Meeting between Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Masoom Stanekzai, Advisor to the President of Afghanistan

February 15, 2007

On February 15 (Thu), Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, met with Mr. Masoom Stanekzai, Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, who is visiting Japan, for about 30 minutes. The gist of the meeting is as follows.

1. Mr. Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, said:

(1) I welcome Mr. Stanekzai's efforts, which led to the success of the DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the former military combatants). I am pleased with the fact that the Japan-Afghanistan relations are becoming closer, for example, through the visits of Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta and President Mr. Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Masakazu Sekiguchi (Special Envoy of Prime Minister).

(2) On the security issue, I am aware that the situation remains unstable despite the trend of calming down after the start of winter. Japan is working on Pakistan as we recognize that their cooperation is indispensable to overcoming the Taliban.

2. Mr. Stanekzai, Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, said:

(1) On behalf of the Government of Afghanistan and its people, I express my gratitude for Japan's assistance extended so far for our nation-building efforts, including the DDR and the disbandment of the illegal armed groups (DIAG). The reconstruction of Afghanistan started at the Tokyo Conference of January 2002, and Japan's strong initiative has been highly valued.

(2) Security is the foremost issue for the Government of Afghanistan, and although its National Army and the police have been making efforts to rebuild security organizations, the Afghan Government would not have been able to reconstruct them without the success of the DDR initiated by Japan.

(3) Today, the international community shares the recognition that cooperation from Pakistan is indispensable for the stabilization of Afghanistan, and pressure is being brought to bear on Pakistan. I highly appreciate Japan's effort in working on Pakistan.

(4) Afghanistan is situated on important trade routes so that regional economic cooperation with neighboring countries is important for its economic development. I appreciate Japan's contribution to regional economic cooperation.


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