Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Debate on the Situation in Afghanistan, United Nations General Assembly
November 20, 2017
I would like to thank you for convening this important debate.
I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to Ambassador Christoph Heusgen of Germany and his colleagues for guiding consultations on the resolution on Afghanistan.
Today, we welcome to this Hall, His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Government of Afghanistan, who reaffirmed his Government’s strong commitment to pursuing Afghan-led development, stabilization and anti-corruption efforts. The answer from the international community is clearly described in the resolution. We unanimously express our commitment to continuing to support Afghanistan and its people. But our responsibility does not end here. The focus now is on the implementation of commitments both from the Afghan side and the side of the international community. We welcome that in the past year there were achievements in the political sphere, reforms and strengthening of civic institutions. However, we also see a roll-back in economic development and a deterioration in the security situation. Our ultimate test will be whether Afghanistan achieves self-reliance to the point where donors no longer need to announce multi-year pledges.
Japan has consistently called on the Government of Afghanistan to fulfill its 2014 commitments on equitable representation within the National Unity Government. We believe that inclusivity is the key for political stability in Afghanistan. Without it, genuine progress on an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process which will provide significant security improvements cannot be attained.
In this regard, the “Kabul Process” meeting on 6 June served as a good opportunity for Afghanistan to show its strong will to advance the peace process. Japan hopes that the second round of the “Kabul Process” scheduled in January next year will yield tangible steps which contribute to the peace process. International and regional partners must be united in their support. Violent extremism, which undermines the social-economic stability in Afghanistan, is primarily rooted in weak governance, but the lack of unity among regional stakeholders exacerbates the environment for the Afghan government in overcoming its challenges.
Japan reiterates its appreciation and strong support for the tireless work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The Secretary-General’s strategic review on UNAMA, which Japan welcomes, will serve as an important guidance in enhancing the Mission’s crucial tasks. The resolution adopted this morning calls for the implementation of the recommendations of the review. It is time for the Security Council to consider how we can incorporate findings into the discussion of UNAMA’s mandate renewal.
A Japanese medical doctor, Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, has contributed to the reconstruction of Afghanistan for decades through his irrigation development projects. In his view, if people have access to water resources, people will have far less reason to become terrorists or start a war, because water brings them satisfaction in life. The Government of Japan, together with the Afghan Government and international organizations, supports his efforts. Aware of the fact that the development of an effective irrigation system has strong potential to improve agricultural production, agriculture is the primary driver of economic growth in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) underscores this importance of agriculture.
Japan is eager to witness concrete progress in development, and is committed to assisting Afghanistan on its path towards self-reliance and mutually beneficial relations with its neighbors and the international community at large.
I thank you, Mr. President.