STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. YUKIO TAKASU
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
AT THE MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
ON THE SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
15 October 2007
Thank you, Mr. President, for convening today's debate on the situation in Afghanistan. I join previous speakers in thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Koenigs, for his comprehensive and informative briefing.
Since the last debate on this topic at the Security Council in March this year, we are encouraged by certain progress in Afghanistan. In the area of economic development, positive economic figures have been reported, and the finalization of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy is under way. Regional initiatives including the convening of the Peace Jirga in August have contributed to the process of establishing peace and security in the region.
These positive signs of progress notwithstanding, the challenges facing Afghanistan are enormous; issues of security, narcotics and corruption are yet to be overcome. Sustained and coordinated international efforts in assisting the country are essential. I take this opportunity to reaffirm Japan's unwavering commitment to support Afghanistan in its efforts to stabilize and reconstruct the nation.
I would also like to underscore the central role that the United Nations has been playing in coordinating international efforts to address these and other challenges. Japan commends the work of UNAMA and its staff, who are operating under very difficult conditions. In particular, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Mr. Koenigs for his service and dedication to fulfill the indispensable role of the UN.
The security situation in Afghanistan remains source of deep concern. In particular, we are seriously concerned about the increasing number of cases of abduction and suicide attacks.
Among the various efforts to improve the security situation, security sector reform has a key role. We support the efforts of President Karzai and his Government in this area and look forward to further initiatives and achievements in the future. As regards the DIAG process, in which Japan is acting as a lead country, I was encouraged by a recent report from the Japanese Embassy in Kabul that, in the past year, momentum has been regained and progress achieved in the areas of both policy and operations. At the same time, I must emphasize that, in order for further progress to be made, it is essential to carry out the recommendations put forth at the conference held in Tokyo in June this year, including the improvement of coordination between DIAG and other areas of security sector reform such as police reform.
In addressing the threats posed by terrorists in Afghanistan, sustained international efforts are needed to supplement the efforts of the Afghan Government itself. Security Council resolution 1776 stresses the necessity of such international efforts, including those of the International Security Assistance Force and the Operation Enduring Freedom coalition, and we welcome the position taken by the Council. Japan is determined to continue its supply operations to the vessels conducting maritime interdiction operations. The Government of Japan intends to submit shortly a bill to the Diet in Japan for its approval which provides the legal basis for continuing its maritime supply operations in the Indian Ocean.
Japan shares the concern expressed in the Secretary-General's report over the linkage between the increasingly critical narcotics issue and reconstruction and nation-building. Counter narcotics actions must be strengthened together with capacity building in the months to come. As part of its integrated approach to addressing such issues as poverty, security and narcotics, Japan has promoted comprehensive rural development, with efforts for the development of agriculture and rural communities at its core.
Japan takes strong interests in human resources development and has provided technical cooperation for the training of teachers and reconstruction of more than 300 schools. We intend to further expand our assistance, in support of the National Education Strategic Plan, in such areas as literacy education and the building of schools.
To date, we have implemented assistance amounting to 1.24 billion dollars, and we will implement the remaining 210 million dollars of the amount pledged at the London Conference with particular focus on improvement of the security situation and advancing economic development.
The Secretary-General reports that UNAMA will focus on consolidating its presence while expanding its international staff. In light of current security conditions, we support this direction as reasonable one.
Japan takes note of the suggestion recently made by some Member States of appointing a new UN special envoy. We look forward to a more detailed and concrete proposal to that effect. At the same time, we reaffirm that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General has played a central role in the coordination of the international efforts for Afghanistan.
Japan will chair the G8 in 2008 succeeding Germany. The issues of Afghanistan will be one of the major topics to be discussed at G8 meetings. In keeping with our steadfast commitment to Afghanistan, Japan will also host a meeting of the JCMB in Japan next year. Japan will continue its close cooperation with the United Nations towards achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
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