Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On the Situation in the Middle East
23 April 2012
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.
Japan continues to be deeply concerned about the development of the situation in Syria over the past year. We condemn the Syrian authorities’ wide-scale use of force and violation of human rights against their own citizens, and we profoundly deplore the death of more than 9,000 people as a result of violence.
Japan strongly supports the Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, and commends his mediation efforts. We reiterate our call to the Syrian authorities to unconditionally implement Mr. Annan’s six-point proposal in its entirety in order to bring an end to all violence and human rights violations, secure humanitarian access, and facilitate a Syrian-led political transition based upon the Syrian people’s legitimate aspirations for democracy.
Japan welcomes the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 2042 and 2043 as important steps in the international community’s concerted efforts to address the situation in Syria and highly commends the dedicated work of all those concerned, in particular the members of the Security Council, the Secretary-General, and the Joint Special Envoy. We, at the same time, express deep concern over the escalation of violence in recent days and the failure of the Syrian authorities to fulfill their commitments. We call upon all parties in Syria to refrain from resorting to force of any kind so that a complete cessation of armed violence may be fulfilled and thereby the United Nations supervision mission in Syria may carry out its mandate fully and effectively. In this connection, we underline the importance of ensuring the safety of deployed observers and call upon the Syrian authorities to fully cooperate with the relevant United Nations personnel in order to ensure the effective operation of the mission.
Japan is also concerned about the humanitarian situation of the Syrian people, including internally displaced persons and refugees in neighboring counties. For this reason, the Government of Japan provided three million US dollars in emergency grant aid in March through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We underline the importance of allowing humanitarian personnel full and unimpeded access to the people in need of assistance.
With regard to the Middle East Peace Process, 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. A two-State solution can only be achieved through sincere negotiations between the parties concerned. In this connection, Japan supports the elements of the Quartet’s statement on 23 September 2011, which was reaffirmed by the Quartet Principals two weeks ago. Japan also pays respect to the leadership of the Government of Jordan in advancing dialogue between the parties. We strongly expect that the recent efforts, including the correspondence from President Abbas to Prime Minister Netanyahu, will lead to the early resumption of direct negotiations.
Japan does not recognize any measures that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations, and in order to build mutual trust, calls upon both sides to refrain from any provocative actions. Both parties must abide by their obligations under previous agreements. Japan reiterates its strong call to Israel to immediately freeze its settlement activities in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, which are a violation of international law. At the same time, we call upon the Palestinian Authority to continue its efforts to improve security and fulfill its commitments to cease violence and work against incitement.
Japan has been supporting the efforts of the Palestinian Authority toward establishing statehood. Prime Minister Noda conveyed our commitment to strengthening assistance in that regard directly to President Abbas during his visit to Japan earlier this month. Japan also calls upon the Government of Israel to support the fiscal stability of the Palestinian Authority including through conducting sustainable tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
Thank you, Madam President.