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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan
June 20, 2013
I thank Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his informative briefing that was broad in scope and would like to acknowledge the hard work of the whole staff of UNAMA under his leadership. I also appreciate Ambassador Tanin’s comprehensive statement.
At the outset, I wish to express our deepest regret and condolences for the loss of all civilian lives as well as all those of Afghan and foreign security and military personnel during the recent brutal attacks by anti-government groups. We are also gravely shocked by the assault against the ICRC, an organization at the center of the humanitarian community that has sought to help Afghans for years. Japan condemns any terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms and reaffirms our full determination to contribute to the Afghan government and the international community’s response to stop this cycle of violence.
Despite this severe security climate, we all have witnessed the increased competence and confidence of the Afghan National Security Forces in responding to these incidents. We welcome the progress made by the Afghan authorities in taking the lead for security across the country as well as the announcement of the final Tranche of the security transition. Challenges in the field of security still remain and are daunting, but we have no other choice but to remain unified and steady in our efforts.
On this very day we cannot stress too much the crucial importance of the July 3rd Senior Official Meeting, which will serve as a transparent instrument to help us realize our mutual commitments made at the Tokyo Conference last July. The concept of mutuality is key. Japan has already implemented more than 1.4 billion USD of assistance out of 3 billion USD pledged at the Tokyo Conference. We acknowledge the intensive efforts made by the Afghan government for the preparation of this first follow-up meeting as well as some progress made against its commitments.
At the same time, some urgent issues, which constitute the core of the Afghan government’s commitments, remain to be addressed. A basic electoral architecture, namely the IEC structural law and the Electoral Law, must be in place as soon as possible to have fair, credible and inclusive presidential and provincial elections in April 2014.
Corruption continues to be a major concern that undermines the legitimacy of the state. In order for the international community to keep its commitment under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, it is incumbent on the Afghan government to make constructive moves forward, including by swiftly and fairly resolving the Kabul bank case. Full implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women is another key government commitment and all achievements on women’s empowerment should be well sustained.
All the responsible institutions in Afghanistan are strongly encouraged to unite their political will and show serious dedication towards achieving these goals.
It is our belief that all the roadmaps for a stable and prosperous future for Afghanistan can only come true when accompanied by the constructive involvement of all regional states and actors, both in a multilateral and bilateral manner. In this regard, Japan welcomes the outcome of the ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process in Almaty in April, namely the adoption of the implementation plans for the six confidence-building measures. Japan, for its part, as a supporting country of CBM on Disaster Management, is pleased to share its own experience in this area and contribute to this regional initiative.
In the same spirit, an Afghan-Pakistan dialogue and good neighbouring relations are vital for the long-term stability of Afghanistan. In this connection, it is our strong hope to see the new leadership of Pakistan and the Afghan government further consolidate the mutual trust and respect necessary to eliminate tensions over the border areas and create further positive momentum for the promotion of the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.
Last but not least, to proceed with this peace and reconciliation process is the predominant task to achieve security and political stability in Afghanistan.
Japan welcomes the opening of Qatar office by the Taliban and expects that this will lead to an early start of reconciliation negotiations and a peaceful solution to the conflict. The sustained political will and concrete efforts of Afghanistan are vital for bringing peace dividends to all Afghans. The international community must remain united beside Afghanistan until this vision becomes a reality.
I thank you, Mr. President.