by H.E. Mr. Taro Aso
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
The Conference on DIAG for the Stabilization of Afghanistan:
Coordination with Police Reform
21 June 2007
Your Excellency Mr. Khalili, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,
Mr. Koenigs, Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honor today to hold the "Conference on DIAG for the Stabilization of Afghanistan: Coordination with Police Reform."
In January 2002, Japan hosted the "International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan." Five years have passed since the conference. The nation-building of Afghanistan is making steady progress towards the realization of peace, stability and democracy.
Among many steps forward, the completion of DDR is the achievement of which the Government of Afghanistan can be most proud. DDR was initiated at the Tokyo Conference in February 2003. It ended successfully with the strong determination of the Government of Afghanistan and the cooperation of the international community.
While these achievements are indeed important steps towards the stabilization of Afghanistan, we still face many challenges. In particular, it is the unfortunate truth that the weak governance of the Afghan government still hinders the country's reconstruction.
Therefore, the success of DIAG is a matter of urgency. With DIAG, the Afghan government can extend its centralized authority to local provinces and establish the rule of law across the country. In addition, we must keep in mind that DIAG makes local Afghan people much safer. DIAG is a vital program, since it reintegrates armed groups into civil society.
A number of difficulties stand in the way of the success of DIAG, as it links to social structure. In 1876, Japan also has a history of issuing a government order to ban the wearing of a sword by the samurai warriors. It was significant reform for Japan, in that swords were the symbol of the samurais who enjoyed the highest social status long time by then. There indeed were a lot of resistances and revolts by the samurais opposing the order.
Japan went through this process, and then became a modern state and a rule-based society. Foundation of our current prosperity and a world-proud safe society lies in here.
Fortunately, DIAG has gained overwhelming support of the Afghan people, who are striving for a peaceful society without militia groups or weapons.
I heard that President Karzai has received many letters from Afghan people strongly asking for solid DIAG implementation. Also, I was told that when he visited Ghazni province, many voices were heard saying "we want to live under the rule of law."
In response to the people's voice, President Karzai affirmed his strong commitment to DIAG at the "Second Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan" in July last year. We highly appreciate the increasing ownership of the Afghan Government since then.
Japan is committed to the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan. We will continue providing assistance to the Afghan Government and people, as they determine to reconstruct their country on their own.
In addition to the assistance already rendered, amounting to more than 1.2 billion dollars, Japan intends steady implementation of remaining 250 million dollars pledged at the London Conference in early 2006. Especially for DDR and DIAG, we have assisted actively through policy coordination and ODA, amounting 135 million dollars.
We will make further active efforts in establishing a sustainable DIAG implementation mechanism. That includes the establishment of a DIAG division in the Ministry of the Interior.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With today's conference, DIAG moves from the initial two-year preparation stage into the full-fledged operational stage. In this new phase, DIAG needs to be coordinated with other relevant sectors. These sectors include police reform, counter-narcotics efforts and rural development.
Above all, the coordination with police reform is essential. There will be no success in DIAG without the backup of the police force. Through today's discussion, I look forward to your thorough consideration of how the coordination with other sectors should be exercised, and a future plan be made.
I shall now close my opening remarks with the hope that this conference will have a productive outcome. Thank you.
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