Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On the Situation in the Middle East
15 October 2012
I would like to thank the Under Secretary-General, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, for his briefing this morning.
Japan is deeply concerned about the serious and aggravating situation in Syria and profoundly deplores the death of many thousands of people as a result of the continued violence. Japan reiterates its call on all parties in Syria to immediately halt violence and abuses of human rights, and condemns the Syrian authorities for not keeping their own commitments and responsibilities to protect its own citizens. The recent deaths of Turkish civilians near the Syrian border are a tragic incident that shows the increasing violence is not only causing harm to Syrian people but also spilling over into neighboring countries. Japan welcomes the press statement issued by the Security Council on 4 October and condemns in the strongest terms such act of transboundary violence.
Japan once again urges the Syrian authorities to cease violence immediately, and carry out concrete measures for a Syrian-led political transition, including in the framework of the Friends of Syria. The Ad Hoc Ministerial Meeting on Syria held last month provided an important occasion to strengthen coordination among parties toward a peaceful transition in Syria. Japan has not just implemented significant economic sanctions so far, but also we will soon host the next Working Group on sanctions. It is necessary for the international community to step up the pressure in a unified manner. In that regard, Japan deems it extremely regrettable that the Security Council has thus far failed to unite and speak in one voice in line with such international efforts.
Japan welcomes and strongly supports the diplomatic efforts by the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi. The unconditional and swift implementation of Mr. Annan’s six-point plan, together with the transition plan set forth in the Action Group Communiqué, are essential in order to bring about a democratic and pluralistic political system.
Japan is gravely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation of the Syrian people. For this reason, the Government of Japan has so far provided emergency grant aid totaling 13 million US dollars, and cooperated effectively with relevant international agencies to improve the humanitarian situation of Syria. Moreover, Japan commends the efforts by the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Valerie Amos, for coordinating humanitarian assistance and bringing the aggravating humanitarian situation of Syria to the attention of the international community. As we enter into the winter season, we underline the importance of allowing humanitarian personnel full and unimpeded access to the people in need of assistance.
The Middle East Peace Process represents a linchpin to the peace and stability of the region. Japan firmly supports a two-state solution, in which Israel and a future independent Palestinian state would live side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition. We would also like to remind both sides that a two-state solution can only be achieved through sincere direct negotiations between the parties concerned. Japan deplores Israel’s settlement activities, and reiterates its call upon Israel to fully freeze such activities while urging both sides to further their confidence-building efforts.
Japan has been supporting the efforts of the Palestinians toward establishing an independent state and is committed to continue providing assistance and strongly hopes that the whole international community, in particular, donor countries are united to assist the Palestinians. Support to the fiscal stability of the Palestinian Authority is a necessary task that Israel should conduct and in this regard, Japan welcomes the understanding between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding transfer of goods and related tax procedures.
I thank you, Mr. President.