(As delivered)


23 AUGUST 2005

First, we wish to express our gratitude to Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. Jean Arnault for his briefing, and commend Mr. Arnault and his staff in UNAMA for their remarkable contribution and dedication to promoting and consolidating peace in Afghanistan.

As the Bonn process is approaching its final and most delicate stage, we are encouraged that the preparations are on track for the elections scheduled for 18 September. Japan has contributed a substantial amount to date for the elections, including emergency assistance totaling $8 million. As the SRSG pointed out, however, there still exists a significant funding gap for the elections, and we urge the international community to be generous in meeting this shortage without delay.

Despite the overall encouraging progress in the political process in Afghanistan, the security situation remains extremely volatile, and is even deteriorating in some parts of the country. The report of the Secretary-General pointed out a worrisome development, that insurgency attacks are growing, becoming more sophisticated and deadly, and better organized and better funded. This development is a matter of serious concern for the Afghan government and the international community. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is being reinforced by the NATO countries and other troop contributors, to enable its deployment in an expanded area. We commend those countries for their efforts. The international community's presence should be maintained at the same level beyond the elections, and the Security Council should begin discussion at the earliest possible opportunity to extend the mandate of ISAF.

As the lead nation for DDR in Afghanistan, Japan is pleased to announce that the disarmament phase of the program has been completed, and a ceremony was held in July to commemorate the completion. We remain strongly committed to supporting the efforts of Afghanistan to achieve the remaining objectives, namely, the completion of the reintegration of Afghan Military Forces by the end of next June and the disbandment of illegal armed groups.

In addition to the serious challenges in the security sector, Afghanistan must confront other enormous, multi-faceted challenges, including fighting the production and trafficking of narcotics, institution building, economic and social development, in other words, the full gamut of challenges that a country can face in post-conflict peace-building.

After so much investment, and sacrifices, made for peace by the Afghans themselves and by the international community, we must not fail Afghanistan. It is clear, and we fully support, that the continued role of the United Nations in the consolidation of peace in Afghanistan is essential for the post-election agenda. We must accelerate the discussion on a framework for maintaining diverse cooperation after the Bonn process ends with the September elections. We welcome and encourage the Secretary-General's intention to initiate a process of consultation with the Government of Afghanistan and all concerned international actors to determine the post-electoral agenda and to present specific proposals to the Security Council prior to the expiration of the UNAMA mandate. We would like to recall in this connection the G8 Foreign Ministers' statement in June that they "look forward to working with the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations in renewing the partnership between Afghanistan and the international community for the period following the parliamentary elections".

Japan, for its part, will spare no effort in working together with the international community, which will certainly endeavor to maintain the high level of commitment that it has shown over the past three and a half years, in helping to achieve the consolidation of peace and economic and social development in Afghanistan.

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

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