H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Open Meeting of the Security Council on the Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the Recommendations of the Security Council Mission to Central Africa
17 February 2004
Regrettably, the situation in central Africa and the Great Lakes region remains tense and unstable, and thus requires the continuing involvement of the international community. It is also important to recognize that the conflicts in this region often involve neighboring countries, which obliges us to seek their resolution from a regional perspective. I therefore welcome your decision to convene this meeting, which will enable us to address the issues from a region-wide perspective. At TICAD III, the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which was held last September, Japan indicated that the consolidation of peace is one of three pillars of our assistance to Africa and that great emphasis is to be placed on the promoting of human security. We consider the Great Lakes region a priority sub-region, in which efforts for the consolidation of peace and the promotion of human security are definitively required.
Regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I would first like to express our deep sorrow over the killing of one of the Kenyan Military Observers of MONUC in the Ituri region. This demonstrates that, despite the progress of the peace process since the establishment of the transitional government, the situation in the eastern part of the country remains insecure and precarious. Japan fully supports the focused redeployment of MONUC troops to the eastern areas. In order to further strengthen the peace process in the DRC, it goes without saying that reform of its security sector is of vital importance. Japan thus decided last October to extend assistance in the amount of approximately 4 million dollars for the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Congolese soldiers. We are also considering extending additional assistance in this area, in coordination with the United Nations and other donors. I understand that the Security Council is discussing measures for enhancing the arms embargo imposed in the eastern part of the territory, such as establishment of a group of technical experts to conduct preliminary investigations and of a sanctions committee to make recommendations to the Council based on the findings of the expert group, as proposed by the Secretary-General. We would like to stress in this connection that any measures introduced by the Council must be based on a careful study of their cost-effectiveness, in order to ensure that they are both feasible and effective.
As for Burundi, Japan welcomes the meeting that took place in the Netherlands between the representative of the FNL and President Ndayseye, and their agreement to continue their talks. We strongly hope that, although the situation is still fragile and the outcome difficult to predict, these talks will eventually lead to a lasting peace in Burundi. At the same time, we are very much encouraged to note that African initiatives for conflict resolution and peace consolidation are also under way in Burundi. The efforts of South Africa and Tanzania to facilitate and mediate a peace agreement, the summit level initiative of the Great Lakes region, and the AUs Africa Mission in Burundi (AMIB), which is the first peacekeeping operation of the AU, all represent the crystallization of the main principle underlying NEPAD and TICAD, African ownership, and we highly appreciate these efforts. We welcome the entry into force of the Protocol on the Peace and Security Council of the AU, which will enable African countries to deal with conflict in the region more effectively. Japan is convinced that conflicts in Africa can be more effectively addressed by African countries themselves, as they naturally have greater knowledge and cultural sensitivity as well as a strong sense of ownership with regard to conflict in the region, and believes that the success of such activities of the AU, including AMIB, will be of decisive importance for conflict resolution in Africa in the future. Japan appreciates the contribution of South Africa, Ethiopia and Mozambique in this connection and strongly hopes that the activities of AMIB, with sufficient international support, will continue to be conducted effectively.
As a member of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group for Burundi established by ECOSOC, I had the valuable experience of participating in the international effort to conduct the needs assessment in the areas of humanitarian and economic assistance as well as in the formulation of advice on the coordinated and effective implementation of such assistance. I found that Burundi needs international assistance in a number of areas. In order to promote the post-conflict peace process in Burundi, Japan intends to support Burundi in coordination with other countries, the United Nations and international organizations concerned. More concretely, we will consider extending appropriate assistance for improving human security for the people, promoting DDR and implementing elections in accordance with specific requests by the government of Burundi and international organizations, once relevant national programs are finalized. I am aware that a reconnaissance mission of the United Nations is now on the ground to assist in the effort to consolidate the peace in Burundi. Japan intends to send a concurrent mission to Bujunbura next week to have discussions with our partners on future cooperation between our two countries. Up to now, the Security Council has assessed a situation among the 15 members only, and made important decisions without consulting the major non-member financial contributing countries, although the Council certainly expects to share the financial burden of their decisions with the non-members. Japan therefore welcomes the fact that on this occasion the UN Secretariat is providing major donors and contributors the opportunity to send concurrent missions to conduct assessments alongside the UN mission. We hope that this will become a precedent for the future. We also would like to see Burundi, in the process of its transition from the post-conflict stage to reconstruction and development, become a model for the promotion of human security in Africa.
As a member of the Friends of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, Japan finds it regrettable that the conference has been postponed to the end of this year. Naturally, we are hoping for the success of the conference, but, at the same time, we are concerned about the overly broad themes and agenda. We would like to emphasize that the focus of the conference should be the consolidation of peace.
In order to consolidate peace, it is essential to demonstrate the dividends of peace to the people in the local community, and to advance the peace process, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and security in a comprehensive and integrated manner. Relying on this conviction, we remain strongly committed to the consolidation of peace in the region.
Thank you very much.