Statement by Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan
March 17, 2014
I wish to thank Special Representative Mr. Kubiš for his comprehensive briefing. I also thank Ambassador Tanin for his statement.
I would first like to express my deepest condolences to the government and people of Afghanistan for the great loss of their First Vice President, Marshal Fahim. His exceptional contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan will be remembered.
To address the Security Council on the situation of Afghanistan gives me a special gratification, because I have been personally involved in Japan’s efforts towards helping create stability and development of this beautiful country since 1990’s, and in particular since the Tokyo International Conference on Afghanistan held in January 2002.
Japan welcomes today’s adoption of the resolution to renew the UNAMA’s mandate for another twelve months. In this time of uncertainty, the continuous presence of UNAMA is crucial. I would like to emphasize also the importance of ensuring adequate resourcing for UNAMA to efficiently support Afghanistan towards its peace and stability.
The 2014 is a year of historical significance for the people of Afghanistan, as the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will be completed as well as the country will experience the election of its second President.
Today, I would like to touch upon, first, on the elections, second, on challenges that must be addressed by the future government, and finally, on Japan’s commitment to Afghanistan.
First, on the elections. For the long-term stability of Afghanistan, it is of utmost importance that the upcoming Presidential and Provincial elections lend strong legitimacy to the government through a credible and inclusive election process. I reiterate the importance of holding the election without delay on April 5th according to the Afghan Constitution. In this regard, I commend the tireless efforts of the government and the electoral management bodies of Afghanistan for keeping the technical preparations on track. Japan has made financial contributions through UNDP to make a positive impact on the electoral process. I call on all eligible citizens of Afghanistan to participate in this election of crucial importance to decide their own future.
Second, I would like to touch upon what we would like to see from Afghanistan, in particular from the future government, which takes over the responsibilities of President Karzai to lead the country toward long term stability.
On this subject, I welcome the participation of the presidential candidates at the Special Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board meeting which was held on January 29. Since all the candidates have been actively present in the political life of Afghanistan since 2001, I am confident that they all understand very well the spirit of partnership which exists between the Afghan government and the international community. Even so, it was important for us to know that the candidates recognize their responsibilities to implement the commitments under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).
Ensuring economic stability is a matter of urgency for the government of Afghanistan. In order to achieve this goal, the new government will have to immediately grapple with a variety of legislative and institutional reforms necessary for increasing annual revenue, reducing the rapidly expanding illicit economy, and developing industry. We look forward to seeing tangible results before the ministerial meeting to be co-hosted by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom.
Further, recognizing that reconciliation is the only way to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan, the future government must continue to call on the Taliban to join the peace process. Japan supports the Afghan led peace and reconciliation process. For lasting peace and stability of Afghanistan, continuous efforts by the leadership of Afghanistan as well as constructive engagement of neighboring countries are indispensable. The increased dialogue between Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including Pakistan, is encouraging in this regard.
Concerning the security situation, we witnessed in 2013 a sharp increase in insurgent attacks and civilian casualties. Further deterioration of the security situation will inevitably have a negative impact not only on Afghanistan’s economic and social activities, but also on implementation of our assistance policy. Security is also vital to encourage the full participation of all eligible voters, especially female voters, in the upcoming elections. One of the most crucial responsibilities of the Afghan government is to continue building up the capacity of the Afghan National Security Force, as well as ensuring the necessary security arrangements in close cooperation with its international partners.
Finally, let me say a few words on Japan’s commitment to Afghanistan.
Since January 2002, when we hosted the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo, we have contributed, to this day, more than 5 billion dollars to Afghanistan for its developments efforts. Japan’s contribution covers a wide range of areas. For example, we have provided approximately 30 percent of the total salary of the Afghan National Police, and built or renovated more than 820 schools all over the country.
I would like to conclude by reaffirming Japan’s commitment to stand by the government and people of Afghanistan in their endeavors for long-term stability.
I thank you, Madam President.