process can only be made sustainable if accompanied by an inclusive political process. The inauguration of the High Peace Council and the creation of the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Programme together with the Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund demonstrate significant progress made by the Afghan government. Needless to say, this process must be led by the Afghan government, with support from the international community including Japan. We provided funding for the Trust Fund last October, and will play an active role in the conference on reintegration which will be hosted by the Afghan government in this spring. We are ready to continue our contribution in this area.
In order to consolidate the above mentioned gains and to improve the well-being of the Afghan people, keeping in mind a mid-to-long term perspective beyond 2015, the international community must respond to its development needs and promote the stabilization of people’s livelihoods and construction of basic economic infrastructure. Both the Afghan government and the international community are required to make unrelenting efforts toward this goal. Japan continues to provide assistance in human resource development, infrastructure and for developing and rebuilding the agriculture sector and rural communities.
Having entered a new phase in the transition to Afghan responsibility, Afghanistan still faces various challenges. However, the road toward development and reconstruction of the country is steadily moving forward. Japan will continue to cooperate with the Afghan government, UNAMA and other international partners to achieve real progress for the future of Afghanistan.
In conclusion, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for the dedication of the SRSG de Mistura, and reiterate our commitments to support UNAMA’s efforts.