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
25 July 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 deteriorating situation in Syria over the past sixteen months and profoundly deplores the death of many thousands of people as a result of the continued violence. We condemn the Syrian authorities’ failure to keep their own commitments, including through the increased use of heavy weapons, as well as all other violations and abuses of human rights in Syria. The series of bloodshed is totally unacceptable and must end now.
Japan has been strongly supporting the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, and his diplomatic efforts. We call upon all Syrian parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, to unconditionally and swiftly implement Mr. Annan’s six-point plan. The transition plan set forth in the Action Group Communiqué of June 30 must also be implemented with the aim of bringing about a democratic and pluralistic political system.
Japan has been cooperating with its partners to urge the Syrian authorities to cease violence and carry out concrete measures for a Syrian-led political transition, including in the framework of the Friends of Syria. Japan deems it extremely regrettable that last week the Security Council failed, due to the exercise of veto, to unite and speak in one voice in line with such international efforts. Japan will continue to make the utmost efforts at every opportunity in cooperation with like-minded countries.
Japan highly appreciates the dedicated work of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) and, at the same time, regrets that it had to suspend its operational activities due to the escalation of violence. As stipulated in Security Council Resolution 2059, we call upon the Syrian parties to guarantee the safety and freedom of movement and access for UNSMIS personnel and also strongly expect that the security and political environment will improve so that UNSMIS can effectively implement its mandate.
Japan is also concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation of the Syrian people. For this reason, the Government of Japan decided to extend an additional grant aid of five million US dollars in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 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 has been supporting the efforts of the Palestinians toward establishing an independent state and is committed to continuously providing assistance in that regard. In that connection, we call upon Israel to support the fiscal stability of the Palestinian Authority including through conducting sustainable tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
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. It is regrettable that direct negotiations between the parties have been suspended for nearly two years. We call upon Israel not to be satisfied with the status quo on the ground and to be positively engaged in the dialogue with the Palestinians. 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 hopes that contact between negotiators in order to build confidence will lead to the resumption of direct negotiations.
I thank you, Mr. President.