Visit by Senior Vice-Minister Seiken Sugiura to Islamic Republic of Pakistan
(Results and Outline)
27 September 2001
Senior Vice-Minister Seiken Sugiura visited Pakistan between 25 and 28 September. The Senior Vice-Minister had meetings with Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdul Sattar and Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz and visited the Afghanistan Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on 26 September, and held talks with President Pervez Musharraf on 27 September.
1. Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura handed President Musharraf a letter from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and conveyed to him Japan's support for Pakistan's alignment with the international community in respect of the recent multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks in the United States. Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura and President Musharraf agreed to continue to work together with the international community in the fight against terrorism and that the terrorist attacks should not be linked to Islam itself.
2. Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura explained emergency economic assistance to Pakistan as part of a package of seven measures by Japan in response to the terrorist attacks. Pakistan responded by expressing profound gratitude for such prompt and generous assistance, preceding that of any other country, and noted its appreciation of the visit of Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura with the phrase "a friend in need is a friend indeed".
3. As far as the issue of refugees was concerned, Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura said that a review had been launched into the provision of refugee assistance using Self Defense Force (SDF) aircraft, and the understanding of Pakistan was obtained for the dispatch of the aircraft.
4. Pakistan evaluated the visit to be "evidence of solidarity". Together with the package of assistance described in item 2, above, the visit was one of practical significance in terms of support and assistance for the Pakistan government, which has clearly stated its commitment to fight terrorism in spite of domestic difficulties.
5. The visit has also won some recognition outside Japan as a diplomatic initiative by the Japanese government in respect of the terrorist attacks, being reported by CNN, the BBC and other overseas media as well as receiving broad domestic coverage in Pakistan and Japan (including NHK news programs on successive days carrying live interviews).
1. Multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks in the United States
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura expressed sympathy for all of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks, including Japanese and Pakistani citizens, handed President Musharraf a personal letter from Prime Minister Koizumi and passed on support for Pakistan's policies in line with the international community.
President Musharraf reaffirmed his stance of cooperating in the fight against terrorism as a responsible member of the international community despite the severe situation facing Pakistan, including the backlash from religious forces, the influx of refugees, the impact on the economy and relations with Afghanistan.
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura and President Musharraf agreed that the terrorist attacks should not be linked to Islam itself and that they would continue to work together with the international community in the fight against terrorism.
2. Assistance for Pakistan
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura expressed the strong expectation that Pakistan would overcome the difficulties originating from the recent terrorist attacks and furthermore that progress would be made in democratisation, economic recovery and other future reforms, and explained that in light of this Japan had decided to provide emergency economic assistance including approximately US$40 million of refugee assistance and emergency budgeting support and US$550 million for rescheduling public debt.
Pakistan responded by expressing profound gratitude for such prompt and generous assistance, preceding that of any other country, and highly valued the visit of Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura as evidence of solidarity, using the phrase "a friend in need is a friend indeed". President Musharraf stated that Pakistan needed greater support from the international community and asked for Japan's cooperation. Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura replied that he hoped to look into additional economic assistance in accordance with future circumstances.
(Note) Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdul Sattar and Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz requested the lifting of economic sanctions, and Finance Minister Aziz further hoped to see cooperation from Japan in the provision of trade insurance, suppliers' credit and other forms of support on the import of Japanese-made machinery, the promotion of trade and investment by Japanese companies and continued support for international financial institution loans.
3. Issue of Refugees
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura became keenly aware of the severity of the issue of refugees, stating that Japan had decided to provide US$14.5 million for refugee assistance as part of its package of support and was discussing what level of support was required with the UNHCR and other organizations. The Senior Vice-Minister also stated that a review into the transportation of supplies of relief goods for refugees using SDF aircraft had been launched on the instructions of the Prime Minister, obtaining Pakistan's understanding for such action.
4. Nuclear non-proliferation
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura explained that the present emergency assistance was a special measure to support Pakistan under severe circumstances and was a separate issue from the lifting of economic measures, stating the hope that Pakistan would make efforts in terms of nuclear non-proliferation. In response, Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdul Sattar requested that Japan review its economic measures given that Pakistan, which was continuing with the moratorium and would not become the first country to resume nuclear testing, was thereby practically meeting its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), as stated in a letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs Makiko Tanaka.
5. Afghanistan issue
With regard to the issue of Afghanistan, Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura and President Musharraf agreed that prompt recovery was essential, and that it was necessary to review issues relating to water, land and other such matters to ensure that the refugees could return home.
6. Protection of Japanese nationals, 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura requested that special consideration be given if the need arose to evacuate the more than 500 Japanese nationals in Pakistan from the country as a result of a subsequent change in the situation, to which President Musharraf replied that the safety of Japanese nationals would be fully ensured.
Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura expressed the wish that, with the year 2002 being the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, these relations would continue to develop further without negative impact from the current events, to which President Musharraf responded that he hoped that the year 2002 would be an even more productive year for the development of bilateral relations.
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