Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate of the United Nations General Assembly
On Agenda Item 36: “The Situation in the Middle East” and
Agenda Item 37:”The Question of Palestine”
30 November 2012
On the commemorative occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people yesterday,the General Assembly adopted a historical resolution regarding the status of Palestine at the United Nations.
Japan has long understood the Palestinians’ aspiration for building an independent State and has supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Japan thus endorses a two-State solution under which Israel and a future independent Palestinian State would co-exist side by side in peace and security. In light of this, Japan voted in favor of this resolution.
Japan believes that, following the adoption of this resolution, Palestine will bear greater responsibilityvis-à-vis the international community. We strongly urge Palestine to exert more earnest efforts toward the realization of peace in the Middle East.We call on Palestine to immediately resume direct negotiations with Israel in order to move the peace process forward in a tangible way in cooperation with the international community.
It is not acceptable to use this resolution to act in a way that might negatively affect or hinder direct negotiations with Israel. We ask for prudence with respect to conduct such as accession to international organizations, action which might negatively affect the prospect for the resumption of negotiations.
Israel, for its part, should improve the environment to promote the resumption of peace negotiations. In particular, settlement activities need to be frozen as they are a violation of international law.
Japan requests both Palestine and Israel to establish relationships of mutual trust and to promptly return to the negotiation table with a view to realizing a two-State solution.Japan will continue to make an active contribution to move the Middle East peace process forward in cooperation with the United States, Arab countries and other partners.
Regarding the situation in the Gaza Strip, Japan welcomes that Israel and the Palestinian armed groups have reached anagreement on a ceasefire and strongly hopes that it will be a lasting one. Japan had worked to help realize the ceasefire and highly appreciates the mediation efforts by Egypt, the United States of America, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other relevant countries and organizations. Japan continues to support the efforts of the international community toward the stabilization of the Gaza Strip and progress of the Middle East Peace Process, and provides its utmost cooperation.
With respect to assistance to Palestine, Japanese cooperation has been centering on humanitarian aid, assistance for state-building efforts, confidence building, and enhancing economic self-sustainability. Japan has extended approximately 1.3 billion US dollars in total since 1993. In addition, Japan promotes assistance to the Palestinians in cooperation with East Asian countries and is planning to hold the “Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development” next February in Tokyo, with the attendance of East Asian countries and international organizations.Japan will actively promote assistance for the building of a future independent, viable Palestinian state.
Let me now touch upon the ongoing situation in Syria. Japan is deeply concerned bythe 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 the violence and abuses of human rights, and condemns the Syrian authorities for not keeping their own commitments and responsibilities to protect its own citizens.
Supporting the diplomatic efforts by the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Japan once again urges the Syrian authorities to cease violence immediately and carry out concrete measures for a Syrian-led political transition.
In this regard, Japan welcomes the foundation of the “National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces” this month. The Government of Japan hopes that the coalition represents a wide stratum of Syrian society and will play a role in the common goal of advancing a Syrian-led transition process as early as possible. From such a viewpoint, the Government of Japan will provide support to the coalition.
As a part of efforts by the international community toward stopping the violence in Syria, Japan hosted the fifth meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions today in Tokyo. The meeting focused on improving the effectiveness of sanctions implemented by like-minded countriesand on broadening the horizon of countries participating in the sanctions.Japan strongly hopes that the Syrian regime will heed the voice of the international community to stop the violence against its own people.
The Middle East and the North Africa region have been experiencing a series of movements towards democratization. This “Arab Spring” was realized by the people’s desirefor freedom and democracy. I would like to take this opportunityto renew Japan’s commitment to supporting reforms to achieve the transition to democracy in the region.
Thank you, Mr. President.