Statement by H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Public Meeting on Sudan
9 May 2006
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank you for organizing this important meeting and guiding our deliberations. Japan commends the Government of Sudan and the Minnawi faction and other elements of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) for their courageous decision, arrived at through their dedication to the spirit of compromise, to sign the Abuja peace agreement for the resolution of the conflict in Darfur. I would like to pay tribute to the diplomatic efforts of the African Union, led by Chief Mediator Salim Salim, as well as of the heads of African States, including President Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo and President Obasanjo of Nigeria, and international partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom. I would also like to appreciate the Government of the United States for taking the initiative to convene this timely and important meeting of the Security Council.
The Abuja peace agreement that has just been signed is a further step for the consolidation of peace in Darfur. We call on the remaining factions of the SLM and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to promptly join the agreement, and we urge all parties to sincerely commit themselves to implementing the agreement.
In April last year, Japan pledged assistance in the amount of $100 million to suppor the North-South peace process in Sudan. To date, we have implemented almost ninety percent of that assistance. The consolidation of peace throughout Sudan cannot be achieved without the resolution of the Darfur conflict. I myself paid a visit to Sudan in February this year. Although it was a short stay, I visited Juba, spent a night in Rumbek in South Sudan and observed with my own eyes the status of the implementation of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement. My impression during the trip was that, despite various challenges, slow but steady progress had been made in the implementation of the CPA through well-coordinated efforts by the UN and other actors. If we can do this in the North-South process, why not in Darfur? I therefore strongly hope that the Abuja peace agreement will be implemented as soon as possible with the strong commitment of the parties.
I wish to take this opportunity to inform that our Prime Minister Koizumi just concluded a successful trip to Africa earlier this month. It was the first visit by a Japanese Prime Minister to African Union Headquarters. Japan greatly appreciates the mediation efforts of the African Union and the contribution of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in addressing the Darfur issue. While applauding the dedicated effort by African peacekeepers, we fully recognize the need to strengthen AMIS and to provide additional assistance in order to improve the security situation in the region. My government delivered its assistance for the AU in March last year to provide vehicles for AMIS and to support the peace talks in Abuja. In October, we made a contribution through the Trust Fund for Human Security to assist in capacity-building for AMIS personnel. In addition, I am pleased to inform that, during his trip, Prime Minister Koizumi announced further assistance for AMIS, amounting to approximately $8.7 million, to support the relevant activities of AMIS. We hope that this additional assistance will contribute to the strengthening of AMIS, and we wish that other donors will also join in providing active assistance to AMIS.
For transition from AMIS to a UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, the agreement of the Government of Sudan is needed. Japan therefore commends the recent, more positive response of the Sudanese Government in this regard. We hope that a UN-AU joint assessment mission will be undertaken without further delay. Japan expects that, following the achievement of the peace agreement, consideration of the deployment of a Darfur PKO will be accelerated. My government is ready to study the deployment plan of a Darfur PKO, which the UN Secretariat is expected to submit in the coming days, and to support its deployment as appropriate. We will contribute constructively to the discussion to determine its size and mandate.
Japan is gravely concerned over the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Darfur since the beginning of this year. Improvement of the humanitarian situation in Darfur is an immediate challenge for the international community. Two elements are indispensable in this matter: first, the cooperation of the Sudanese Government in facilitating humanitarian activities, and second, funding for those activities. To date, Japan has provided approximately $33 million for this purpose. I am pleased to inform that Prime Minister Koizumi during his recent visit to Africa also announced additional humanitarian assistance amounting to $10 million. Our government will continue to provide the maximum assistance possible to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in the region.
We are also concerned at the potential impact of the deterioration of the situation in Chad on the lives of more than two hundred thousand Darfurian refugees in the country. As the relations between Chad and Sudan have a serious impact on the situation in Darfur, we hope that both governments will make utmost efforts to improve their relations by complying with and implementing the Tripoli Declaration.
Finally, let me conclude my statement by stressing once again Japan's continuing determination to extend assistance for the consolidation of peace in Darfur, and Sudan as a whole, in light of the signing of the peace agreement.
Thank you very much.
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