Statement by Mr. Shintaro ITO,
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the Ministerial Level Meeting on Iraq

September 18, 2006
New York

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
President Talabani,

Let me begin by thanking Secretary-General Annan for taking the initiative of organizing this very important meeting. This timely meeting is to support the initiative on the "International Compact with Iraq," in which the democratic government of Iraq and the international community will build a partnership on the basis of a shared vision founded on peace and stability.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Iraq was reborn as a democratic state when it successfully conducted two National Assembly elections and adopted its new Constitution. On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, I heartily congratulate the Iraqi people on these achievements.

Japan has been participating actively in the reconstruction process in the belief that a stable, secure, unified, federal and democratic Iraq is indispensable to the stability of the region and the world.

Iraq still faces many challenges as it seeks to achieve national reconciliation, improve security, ensure that the basic human needs of its people are met and accelerate reconstruction. Japan hopes that surmounting these difficult challenges will ensure human security for every single citizen of Iraq. This will require responsible administration by the government of Iraq and solid support from the international community.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Japan has pledged up to 5 billion US dollars in assistance at the Madrid Conference. 1.5 billion dollars in grant aid has gone to projects already completed or in the process of implementation. Japan has also made a contribution by sending its Ground Self Defense Force to carry out humanitarian reconstruction support activities in Muthanna Province, where Japanese and Iraqi people have worked together hand in hand for improvement in the situation of human security. As a result of Japan-Iraq collaboration, many achievements were attained in such areas as water, health and education. Japan has expanded the air lift support activities for the United Nations and multinational forces. We shall continue our support by steadily implementing soft loan projects of up to 3.5 billion dollars.

The Government of Iraq is now preparing a "National Vision" document that will lay out clearly both policies and concrete measures for implementing them.

In this context, as a friend of Iraq, we have two things we want to say.

First, the Government of Iraq needs to formulate policies that will earn support from the vast majority of its people. With solid national support, they can then be implemented effectively. Such policies require transparency and consistency, and they should be based upon the rule of law and good governance.

Second, policies should be comprehensive, balancing all aspects of politics, security and economics. Reflecting on our own experiences, we cannot stress too much the vital importance of the synergy that must be found between the political, security and economic dimensions of national reconstruction.

The international community will champion a Compact based firmly on the "National Vision" of Iraq.

When I greeted the Japanese Defense Personnel after their return from Iraq, they talked about the brightness of the eyes of the children in Iraq. They were expressing their gratitude for Japan. We must not dim the brightness in their eyes. Let us create a new chapter in our history by uniting the will of the international community to help Iraq realize a society where people overcome their differences to pursue prosperity for all.

Thank you very much.

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