(Provisional Translation)

photo (Foreign Minister Koumura)

Statement by H.E. Mr. Koumura
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan
International Conference in Support of Afghanistan
12 June 2008, Paris


Your Excellency Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,
Your Excellency Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic,
Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first express, on behalf of the Government of Japan, our respects for the efforts paid by the Governments of France and Afghanistan as well as the United Nations to hold this Conference.

Today we heard from President Karzai the comprehensive vision of the Afghan Government envisaged in the finalised version of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy, or ANDS. I was surely impressed by the strong will of the people and Government of Afghanistan on building their nation shown in his statement. The Government of Japan welcomes the establishment of the ANDS and has renewed its resolve to attain the aims of the Afghanistan Compact.

Six years ago, Japan took the lead in supporting the resolve of the Afghan people and hosted the International Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan in Tokyo. By now the assistance provided by Japan in various areas adds up to 1.42 billion US dollars. We are also providing replenishment support for the maritime interdiction operations in the Indian Ocean to share the burden of the international community in the fight against terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For Afghanistan to enjoy prosperity, it requires stable security, implementation of the elections from next year on to consolidate the government to be trusted by its people, the establishment of a healthy economic basis that does not rely on drugs, and cooperation with the neighbouring countries. During my visit to Kabul last month I requested President Karzai and Foreign Minister Spanta to tackle these issues and they responded with a strong determination.

The Government of Japan reiterates the firm support to Afghanistan in its pursuit of such nation building. Today I announce a new provision of 550 million US dollars by the Government of Japan in order to render maximum support to the implementation of the Afghanistan Compact and bring ANDS a success. This brings the overall pledge of Japan in support of Afghanistan to 2 billion US dollars.

Our assistance is being carried out on the following four pillars: security sector reform, DIAG and assistance to police in particular; comprehensive regional development, focusing on agriculture and rural development; roads and other infrastructure development; and enhanced assistance to education. We aim at making our assistance more effective by coordinating with the Afghan Government. We also continue our support to regional development in collaboration with NATO PRTs.

The success of ANDS depends on closer coordination between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community. It also depends on the power of the private sector of Afghanistan. As for the coordination, we look for and support the continued efforts of Mr. Eide, the Special Representative heading the UNAMA. Later this month I will lead the discussion on Afghanistan at the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kyoto. There I would like to send out a message of enhanced commitment as the G8 to the nation re-building of Afghanistan in both security and reconstruction, along with an increased assistance to the bordering area with Pakistan, which is important also from the viewpoint of the fight against terrorism.

The future of Afghanistan rests on the shoulders of the people of Afghanistan. The people of Japan strongly sympathise with the efforts that the Afghan people are making to create their own future and are willing to render their utmost support.

Thank you.

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