Remarks by Mr. Katsutoshi Kaneda
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
On the occasion of the International Conference for Lebanon's Early Recovery

August 31, 2006, Stockholm, Sweden

The Prime Minister of Sweden, His Excellency Mr. Goran Persson,
The Prime Minister of Lebanon, His Excellency Mr. Fouad Siniora,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, it gives me great pleasure to express my sincere appreciation for the efforts of Prime Minister Goran Persson and the Government of Sweden, who are hosting this conference.

I offer my heartfelt sympathy for the many Lebanese citizens who have fallen victim to the recent hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah since July 12. The international community must work in complete solidarity to quickly improve the situation in Lebanon which was extensively damaged by the recent hostilities, causing over 900 thousand displaced persons. In this regard, I highly appreciate the Government of Sweden for taking the initiative in hosting this conference today.

Lebanon is a nation that has demonstrated democracy in the Middle East and has been striving to better run the state, which consists of many religious groups with different beliefs and values, by national dialogue. In dealing with the current situation, Prime Minister Siniora has made a courageous decision to deploy the Lebanese Forces in southern Lebanon. Japan strongly supports Prime Minister Siniora and his commitment to democracy as well as his determination to resolve the conflict.

As the current conflict has clearly demonstrated, the realization of comprehensive peace in the Middle East is not possible without the stability of Lebanon. Japan has been actively making its own efforts to facilitate peace in the Middle East. One of such efforts is Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to the region last July where he presented an initiative aimed at promoting the development of the Jordan River Rift Valley through regional cooperation. Japan intends to contribute to achieving the stability of Lebanon as part of the overall efforts to realize peace in the Middle East.

First, in response to the UN Flash Appeal last month, Japan decided, and already disbursed, its assistance totaling 2 million US dollars through the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as immediate humanitarian assistance in the form of food, medical supplies and shelter. Further, Japan is ready to provide 3 million US dollars in additional aid in the environmental and other areas after examining the details of the early recovery plan, which was announced today. Japan is also of the view that the stability and the development of southern Lebanon is of paramount importance for the stability of entire Lebanon and that the clearance of landmines is an essential step for that goal. Japan, therefore, decided today to extend about 2 million US dollars through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security to a project aimed at removing threats of landmines and unexploded ordnance in southern Lebanon, which will be implemented by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). Japan is considering additional assistance from the Trust Fund depending on the increase of needs on the ground in the future. The Government of Japan will also support financially the activities of Japanese NGO's in implementing emergency humanitarian assistance for the displaced persons.

In addition to those humanitarian and early recovery assistances, with the view of ensuring Lebanon's long-term stability, Japan is studying measures to help secure the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions such as capacity building and technical cooperation as we examine what is needed.

I would like to conclude my remarks by reiterating Japan's determination and readiness to help realize the stability of Lebanon and the peace and security of the Middle East.

Thank you for your attention.

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