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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007

Security Council resolution sought

Staff writer

Japan has lobbied the U.N. Security Council members to draw up a draft resolution to express their "appreciation" for countries participating in antiterrorism operations in and around Afghanistan, in the hope of making it easier for the government to extend its refueling mission.

At a news conference Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano said the government explained its position on the issue to Security Council members in drawing up the preamble of the draft resolution.

The resolution "will be a benchmark to understand the (opinions) of international society," Yosano said.

The government is now trying desperately to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, which is part of the U.S.-led mission called Operation Enduring Freedom. The special law permitting the MSDF mission expires Nov. 1.

If adopted, the U.N. resolution would likely cause controversy because opposition parties, most notably the Democratic Party of Japan, have opposed the extension of the MSDF mission on the grounds that it is not authorized by a United Nations resolution.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama said Wednesday that the party's opposition will not change even if the resolution is passed by the Security Council.

"Our stance won't change drastically," he said.

The draft resolution is to authorize an extension of the mission by the NATO-led security ground force called International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which expires next month. That mission is separate from Operation Enduring Freedom, which was launched as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

But the preamble of the resolution reportedly includes words of appreciation for the maritime operation within Operation Enduring Freedom.

According to the Foreign Ministry, around 20 countries are currently participating in ground operations for Operation Enduring Freedom, including the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Mongolia, New Zealand and Poland, and eight countries are taking part in the maritime component, including as the U.S., Britain, Germany, Pakistan and Japan.

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The Japan Times

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