Statement by Dr. Kiyohiko TOYAMA,
Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Golden Jubilee Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation
Tuesday 4th April 2006
The President of this Forty-fifth Annual Meeting of AALCO Mr. Narinder Singh, the Secretary General of AALCO, Dr Wafik Z. Kamil, Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I congratulate Mr. Narinder Singh on your election as President of this meeting. I also sincerely thank the Government of India for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality shown to all delegates, including my delegation, and I also thank the Secretary General of AALCO, Dr. Wafik Z. Kamil again, and the Secretariat for their organizing and preparing this important meeting.
I'm greatly honored to attend this historic meeting, commemorating AALCO's 50th anniversary. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I extend our heartiest congratulations on celebrating this Organization's Golden Jubilee. As we all know, this Organization is one of the tangible fruits arising from the 1955 Bandung Conference. Since then, AALCO, as the only consultative body in the area of international law for Asia-African regional governments, has played a significant role in developing international law. Japan appreciates AALCO's important work assisting its member States in the practice of law, enhancing cooperation on legal issues, and promoting codification of international law. In its 50-year history, AALCO now counts 47 Member States and entities, and is regarded as an important international legal forum, comparable to the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law of the Council of Europe or the Inter-American Juridical Committee of the Organization of American States.
AALCO is permitted to participate as an observer in the sessions and works of the UN General Assembly, and makes a valuable contribution, from the viewpoint of Asia-Africa, to the work of codification that the International Law Commission engages in as one of the main UN organizations in the field of international law.
Japan, as an original member of AALCO, is pleased to see such development of this organization, and Japan will continue to play an active role in this organization.
At the Asian-African summit in Indonesia last April, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1955 Bandung Meeting, the Asia-Africa New Strategic Partnership Declaration was adopted. This Declaration emphasizes countries' need to abide by the principles of international law, and the importance of a multilateral approach. In this regard, AALCO plays an important role as a forum to promote regional cooperation in the field of international law.
It is clear that such trans-boundary issues as terrorism, trafficking in human beings, and environmental problems cannot be resolved solely through regional cooperation. I believe that AALCO should continue to address such problems from both global and regional perspectives and deepen discussions among Asian and African countries. What is expected there is not antipathy toward different cultures and civilizations, but finding common interests and promoting global cooperation.
This, in fact, is the approach we have been taking for 50 years in the Asia-African region, which is so rich in diversity. I believe this approach is essential in enhancing AALCO's role in the international community in the 21st century, where globalization is ever intensifying, and such universal values as freedom, democracy, and basic human rights are being appreciated in an increasing number of countries.
To demonstrate its raison d'être in the international community in this new millennium, AALCO needs to strengthen its institutional basis. I understand, however, that the organization's financial basis has not been sufficiently solid in recent years. Regrettably, I have to say the amount of arrears continues to increase. Japan believes that the arrears in contributions hinder sound activities of AALCO, and we hope for an early solution to this serious problem.
This annual meeting's Agenda includes various topics. My delegation hopes that discussions here will be fruitful, and we intend to participate positively in these discussions.
Finally, I would like to conclude with a sincere hope that AALCO will continue to serve as one of the dynamic main fora in the field of international law.
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