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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
September 19, 2013
I thank Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his informative briefing today. I would further like to express my highest respect to all the staff of UNAMA for their deep commitment and dedication to their challenging assignment. I also thank Ambassador Tanin for his participation and for his statement.
Afghanistan has traveled a long and difficult path leading up to the current three significant transitions; political, economic and security.
Smooth transfer of power in a peaceful and transparent manner is essential for a successful political transition, which will serve as a foundation for the other two transitions. In this regard, I wish to commend the government and the people of Afghanistan for the tangible progress made towards the Presidential and provincial elections to be held in 2014. Among the other concrete steps taken, enactment of the two critical electoral legal frameworks has particular significance for conducting credible and inclusive elections. Timely establishment of the impartial Independent Electoral Complaints Commission is now expected. We also hope that the current intensive discussions among numerous political parties will create a good environment for the process towards a fair Afghan-led election, and look forward to seeing the outcome of the nomination process of candidates. I would like to express Japan’s serious intention to join in the efforts by the international community to lend its support in this process through ELECT2.
While improvements have been made, the security situation continues to be a concern. In order to encourage the full participation of all eligible voters, security challenges must be properly addressed. Japan encourages the government of Afghanistan to take appropriate risk mitigation measures based on a realistic security assessment.
Over the longer term, an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process backed by good neighboring relations is the most important task for the legitimate Afghan government. In this regard, Japan welcomes the recent summit meeting between Afghan President Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif. It was encouraging to hear the positive messages from the Pakistani leader regarding his support for the ongoing peace process that were followed by the release of additional Taliban members. I would like to stress, once again, Japan’s continuous support for Afghan-led peace and stability.
For the smooth and successful political and economic transitions, timely implementation of the commitments in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF) is of paramount importance. The Senior Official Meeting in Kabul on July 3rd provided us a valuable opportunity to assess the status of commitments and refocus our efforts towards a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Japan expects the Afghan government to redouble its efforts especially in areas of anti-corruption, public finance, and rule of law and right of women.
As Japan has repeatedly expressed, the key is mutuality. While the international community is expected to provide Afghanistan with credibility and predictability of its future assistance, the Afghan government is strongly encouraged to further its own efforts to improve governance and implement faithfully its growth strategy. Japan will continue to be engaged in the follow-up process until the final goal of TMAF is met by both Afghanistan and its international partners.
Turning to the security situation, Japan condemns in the strongest terms the brutal terrorist attacks which caused the tragic loss of innocent lives all over the country, including the assaults against international aid agencies, as well as diplomatic facilities. As a strong supporter of the protection and empowerment of women in Afghanistan in various fields, Japan expresses its serious concerns about the recent intimidation and targeted killings of female Afghan government officials and public figures.
We welcome the Security Council press statement on the attack on the United States Consulate in Herat last Friday and I join my colleagues in condemning any acts of violence and expressing our determination to fight terrorism.
The security transition is basically on track and we must not let any terrorist act revert this path. As is mentioned in the Secretary General’s report, despite this difficult security environment, we have witnessed increased competence and confidence of the Afghan National Security Forces in conducting most operations. Challenges continue to exist, but the international community must remain united alongside Afghanistan in combating by all means the threats posed by any illegal armed groups.
I thank you, Mr. President.