FM Okada's Speech at Kabul Conference
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Let me first pay tribute, on behalf of the Government of Japan, to the Government of Afghanistan for its efforts in convening this Conference.
We have reached the stage to undertake steady implementation of the policy agenda of the Afghan Government, as discussed at the London Conference in January. Japan appreciates Afghanistan's efforts to date, under President Karzai, to tackle challenges that include security, corruption, economic development, and electoral reform, among others. Japan also welcomes that the Afghan Government has presented specific policies to address these important challenges.
Peace and stability in Afghanistan are closely related to the peace and stability of the international community as a whole. We have had various discussions at past conferences and provided substantial support to prevent Afghanistan from slipping back into being a hotbed of terrorism.
Amid increasingly difficult challenges, we face the questions once again as to how we can establish stability in Afghanistan and lay a solid path towards its reconstruction and nation-building.
We all know that improvement of security, progress in reconstruction, and enhancement of governance are inter-related, and affect the nation-building of Afghanistan. The broad support of the Afghan people is necessary in order to tackle this difficult challenge. Afghanistan's own responsibility and ownership are of increasing importance.
Therefore, it is critical that the policies that the Karzai administration has presented be steadfastly carried out and that concrete results be achieved as Afghanistan strengthens its ownership for nation-building and confronts increasingly difficult problems.
Furthermore, the international community must continue to provide effective support for Afghanistan's efforts. In today's conference, it is essential that the Afghan Government demonstrate its resolve to implement its policies robustly, and that the international community reaffirm clearly the intention to support the country's agenda. Japan, for its part, will spare no effort in providing support for serious nation-building efforts.
Japan's Support for Afghanistan
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on Japan's support for Afghanistan. Japan has steadily provided assistance, based on its assistance package for Afghanistan of up to an amount in the region of 5 billion US dollars, as announced in November last year, focusing on the three priority areas of security, reintegration and development. Japan will have contributed approximately 1.1 billion dollars by the end of 2010.
Our assistance will be closely coordinated with Afghan policies and will take into account their priorities.
Improving security in Afghanistan is an essential prerequisite for its reconstruction. We honor the efforts and sacrifices being made by the Afghan security authorities and by other nations to achieve this goal. In order to strengthen the Afghan security forces so that Afghanistan can take over responsibility for its own security, Japan has been providing, and will continue to provide, assistance for the salaries and equipment of the Afghan National Police, and for medical equipment used by the Afghan National Army. Japan is working together with other countries in various ways to assist Afghanistan, and we are exploring the possibility of partnering with other countries in the area of security as well. Specifically, as part of the efforts for capacity-building of Afghanistan, we are looking into the possibility of cooperating with Turkey and of offering financial resources and dispatching experts to assist in the training courses.
In order to improve security and establish peace and stability, reconciliation and reintegration of insurgents needs to move forward, and a political solution must be pursued. In this context, we appreciate the Afghan Government's announcement of the "Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program" and launching the Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund, following the Peace Jirga held last month.
In the process of advancing and establishing peace and reintegration, it will be crucial to further stabilize society and create employment at the community level in both urban and rural areas. Japan intends to play a more effective role on these fronts. To this end, Japan will promptly undertake the necessary procedures to disburse the contribution of 50 million dollars to the Peace and Reintegration Trust Fund that Japan announced at the London Conference in January. Furthermore, Japan will consider an additional contribution depending on the progress of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. It is important to utilize this program in collaboration with other development assistance schemes. Japan will work to ensure that its bilateral assistance in such areas as vocational training is well coordinated with the Program.
Japan calls for swift implementation of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. We would like to work with the Government of Afghanistan in order to serve effective implementation of the Program.
First of all, Japan would like to contribute to development of Afghanistan through "all Japan", bringing together knowledge of all assistance staff and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I would argue that human resource development is of the utmost importance as it is a pressing matter common to all development challenges. Japan will support capacity-building in the area of financial and project management in the Afghan Government agencies. Japan will also assist Afghanistan in improving governance, including by fighting corruption, and in this context, is prepared to provide assistance by cooperating with Singapore. Japan will offer training for up to 500 officials in various fields including agriculture and engineering. Furthermore, Japan intends to continue to advance its cooperation in the areas of education and health.
Infrastructure development is also critical, as it forms the basis for economic development and gives hope to Afghan citizens. Japan will assist in nation-building endeavors by helping to build roads, water facilities, power grids, and airports. Our assistance includes the Kabul Metropolitan Area Development Program, which aims to redevelop the existing city of Kabul and develop new urban areas in an integrated manner.
Agricultural and rural development continues to be essential in driving industrial development in Afghanistan, and Japan intends to support the rebuilding and development of agriculture and rural villages. As part of our support, we will assist the construction and repair of irrigation facilities, which are the basis of agriculture, as well as various efforts for the reinvigoration and networking of traditional community bodies such as Mirab.
In all of the aspects of economic development, security and the political process, achieving stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without the cooperation of those neighboring countries that have close linkages with the country. The stability of Afghanistan is a common interest that will bring stability and development to this region and beyond. As a number of frameworks for regional cooperation already exist, it is my hope that these frameworks will serve to ensure constructive cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighboring countries.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan)
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