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
I thank Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Dr. Rassoul for his presence today and his statement. I also 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.
At the outset, I would like to join my colleagues to express my sincere condolences on the demise of Professor Rabbani, Chairman of the High Peace Council in Afghanistan. Japan expresses its firm condemnation of such atrocious acts of terrorism.
As we have witnessed by various incidents, the security situation in Afghanistan continues to be challenging. There were targeted assassinations of high ranking officials and suicide attacks as described in the recent SG report. Security remains a priority that we have to tackle.
It is significant that the process of transition of security responsibility officially started in July. As I stated on previous occasions, it is indispensable for peace and security in Afghanistan that a smooth transition is conducted during the drawdown of US and other international forces, namely by strengthening the capacity of the Afghan Security Forces. During this period Japan continues to play its role for achieving this purpose through assistance to the Afghan Police.
The transition and sustainable security are interlinked with the political process. The loss of Professor Rabbani signifies even more the importance of continuing on the road of reconciliation and reintegration, which Professor Rabbani had spearheaded. In light of this tragedy, it is important that all of Afghanistan’s leaders stand together in solidarity and demonstrate their resolve to work in support of peace, reconciliation and national unity. Now is the time for international partners to contribute to the advancement of the political process. Japan is determined to continue our contribution for achieving irreversible progress in the Afghan-led reintegration program.
The Working Group on Reintegration under the International Contact Group met here last week, chaired by Ambassador Tanin and co-chaired by the United Kingdom and Japan. The group reaffirmed their commitment to the Afghan government’s programmes to reintegrate all those insurgents who are verifiably willing to renounce violence and terrorism and respect the Afghan Constitution, noting the need to provide support to their families in order to facilitate this.
For long-term stability in Afghanistan, we have to accelerate regional cooperation among surrounding neighbors. Japan will play an active role in strengthening regional economic cooperation to pave the way for integrating Afghanistan into the regional and global economy.
We appreciate the initiative of Germany, Afghanistan and the United States for having co-chaired the Ministerial meeting on the New Silk Road last week. Japan supports the basic concept of the New Silk Road. Japan attaches importance to the following three points for advancing regional economic cooperation. First is to place emphasis on the Southern Route which connects Afghanistan with the Indian Ocean. Second is to promote the development of transport infrastructure, contributing to the growth of agriculture, which absorbs approximately 80% of Afghanistan’s labor population. Third is assistance to border control and customs procedures.
Japan believes that there is a firm commitment by the international community for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We expect further progress during the Istanbul Conference in November and Bonn conference in December. On the Afghan side, the country needs to strengthen its capacity for achieving real Afghan ownership and leadership.
Let me conclude by referring to the address by Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, at the General Assembly, in which he said: “In order to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a breeding ground for terrorism, we will continue to confront the problem with strong resolve.”
We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the dedication of the SRSG de Mistura, and reiterate our commitment to support UNAMA’s efforts.