Statement of Ambassador Kenzo Oshima
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On the Situation in Afghanistan

Security Council
(14 March 2006)

Mr. President,

We would like first of all to express our gratitude to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Tom Koenigs, for his very informative briefing, and congratulate him on his appointment to his important post. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has been making an indispensable contribution to consolidating peace and promoting reconstruction and development in that country. We also commend the UNAMA staff for their dedication and we expect that under Mr. Koenigs' leadership, UNAMA will continue its good work.

We are pleased that the Bonn Process was completed successfully. The London Conference at the end of January, along with the launch of the Afghanistan Compact, was a significant event in laying out a post-Bonn framework for continued international commitment and assistance for the country.

On the other hand, the fact is that many challenges facing Afghanistan's future remain, including in the areas of security, governance, economic and social development, and, especially worrying, illicit narcotics. To meet those challenges, determined efforts on the part of the Afghan Government are needed, supported by continuous assistance from the international community. Japan appreciates the commitment shown by the Government of Afghanistan in vigorously pursuing its national objectives in these critical areas, such as through the Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy (I-ANDS). For the next phase of national reconstruction and reconciliation to be a success, it is considered essential that single-minded efforts be made toward implementation of I-ANDS and the Compact, with full ownership of the process by Afghans themselves, assisted by well-coordinated international support from the UN and the donor community.

The Secretary-General has reported that the National Assembly is now engaging in active deliberations and debates on issues ranging from administration of the country to threats to its stability. We are encouraged by this positive development. We also look forward to the early confirmation of Cabinet ministers by the National Assembly. Through this process, we hope that Afghanistan will overcome the difficulties so often experienced in the early stages of establishing a democratic political system.

Mr. President,

Among the problems that continue to plague the country and its people are those posed by the insecurity and lawlessness that prevail in many provinces, as the Secretary-General's report has highlighted. To improve security, the size of the Afghan National Army and National Police must be expanded, their capabilities improved and judicial reform achieved without delay. At the same time, it is important to call on all Afghan parties and groups to exercise restraint and avoid resorting to violence, and all should engage in the conduct of political affairs in a peaceful manner and strive for national reconciliation.

Considerable progress has in fact been made by the Afghan Government and the international community in achieving reform throughout the security sector. Japan has been a major contributor to the promotion of DDR. We appreciate the efforts of the Afghan Government to bring disarmament and demobilization (DD) to a conclusion. With DD having been completed, it now remains to work on completing reintegration (R), and we hope that this will be done at the earliest possible date.

With DDR almost achieved, Japan attaches special importance to the DIAG (Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups) program as an urgent item on our current agenda. This is an Afghan-led program and as such it must be carried out by all the government authorities concerned acting together. And we strongly hope that the government will show the needed resolve and commitment to make the program another success. This requires international support for weapons collection and collection of information, and in this connection, I am pleased to announce that Japan is planning to hold an international conference on DDR and DIAG in Tokyo this year. We call on the donor community to lend its support to this vital project, which is directly related to improving security on a sustainable basis.

Mr. President,

As for the question of the extension of the mandate of UNAMA, Japan supports the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's report, taking into consideration the launch of the Compact. Nevertheless the "light footprint" approach should be maintained in view of the need to encourage ownership on the part of the Afghan Government. Also, a scrap-and-build approach should be considered, where necessary, in deciding on the optimal allocation of personnel and funding resources.

Mr. President,

As Afghanistan moves into a new phase in its post-Bonn reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts, we believe that a Security Council mission should make a visit to Afghanistan to appraise the situation and demonstrate the continued commitment of the international community to providing assistance during this phase. In our view, such a mission could be organized soon after the UNAMA mandate is extended, and it should be small and mobile, considering the prevailing security situation.

In conclusion, Japan is now working on a draft resolution on the extension of the UNAMA mandate. We hope to be able to present a draft resolution for adoption by 23 March, taking into consideration the views expressed in this meeting by both members and non-members of the Security Council.

Thank you.

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