Visit by Mr. Keitaro Sato, Ambassador in Charge of Conflict and Refugee-related Issues in Africa to the United States (United Nations) and the Republic of Liberia
(Overview and Evaluation)
From April 18 to April 30, Mr. Keitaro Sato, Ambassador in Charge of Conflict and Refugee-related Issues in Africa, visited the United States (United Nations Headquarter) and the Republic of Liberia as a follow-up of the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III). Ambassador Sato exchanged opinions on measures taken by Japan in the area of consolidation of peace and had site visits to monitor the current condition of the region.
(1) New York
(a) United Nations officials
Ambassador Sato held talks with Mr. Tuliameni Kalomof, Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, Special Advisor on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Mr. Hedi Annabi, Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and elaborated on the efforts and future policies Japan will take on the issues of Africa, while keeping in line with the results from the discussion of the meeting of the Staffs-in-charge of the Security Council matters that was held directly prior to this visit. Ambassador Sato also exchanged opinions on the regional situations in Africa.
(b) African Permanent Representatives to the UN
Ambassador Sato held talks with the African Permanent Representatives to the UN at the lunch hosted by Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations Koichi Haraguchi and elaborated on Japan's policy for Africa centered on TICAD and the Trust Fund for Human Security, and exchanged opinions on the modalities of peacekeeping operations (PKO) in Africa.
(2) Republic of Liberia
(a) H.E. Charles Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL)
Ambassador Sato exchanged opinions with Chairman of the NTGL Gyude Bryant on the challenges for reconstruction of Liberia and the direction of assistance provided by countries including Japan. During the meeting, Chairman Bryant expressed his gratitude for the assistance Japan is providing on the UN peacekeeping operations and assistance towards Liberia on issues related to its Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) and stated his determination for the Liberian side to exert further efforts. Chairman Bryant expressed his understanding as Ambassador Sato provided him with an explanation on the three pillars of Japan's assistance to Africa (consolidation of peace, human-centered development and poverty reduction through economic growth) and stated his wish for Japan to provide assistance for the realization of sustainable development.
(b) Hon. Thomas Yaya Nimely, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia
Ambassador Sato introduced Japan's support measures to Africa, as outlined at the TICAD III meeting, to Minister of Foreign Affairs Thomas Yaya Nimely of the Republic of Liberia. In the view of emphasizing one of three pillars of Japan's assistance to Africa - consolidation of peace - he elaborated on the content of Japan's assistance to Liberia on this occasion. In response, Foreign Minister Nimely expressed his gratitude for the assistance provided by Japan and welcomed the participation of Japanese NGOs in the reconstruction of Liberia. Foreign Minister Nimely also touched upon the challenges Liberia faces in utilizing its abundant underground natural resources and requested Japan's assistance for this matter.
(c) Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Operations (UN SRSG) for Liberia
UN SRSG Jacques Paul Klein elaborated on the activities of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) since last October and on its future challenges. In response, Ambassador Sato highly praised the contribution of the UNMIL toward building peace in Liberia and referred to Japan's assistance for the reconstruction of Liberia which has amounted to a total of US$6.8 million, which was provided over the months of March and April as a follow up to the International Reconstruction Conference on Liberia held in February. UN SRSG Klein in return expressed his gratitude for the prompt assistance Japan has provided and highly praised the contribution made by Japan which supports the UN peacekeeping operations including those in Liberia. UN SRSG Klein also elaborated on the current situation and the future challenges of DDRR activities and requested Japan to continue with its assistance.
(d) Opinion exchanges with representatives of various UN organizations
Ambassador Sato had an opportunity to individually meet and exchange opinions with each of the representatives of various UN organizations including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that are working with Liberia in areas of social reintegration of child soldiers, food assistance for returnees and others. At these meetings, each UN organization explained the outlook and challenges for reconstruction assistance that has just been started and discussion took place on the possibility of future cooperation with respect to each of their areas of expertise. At the same time, Ambassador Sato and the representatives shared a common view that it is important for different organizations to fully coordinate with one another from the time the project plan is established in light of the diversity of the DDRR assistance.
3. Site visits and others
In Liberia, Ambassador Sato had site visits to monitor current condition of the temporary camp for returnees, social reintegration program for child soldiers where Japan provides assistance through UNICEF as emergency assistance, and the program of improving productivity of the agricultural area implemented by World Vision Japan with the cooperation of WFP and others under the framework of the Japan Platform (JPF). Ambassador Sato also exchanged opinions with the officials working at each site and with the local people. Ambassador Sato met local personnel in charge of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Japan and Peace Winds Japan that have also launched activities under the framework of the JPF and discussed challenges they face in implementing projects.
(1) In New York, Ambassador Sato highlighted to the UN officials and UN Permanent Representatives of African countries that Japan's long, persistent and proactive efforts on the issues of Africa as a responsible member of the international community, as well as Japan's policies for Africa based on TICAD Process. Through the series of meetings, High evaluation on Japan's assistance to Africa was made and strong expectations were voiced for further assistance to Africa, countries that are still under critical conditions.
(2) In Liberia, Japan fulfills its political role by directly approaching to the high-level officials of the NTGL for enhancing consolidation of peace. In addition, Ambassador Sato, who represents Japan in dealing with conflicts in Africa, elaborated the proactive approach taken by Japan by providing assistance in the area of peace consolidation in Liberia. Ambassador Sato monitored the current conditions of reconstruction assistance so that further contributions can be made to the development of policies in Liberia in the future.
(3) Ambassador Sato conducted a joint conference with various local press and media in Liberia (BBC, AFP, other press correspondents and local radio broadcasting stations) and succeeded in increasing the awareness of the people of Liberia that Japan intends to continue its assistance to post-conflict African countries, especially to Liberia.
(4) Many of the officials - Ambassador Sato met highly praised his positive activities over the past year since his appointment as the Ambassador in Charge of Conflict and Refugee-related Issues in Africa, noting that they represent the strong will of Japan in providing assistance for the consolidation of peace in Africa. These activities include Ambassador Sato's visits to: (1) July 2003: Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Sudan; (2) August 2003: United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Sudan, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; (3) October-November 2003: Republic of Uganda, State of Eritrea, Republic of Kenya, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Senegal; and (4) February-March 2004: Republic of Rwanda, Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Swiss Confederation, Kingdom of Belgium and the French Republic.
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