Statement by H.E. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan
19 March 2013
First I would like to thank you for holding this debate. I would also like to thank H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his comprehensive briefing. I appreciate Ambassador Tanin’s statement.
At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the whole staff of UNAMA under the leadership of Special Representative Ján Kubiš. Japan welcomes the adoption of the resolution that renews UNAMA’s mandate and reconfirms the United Nations’ long-term commitment to durable peace in Afghanistan. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of ensuring adequate resourcing in order for UNAMA to fulfill its mandate as described in the resolution.
With more than eleven years behind us, Afghanistan, together with the unchanging support from the international community, has gone down a long uneven path towards sustainable peace. I am confident that Afghanistan now finds itself on the right track. In addition to the United Nations’ long-term commitments, intensive regional efforts for the security and stability of Afghanistan, such as the Istanbul Process, have constantly been put forward at various levels.
On this occasion, I would like to reaffirm that Japan steadfastly remains committed to the long-term stability of Afghanistan beyond the completion of the security transition in 2014. Our new, recently-announced contributions since the beginning of this year include assistance for security, with support for the Afghan National Police; governance support through the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund; infrastructure building, including contributions to the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund; and humanitarian assistance. In total, the assistance amounts to more than 570 million USD and demonstrates Japan’s determination to fulfill the mutual commitments made at the Tokyo Conference.
The year 2013 is of critical importance for Afghanistan to achieve its considerable goals in 2014. Thus, with these international and regional accompaniments, it is now incumbent on Afghanistan, with its strong political will, to make steady and concrete strides forward, especially in the following three areas where Japan believes tangible outcomes are indispensable.
First, as stated in the Secretary General’s report, the timely development of a credible electoral framework for the Presidential election is a key government commitment under the Tokyo Mutual Framework. Japan once again reiterates the importance of attaining deliverables such as the passage of electoral laws and the appointments of qualified Independent Electoral Commission senior appointees before the Senior Official Meeting scheduled in July 3rd . Now we must focus more on substance rather than mere process.
Second, further building the capacity of the Afghan National Security Force is the foremost priority to ensure that the dividends of the security transition are irreversible. Japan welcomes the announcement of Tranche 4 made last December, with which 87 percent of the population will soon live in areas controlled by Afghan security. The increasing number of the ex-combatants enrolled in the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme is also encouraging.
Nevertheless, we must not turn away from the fact that the number of serious security incidents remains deplorably high and includes an increase in internal attacks. In order to control the security situation, the Afghan Security Force needs to enhance its operational capacity, both in terms of quantity and quality. In addition to quantitative reinforcement, a wide range of qualitative reforms are desperately needed in order to overcome challenges such as the low literacy rate, a high turnover, and a lack of capable leaders and trainers. Last month Japan decided to contribute another 122 million USD for the Afghan National Police through UNDP/LOTFA, and is stressing again the need for this police support to be used in a transparent and effective manner and be followed by concrete achievement of enhanced capability of the ANP.
Lastly, lasting stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved when all other efforts are accompanied by the advancement of an Afghan-lead peace and reconciliation process. The increased dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan and their closer cooperation on issues such as the release of Afghan Taliban detainees are welcome. The new procedure to facilitate requests for travel ban exemptions based on resolution 2082 is also expected to provide support to other initiatives with the same goal. I would like also to recall that the whole peace process is supported by the relationship of mutual trust among all the stakeholders, including the trust between the Afghan government and the international community.
I thank you, Mr. President.