Statement by Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate of the General Assembly on the Situation in Afghanistan
November 20, 2013
It gives me special honor and pleasure to address this agenda item, particularly because I served as the first Special Representative of Japan to Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009 and 2010.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Ambassador Wittig of Germany and his colleagues, who ably led the consultations throughout its entire process. I also thank Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan for his constructive engagement towards achieving a consensus on the draft resolution.
Japan is pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution before us today.
Before I start my intervention, I would like to pay tribute to all the men and women in Afghanistan who have devoted themselves to rebuilding their country under the most difficult circumstances. My tribute also goes to all the citizens of the UN member countries, including my own, who have been working for enhancing the stability and development of Afghanistan.
The year 2014 presents a critical juncture for the future sustainability of Afghanistan, as the country is expected to achieve concrete results through the Presidential election and the completion of the security transition.
In this regard, we all wish that the United Nations, in particular UNAMA, shall play an increasingly important role in 2014 and beyond, in supporting the government’s efforts to meet its development goals and achieve lasting peace. Japan will continue to lend its support for the work of the UN in Afghanistan.
Today I would like to address some key issues and challenges which Japan believes the government of Afghanistan must tackle.
First and foremost, the upcoming presidential and provincial elections must give strong legitimacy to the new government to be established. The next President will take over the heavy duties of President Karzai, who has tirelessly led the country towards lasting peace and stability for more than 11 years.
In order to attain strong legitimacy of the government, first, it is imperative for Afghanistan to ensure a fair and transparent election process, starting from its preparatory stage.
Second, the election results should be a reflection of the will of the entire population. To this end, it is indispensable for the government to encourage full participation of all eligible voters.
In this light, Japan commends the important progress made by Afghanistan regarding voter registration, adoption of the electoral legal framework and establishment of key electoral institutions, to name a few. However, security still remains key to ensure wider participation. Also crucial are the processes and logistics, such as the voting process itself, as well as the counting and announcement of final results. These are also important challenges.
Last but not least, Afghanistan must hold the election in April 2014, as currently scheduled according to its Constitution.
Japan, as a long-term partner of Afghanistan, is ready to assist with the government’s endeavours. We support the work of the Independent Electoral Commission through the Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity 2(ELECT2).
We also look into joining the Election Observer Mission to give constructive impact to the election process.
Now I would like to touch upon what we expect from Afghanistan, in particular from the future government of Afghanistan, on important challenges.
The Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan held in July last year demonstrated once again the strong will and commitments both by the Afghan government and the international community. Reliable and timely implementation of the mutual commitments, under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), is the key driving instrument towards a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
Thus, it is critical that the duties for implementation of the commitments made by Afghanistan be properly handed over to the new government. In this regard, I would like to renew the call for Afghanistan, to take sustained and accelerated action to deliver its commitments as agreed at the Conference. These commitments include governance, rule of law and human rights, as well as public finance.
In order to help Afghanistan’s efforts, Japan has been delivering assistance in a faithful and generous manner. Since January 2002, when Japan hosted the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo, we have contributed, to this day, a total of 5 billion USD to Afghanistan for its developments efforts.
We look forward to seeing tangible progress in this regard towards the Ministerial Meeting to be co-hosted by Afghanistan and the United Kingdom next year.
I would like to conclude my statement by emphasizing the importance of the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process.
Needless to mention, Afghanistan bears full responsibility in advancing the peace process in order to make any dividends of the security transitions irreversible and Japan calls for sustained political determination by the Afghan government.
I would also like to point out that constructive engagements by neighboring countries play a vital role in this Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process. In this regard, it is very encouraging to see the intensive Afghan-Pakistan dialogues over the past year, as the permanent representatives of both Pakistan and Afghanistan spoke today.
At the Japan-Pakistan summit meeting in September here in New York, Prime Minister Abe was assured by Prime Minister Sharif that Pakistan’s positive involvement would continue.
It is our strong hope to see the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process, supported by mutual trust with its neighboring countries, bear concrete results in the near future and all people in Afghanistan and the region enjoy peace dividends.
I thank you, Mr. President.