Opening Statement by His Excellency Mr. Yasuhide NAKAYAMA, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and
The Head of Delegation of the Government of Japan,
At the Third Sudan Consortium Conference,
Oslo, May 6, 2008

H. E. Mr. Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice President of the Government of the Republic of the Sudan,
H. E. Dr. Obiageli K. Ezekwesili, Vice President of the World Bank,
Her Excellency Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,
H. E. Mr. Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development of the Government of Norway,
Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers and Honorable Delegates,

It is great honor for me, on behalf of the Government of Japan, to attend such important conference. At the outset, I take this occasion to convey my deepest respect to the leaders of both north and south Sudan, who have committed themselves, despite many difficulties over last 3 years, to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). We all know that it is not an easy task for those who have fought each other more than twenty years, to collaborate although it was a necessary step to do so. Let me applause the efforts of people who tackled reconstruction of Sudan under the spirits of reconciliation and cooperation while overcoming their long-standing distrust.

The Government of Japan has extended its assistance to support these efforts made by the two governments, the assistance amounting to over 200 million US dollars over last 3 years, surpassing largely its pledges of 100 million US dollars expressed at the Oslo Donors' Conference in April 2005. We have realized a series of programs and projects mainly focusing on the repatriation and social reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), basic human needs areas such as education, health and food and basic infrastructure such as roads and a river port. While continuing such assistance, we will start to consider, mainly to the South Sudan, the gradual shift of our assistance to the early recovery stage, eventually leading to the development phase. We will also pay attention, through our assistance, to strengthen the capacity-building of administrative organizations of Sudanese governments, both national and local.

Japanese Government also recognizes that, along with the South Sudan, there are also heavily-war-affected areas in the northern part of Sudan such as three Transitional Areas including South Kordofan and Eastern Region. We will seek the possibility of the assistance to these areas as well as other marginalized areas where there are still big economic and social inequality comparing with the central part of Sudan.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished delegates,

The Government of Japan has paid particular attention to Sudan's two major issues, the north-south peace process and Darfur. These are keys to realize the peace and stability in Sudan and also in the African continent, especially the CPA implementation is very important. Therefore, I would like to encourage the efforts of people of Sudan for the achievement of the eventual peace and stability in the region. We welcome the national census finished without any major trouble. Other important events under the CPA are planned such as elections next year, and we hope that the north and south Sudan can continue to raise their mutual understanding while tackling these events. The international community should also maintain its interests regarding the CPA implementation. I will also visit Juba, after this Conference, to see the actual situation in the South Sudan with my own eyes.

We express our concerns over the present situation in Darfur, where the security and humanitarian situations remain still serious and the peace process is stagnated. The government of Japan is ready to consider its reconstruction and development assistance in Darfur but, cease-fire agreement between the Government of Sudan and the movements is indispensable for that. The Government of Japan continues its high-level political dialogue with Sudanese government on Darfur issue. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan invited Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie, Assistant to the President of Sudan last March and conducted the extensive consultation with him, and this month, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Itsunori ONODERA visited Darfur two days ago as well as consultations with responsible persons in the Government. As a "Peace Fostering Nation," which contributes to peace and security in the international community and also as a G8 presidency, Japan will engage more actively to the early solution of this conflict issue.

Mr. Chairman and honorable delegates,

These activities of Japan to Sudan are in same line with our diplomatic policies toward Africa and development. Three weeks later, Japan will host the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Yokohama where over 40 heads of states and governments of African countries will be present. In the conference, together with acceleration of economic growth and environment, consolidation of peace and democratization is one of major areas of cooperation. Our efforts to Sudan are considered as a touchstone to Japanese diplomacy in Africa. Japan will take up development and Africa as one of main agenda at the upcoming the G8 Hokkaido-Toyako Summit in 7th -9th July 2008.

Finally, let me repeat one more time that the Government of Japan continues, together with other donor countries and organizations, to help Sudan by various means and in larger scale. For the sake of better assistance, I am looking forward to discussing the future of Sudan with all participants in this important forum.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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