Speech by H.E. Mutsuyoshi Nishimura
Ambassador in charge of Afghan Coordination,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan
At the Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace (DDR)

In Afghanistan
February 22, 2003

"Japanese Contribution and
Future Development of DDR Process"

I must first begin by congratulating all the new progress made by all parties concerned in Kabul. It is good news for all of us.

This morning, we listened with great interest and admiration as President Karzai clearly stated his determination to press ahead with the DDR program through a clear vision and concrete actions. I applaud his leadership and resolve.

I also like to applaud his decision to launch the program soon.

It goes without saying that the international community remains strongly committed to DDR and the entire process. The international community is very eager to work with the Afghan authorities in a spirit of partnership.

The creation of the Advisory Committee involving the donor community is indeed a welcome development. We are convinced that it will undoubtedly enhance our partnership and advance effective execution of the DDR program.

I also register my total agreement with President Karzai that there is a need to build a confidence by providing an impartial program. Like the President, I am convinced that there should be transparency and accountability. I also support his intention to implement this program in a phased way.

In fact, we need to move ahead with a degree of flexibility. We must take a practical approach. This is the way we must go. We need to begin the task at hand from where we are most likely to succeed and build momentum for other successes to follow.

The same practical attitude applies to the question of which groups are going to be demilitarised. We strongly feel that the DDR programme should target "security personnel in active duty". Discussions about who and how many will be released from active duty needs to be handled in the most practical and careful manner.

At the same time, we wish to move quickly and decisively. We want to see Disarmament and Demobilisation starting soon and reach completion within a year following commencement. This timetable is of significant importance as they approach the upcoming general election. In our view, DDR must play a pivotal role for the constitutional process.

We must also recognize the great importance of having the DDR program planned and executed in full conjunction, and in full co-operation with the process to firmly establish the new national army. I am confident that with this recognition, the DDR and the construction of ANA will jointly contribute to markedly improve the security situation in Afghanistan.

Having said all this, let me briefly highlight some of the contributions the Government of Japan intends to contribute to this process. .

First, on the financial side, Japan has pledged the contribution of 35 million dollars to jump start the 'Partnership for Peace' Programme which is an essential component of the DDR.

Secondly, we look forward to actively co-operating with the Afghan Government through the Advisory Committee. Of course, this will be closely coordinated in collaboration with UNAMA.

In addition to the financial contributions, Japan will consider extending assistance for establishing a large database that will further the implementation of DDR.

Another major area for the Japanese co-operation is vocational training. Here again we will make extensive efforts in addition to the above financial contributions.

To supplement the financial contributions, we are to bring as many public-works-type aid projects to the table to meet the requirements of the DDR. We hope to absorb as many demobilised soldiers as possible through newly created job opportunities by those aid projects.

DDR is a daunting task with ripe potential to encounter many adversities along the way. The committed volume of donor contributions will fall short of the immense task ahead of us.

However, this should not intimidate us. We have to take actions to respond the deepest and strongest aspirations of the Afghan people.

That is why we need a strong political commitment from the international community. What we need is a strong political endorsement to the GOA for its genuine bid to construct a new nation by restoring peace and achieving true national reconciliation.

Being realistic, we cannot ignore the need for additional financial resources to realize this project as we envision it.

As Chairman of this Conference and as the representative of the GOJ and the lead nation on DDR, I sincerely urge all of you to get involved, show solidarity and contribute by all means possible either financially, technically, or in any other form, for this great efforts of Afghan people.

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