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On Reconstruction Assistance To Afghanistan

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON RECONSTRUCTION ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN

21-22 JANUARY, TOKYO

NEW ZEALAND STATEMENT

Chair

The New Zealand Delegation would like to first thank the Government of Japan for hosting this important Conference. Could we also take the opportunity to extend New Zealand’s appreciation of the work of the Steering Group and to acknowledge our Afghani partners, representing the Afghan Interim Administration.

This Conference represents another important step in Afghanistan’s path to recovery.

New Zealand’s presence signals our commitment to working with the Afghan Interim Administration and the international community to meet the urgent needs of the people of Afghanistan.

Since the conflict in Afghanistan began last September we have sought, within our resources, to provide timely and effective emergency assistance to the Afghani people. We have provided:

- humanitarian assistance to refugees from Afghanistan who have reached our shores;

- a NZ$1 million contribution to the United Nations’ Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan; and,

- up to NZ$250,000 from the NZODA Emergency Disaster Relief Funding Window targeted to New Zealand NGO’s to assist their work in Afghanistan.

We have also offered the use of a New Zealand Defence Force C-130 transport aircraft to deliver humanitarian aid, the assistance of medical teams and engineers as well as mine clearance expertise.

We are now looking at how we can most effectively help with the longer term tasks of reconstruction and development.

New Zealand welcomes the outcomes of the Washington and Brussels meetings on reconstruction. They have provided a platform on which we can begin to focus on reconstruction efforts and to look at how we can help the Interim Administration and the future government of Afghanistan to create a new environment of opportunity and safety for all the people of Afghanistan.

New Zealand pledges its continuing commitment to reconstruction.

This meeting will help us to clarify the detail of the commitment. We see our role as being:

- consistent with international efforts led by the United Nations, and in partnership with Afghani groups, to ensure a return to democracy, the respect for human rights;

- targeted to creating conditions for the return to sustainable communities in Afghanistan.

- we will be flexible and responsive with our assistance, focusing on activities and actions where New Zealand can make an effective contribution.

What we can offer is:

- assistance with the rebuilding of government and administration that could include the rebuilding of government institutions, the building of human capacity through training programmes, and the offer of experts to work alongside Afghani counterparts on the ground;

- assistance with projects in sectors where New Zealand has experience relevant to the conditions in Afghanistan, such as mine clearing expertise and potable and irrigation water supply;

- the provision of New Zealand experts with links to and experience in Afghanistan who are in a position to contribute to rehabilitation efforts. These experts would be supported by our official developmental aid programme.

New Zealand will follow closely the work of the United Nations to assess reconstruction priorities and needs. This will provide guidance on where New Zealand can best make future contributions.

Mr Chairman

New Zealand’s swift response in the aftermath of the events of last September is an indication of our deep concern to alleviate the suffering of the people of Afghanistan after two long decades of upheaval and conflict. Today we are privileged to be here with others of the international community to pledge out continuing efforts to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for Afghanistan.

ENDS


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