2004 Statement


H.E. Ambassador Koichi Haraguchi

Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

At the Security Council Meeting on the Report of the West Africa Mission

16 JULY 2004

Mr. President,

The Government of Japan considers consolidation of peace and realization of human security as the most urgent and essential agenda for the West Africa region. Japan continues to undertake various initiatives, mainly through the TICAD process, to effectively address these issues.

In this regard, the Government of Japan welcomes the fact that the transition to peace and stability is proceeding in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and that progress has been made in a number of areas towards the reconstruction of both countries. We are also pleased to note that Guinea-Bissau has held successful legislative elections and a major step has been taken towards restoring constitutional order. We have been actively providing support for such efforts in order to accelerate the pace of progress, as stated at the Security Council meeting on March 25. With respect to Liberia, the Japanese government has extended approximately 9 million dollars in assistance from March to July to support the DDRR process, humanitarian and similar efforts.

In view of the geopolitical conditions in West Africa, where the situations in neighbouring countries are often closely interlinked, it is critical to take a regional approach to securing the peace and stability of individual countries. As has been repeatedly observed in the past and pointed out again in the report of the Security Council Mission to West Africa, we must recognize that quite often instability in a certain country has a negative impact on the region as a whole. >From this point of view, we are deeply concerned about the current political impasse in C?te d'Ivoire and would like to emphasize once again that a clear commitment and determined efforts on the part of all parties concerned are needed in order to promote the peace process, especially in terms of full and unconditional implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. In this regard, the Government of Japan commends the efforts of the Secretary General, the African Union and concerned countries to set common objectives and a work schedule with a view to holding a summit in Accra on July 29.

We sent a delegation to the African Union summit held in Ethiopia last week. We are glad that we were able to meet with a number of the leaders and ministers of countries in the West Africa region to exchange views on the issues of peace in the region, including that of C?te d'Ivoire, as well as on the critical importance of consolidating peace.

Having said that, I would like to point out the following three issues that we consider of particular importance in promoting a regional approach.

First, Japan welcomes the effort towards achieving mutual cooperation, especially in the field of border controls, among the UN missions deployed in several countries of West Africa. As a result of this effort, it is expected that limited UN resources will be used more efficiently and that cost-effectiveness will be greatly increased. We also welcome the gradual scaling down of UNAMSIL as a result of its successful progress. This reminds us of the need for other peacekeeping operations to be reevaluated, based on an assessment of the actual situation on the ground, and adjusted as necessary. As regards the suggestion in the report that the United Nations Office in West Africa be provided with additional resources, we would like to emphasize that this proposal should be thoroughly examined from the standpoint of whether it will facilitate the promotion of cooperation with ECOWAS.

Second, it is important to enhance the capacity of Africa itself for managing conflicts. In this area, ECOWAS, which is actively conducting various activities in West Africa for the prevention of conflict, has a significant role to play in the region. The UN should try to strengthen the capacity of ECOWAS through further mutual cooperation efforts. As stated in the report, to achieve sustainable peace and development, it is essential that not only the countries emerging from conflict but also all the neighboring countries in the region make efforts to improve their governance through such activities as strengthened border controls and anti-corruption campaigns. International support in this regard is certainly necessary, but we would like to emphasize that the ownership efforts of Africa are the most important element.

Third, Japan shares the view that DDRR is one of the most critical tasks in the peace process. In this connection, we take note of the point raised in the report about the discrepancy in available funding between DD (Demobilization and Disarmament) and RR (Repatriation and Rehabilitation). Japan has provided support for DDRR in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and C?te d'Ivoire, and will continue to cooperate in this field. We also share the concern of the Mission over the three-to-one discrepancy between the amounts of the compensation payments offered in C?te d'Ivoire by the World Bank and in Liberia by the PKO budget. It is reported that this discrepancy is accelerating the flow of ex-combatants into C?te d'Ivoire and is threatening to become a source of instability. With regard to the compensation payments, the question of whether the use of the PKO budget is appropriate should be reexamined, while promoting the involvement of the World Bank and other development institutions. Moreover, the ongoing implementation of DDRR in each country will not lead to a fundamental resolution of the problem unless the flow of small arms is controlled effectively throughout the region as a whole. In this connection, we recognize the importance of the role which ECOWAS has been playing in controlling the movement of arms by means of the Moratorium on Small Arms. We also consider it useful to have the Secretary-General's recommendations on what action the Security Council should take to help reduce the proliferation of small arms in the sub-region, as indicated in the Mission report.

Mr. President,

We have repeatedly underscored the necessity of evaluating the cost-effectiveness of Security Council missions. We believe it will be very helpful if a detailed explanation is made publicly available of the benefits and costs of sending a Security Council mission to a region where on-the-ground UN activities are in place.

We would also like to reiterate that it is of the utmost importance that ownership efforts be promoted by each country in the West Africa region, with the cooperation of international society, in order to ensure the attainment of peace in West Africa. As long as such ownership efforts continue to be made in the region, Japan will remain committed to supporting such efforts as a responsible member of the international community.

Thank you, Mr. President.