H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Meeting of the Security Council on the Security Situation
and Drug Control Issues in Afghanistan
17 June 2003
Thank you for convening this meeting focusing on the security situation and drug control issues in Afghanistan.
Despite the measures taken to eradicate the poppy crops by both the Government of Afghanistan and the international community, it is anticipated that, again in 2003, Afghanistan will be the worldfs largest opium producer. This means that a large amount of drugs will be illicitly exported from Afghanistan, resulting in many criminal actions and victims in various part of the world. In addition, it also means that the restoration of public security and the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan will be jeopardized. Poppy cultivation and the drug business enrich provincial warlords and provide them with bases from which to challenge the authority of the central government. This is a very grave problem. We need to have effective counter-narcotics measures which will contribute to the establishment of the authority of the central government by undermining the financial foundation of the warlords, and thereby contribute to the improvement of security and the consolidation of peace. I would like to make the following points in this regard:
First, we strongly support the ten-year National Drug Control Strategy set out by the Government of Afghanistan. We also welcome the initiative of the United Kingdom as lead nation in this effort. Successful drug control depends not only on effective programs for growers and on capacity-building for law enforcement, but also on the reduction of poverty, because poverty can often lead to drug problems. In order to improve the overall economic situation of the country, especially in rural areas, which we believe will help to enable farmers to overcome their dependence on poppy cultivation, Japan, for its part, is steadily implementing the Comprehensive Regional Development Plan, or the so-called Ogata Initiative. Under this plan, projects are being carried out in such areas as income generation, medical care, sanitation and capacity-building for education and labor-intensive infrastructure rehabilitation.
Second, in addition to promoting poppy eradication and combating the drug trade within Afghanistan, it is also necessary to address the problems from a regional perspective. The drugs produced in Afghanistan are illicitly exported by land to markets abroad. It is therefore essential for the neighboring states to effectively control their borders and cut off the traffic route within their territory. We commend the various initiatives and measures taken in this regard by neighboring states, such as Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan. Japan has supported and contributed to the activities of UNDCP in these countries.
First, the fact that various African development plans which had been submitted by several African leaders were coordinated and amalgamated into NEPAD is a demonstration by Africans of their "ownership" of the peace-building and development process.
Second, NEPAD's major thrusts, namely, to strengthen the ability of African countries to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts, and to anchor democratic governance on solid economic foundations, are an essential approach if African countries are to fully participate in the global economy.
Third, the control of all drugs must be strengthened globally. Unless the supply and demand for drugs is controlled world-wide, it will be impossible to control the trafficking of drugs. What is required therefore are more thorough exchanges of information among customs authorities and greater cooperation among law enforcement and investigative agencies.
Fourth, as I mentioned at the outset, drugs affect public security; it stands to reason then that measures to enhance public security will also lead to effective counter-narcotics measures. In this sense, success in the DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) of ex-combatants as well as the establishment of a credible Afghan national army and police forces will enhance the effectiveness of drug control efforts.
In this context, I wish to underscore the importance of support for the DDR process, which President Karzai announced will start on 22 June. It is encouraging that he has also committed to complete the Disarmament and Demobilization process by the time the election is held in June of next year. Japan and the United Nations are taking the lead in this process, and are making great efforts for its success. Among the challenges we are facing are the need to ensure the neutrality of the Mobile Disarmament Unit (MDU), establish an international verification system, ensure public security, reform the Ministry of Defence, and strengthen the reintegration project. We highly appreciate the cooperation of the countries which have sent, or are ready to send, Provisional Reconstruction Teams (PRT) to the provinces. We urge the international community to extend full cooperation to the DDR process, which is indispensable for the improvement of the overall public security situation throughout the country, the consolidation of the peace process, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.
As other new urgent issues come up in other areas such as Iraq or the Middle East, there is concern over the tendency for the attention of the international community to be distracted from Afghanistan. But we should be aware that failure to secure the peace in that country could seriously affect the peace process in the other areas as well. Now, as the peace process in Afghanistan approaches an extremely delicate stage, with the forthcoming Constitutional Loya Jirga and the election next year, the public security situation remains very precarious. Our support for the peace process must not simply be gestures made at times when the situation in Afghanistan is the focus of world attention. We must honor the commitments we made until a free, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan is achieved.
Thank you, Mr. President.