STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. YUKIO TAKASU
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
ON THE SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
6 January 2010
At the outset I would like to welcome the five new members with us. And also I would like to congratulate you and the Chinese delegation for assuming the important post of the Presidency in January. Also allow me to express deep gratitude to Ambassador Kafando and his delegation for excellent work in December.
On the question of Afghanistan the Secretary-General and the Special Representative Kai Eide made a very useful briefing this morning. And also Ambassador Tanin was very constructive in making a contribution to our discussion. I take this opportunity, Mr. President, on behalf of my Government, to commend Mr. Eide for his very difficult work, especially on the handling of the delicate process of Presidential election in the last few months. Please be assured, Ambassador Eide, that you have our deep appreciation and full support.
(Renewal of commitment)
There can be no doubt that for those engaged in Afghanistan, including us, the last year was the most challenging one since 2001. Exceptional time and energy were spent handling a complicated electoral process. To all of us, the guest house attack in October was a shocking reminder of the treacherous situation on the ground, under which men and women are working to implement the tasks we mandated them to do.
Regrettably, it seems as though we have been repeating the same New Year’s resolution in the past several years. But it seems to me that this year is more serious than the last few years. This moment at the beginning of 2010 is critical to reverse the negative trends of the previous year and to ensure future success in Afghanistan. Although the current political situation surrounding the formation of the new cabinet has been a concern to us, we expect that the new administration of President Karzai is soon to start working on its reform agenda, nation-building and uniting people.
It should also be noted that the international community, all of us, is strengthening assistance for Afghanistan in both the military and development fields. Japan highly welcomes the new US strategy announced on 1 December. Japan on its part announced its new assistance package to Afghanistan up to appropriately five billion dollars over five years from 2009. This package will include assistance for the enhancement of the police force, reintegration of former insurgents and sustainable and self-reliant development. This announcement was timed to the completion of the presidential electoral process and to demonstrate its unchanged support during the challenging period for the people of Afghanistan. We hope that Japan’s assistance will provide impetus for further concrete international assistance to the country. But also, I would like to emphasize here, importance is not only in making pledges but to implement it. And the track record is not necessarily very good here. It is time to honor many pledges which have been made and accelerate their implementation.
Likewise, we expect the same degree of strong commitment from the Afghan Government. We welcome the commitment shown in the inaugural address by President Karzai, including his determination to promote national reconciliation and to fight corruption. I have full confidence that President Karzai’s determination will be translated into concrete actions, and we will stand by the Afghan Government to assist in this effort.
Against this backdrop, the upcoming London Conference will be an opportune occasion to reaffirm commitments on the part of the new Afghan government to implement reforms and on the part of the international community to support and provide resources.
Among the most important agenda of the new Afghan administration will be the reintegration of former insurgents. We should encourage political outreach towards those former insurgents who have forsaken violence and are committed to live peacefully within the framework of the Constitution. In parallel with the military efforts to maintain security, a political agenda including reintegration must be pursued to help stability take root. Let me emphasize that such a plan must be led by the Afghan Government. We are ready to lead international efforts in assistance for reintegration as one of the three pillars of the new strategy, based on our experience in DDR and DIAG. We hope that the London Conference will add momentum to consolidate these efforts.
Japan has been arguing consistently over the past few years the importance of enhanced aid effectiveness and donor coordination in Afghanistan. However, situation is far from satisfactory as Kai Edie told us. Definitely we should do more to avoid waste and enhance impact.
Japan’s assistance priorities of agriculture and rural development, basic human needs and infrastructure are in line with the areas that Afghan Government has prioritized. We concur with the Secretary-General that measures for donor coordination must be taken in partnership with the Afghan Government, with the ultimate goal of “Afghanization” in mind. The United Nations should play an important role for coordination efforts, and the capacity of UNAMA is important. We should look into concrete measures to improve coordination structures of UNAMA but also to expedite recruitment of experienced staff. I think it is very clear, we need to streamline recruitment procedures includingbroader delegation of authority to UNAMA. At the same time, I stress that effective coordination cannot be achieved without cooperation and willingness of donor countries to be coordinated by the UN. This is a point the Secretary-General emphasized. We need political will at the highest level.
Security is the biggest challenge and the prerequisite to all these efforts. We pay high tribute to troop contributing countries, many of whom have lost very precious lives of their personnel. We also commend the Afghan security forces. But it is very clear much more needs to be done to further strengthen their quality and number to ensure long-term stability.
(Role of the UN)
The role of the United Nations has been and will remain indispensable in helping to stabilize and reconstruct the country. We pay our high tribute to the continuing courageous work of the UN staff on the ground. We will continue to support the work of UNAMA to the maximum extent feasible. Security of the staff is utmost concern to us all. We should provide every possible support to additional security measures by the Secretary-General to enable the relocated staff to return as early as possible. Also the mandate of UNAMA will be subject to discussion in the coming months, to ensure that it will meet the expectations of both the Afghan people and the international community. We very much look forward to the Secretary-General’s recommendations in the next report.
In conclusion, I reaffirm Japan’s strong commitment in helping the government and people of Afghanistan and in supporting UNAMA. And I also wish well Turkey for the role of the lead country on Afghanistan.