(As delivered)


6 APRIL 2004

Mr. President,

The International Conference on Afghanistan held in Berlin on 31 March and 1April reaffirmed the strong commitment of the international community to the Afghan people, with ministerial-level participation from many countries, despite the concern previously expressed over the shift of international attention from Afghanistan to other issues such as Iraq. Japan, for its part, announced its readiness to extend further grant assistance amounting to 400 million dollars over the coming two years, which brings Japan's contributions since September 2001 to over one billion dollars. The total commitment made by the donor community at this conference for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan amounts to 8.2 billion dollars over the next three years.

As one of the conference co-chairs, Japan warmly welcomes this outcome and expresses its gratitude to the government of Germany for hosting the Conference.

Japan has stressed from the beginning that reinforcement of the political process, a seamless transition from humanitarian assistance to recovery and reconstruction, and establishment and nationwide expansion of security are closely interlinked and should be addressed in a comprehensive manner. Japan also believes that it is particularly important to realize "human security" aiming to realize nation-building and society-building through the protection and empowerment of every individual in Afghanistan. We consider from these points of view that the Conference, which integrated the Bonn Process for peace and security and the Tokyo Process for reconstruction, was an important step towards the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan.

Acknowledging that success, Mr. President, I would now like to point out the following three issues that need to be dealt with going forward.

First, the elections. The formal announcement by President Karzai of the organization of both the presidential and parliamentary elections for September made the Conference an opportunity to accelerate the preparation process even further. All the necessary tasks should be expeditiously carried out in the coming months, including overcoming the delays in voter registration and in preparations to provide overseas Afghans with voting opportunities, and mobilizing resources that are necessary to successfully implement the elections. Japan is resolved to extend assistance that will ensure success of the elections. As a part of such assistance, it has already committed to providing 8.2 million dollars for voter registration.

Second, as for security, we welcome the fact that the international community expressed its determination at the Conference to assist further in the stabilization of the security situation, not only in Kabul and some provincial cities but throughout the entire country, specifically through the deployment of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT), in order to restore security and to contribute to the country's reconstruction and development. Japan, together with UNAMA, has been leading the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process, and as of mid-February, in four areas including Kabul, more than 5,500 ex-combatants have been disarmed and demobilized in the pilot phase of the DDR program. Vigorous implementation and intensification of the program ahead of the elections are tasks of the greatest importance. We need to further strengthen our efforts to address such requirements as achieving complete disarmament in Kabul, disarming the commanders, accelerating reintegration programs, and creating job opportunities. We strongly urge all Afghan parties to make a full commitment to DDR, and reiterate our request to neighboring countries and the international community to support the program.

Third, one of the most discussed issues at the Conference was drug production and trafficking, and the importance of taking effective counter-measures in this regard was fully recognized. Enforcement alone will not solve the problem. An integrated approach involving the simultaneous implementation of measures to introduce alternative crops and to promote DDR of the regional groups engaging in the drug production is required. In this connection, the importance of agriculture and rural development cannot be overemphasized. Japan has been accelerating comprehensive community development projects in the provinces (Ogata Initiative) in an attempt to achieve "human security" focusing on reconstruction at the provincial community levels, and we believe such initiatives would also help to support the fight against drugs.

Mr. President,

Substantive results have been achieved since the signing of the Bonn Agreement and the holding of the Tokyo Conference, but much more must be done in order to conduct the elections, the last and most important milestone of the Bonn Process. Furthermore, efforts toward rebuilding Afghanistan and achieving lasting peace should not come to a close with the coming elections. The long-term commitment of the international community is essential. I would like to stress that it is of critical importance for the credibility of the United Nations to continue its engagement in a project once embarked upon, until its objectives are attained. A lasting partnership between Afghanistan and the international community, as emphasized in the Berlin Declaration, is what we should strive to sustain, in order to ensure a promising future for the country as a whole.

Thank you very much.

Related Information (Japan-Afghanistan Relations)
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Official Web Siteother site

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