(As delivered)Thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this open debate, and I thank Under-Secretary-General Madame DiCarlo for her valuable briefing.
I also thank all the delegations for expressing their thoughtful comments of condolences on the passing of Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General of IAEA. I really appreciate it.
Japan remains committed to supporting a two-state solution. We continue to believe that the most realistic solution to this long-standing conflict is a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, which will achieve peaceful co-existence of a viable Palestinian state and Israel with secure and recognized borders. In addition, the final status of Jerusalem is part of a range of issues that should be resolved through negotiations based on the relevant Security Council resolutions and known parameters.
We remain deeply concerned about continued violence both in Gaza and the West Bank, including indiscriminate rocket launches from Gaza to Israel. We strongly condemn violence and terrorism against innocent citizens, and calls upon the parties to take immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence, provocations and incitement.
Continued settlement activities as well as the demolition of Palestinian-owned structures, including the most recent one in Sur Baher, undermine the viability of a two-state solution. Japan once again urges Israel to cease these activities.
Japan is also worried about the continued issue of the Palestinian Authority's withheld tax revenues. This has exacerbated the Palestinians’ deteriorating financial situation, which we fear could negatively affect stability and security. We call for parties to find a mutually agreeable solution on this issue at the earliest possible time.
While the future prospects of the political process are dim at present, Japan believes that every country can contribute to creating an environment conducive to peace efforts.
In this regard, I wish to highlight the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (or CEAPAD). Japan, together with regional partners, initiated this conference in 2013 to assist Palestine in its economic development by utilizing the resources and experiences of East Asian countries. The latest meeting, which we co-hosted in Ramallah this month, emphasized the importance of involving the private sector in the development of Palestine.
At a business-matching event held on the side of the meeting, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation was signed between the Chambers of Commerce of both Palestine and Indonesia, in the presence of Japanese Special Envoy Kono and Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Dr. Shtayyeh as witnesses.
The participants of the conference also reaffirmed their unchanged stance to support a two-state solution and expressed their determination to continue support for UNRWA responding to the call by the Commissioner-General Mr. Krähenbühl who was present.
Behind Japan’s efforts through CEAPAD is our belief that in order to achieve a two-state solution, we need to assist Palestinians in achieving sustainable economic development.
Nevertheless, development projects alone cannot achieve peace. Lasting peace and security can be reached only through negotiations between the parties. We must continue to encourage the parties to make difficult but necessary decisions. Japan will remain engaged with both sides and will continue to promote confidence-building measures.
Let me conclude by briefly addressing the situation in the Strait of Hormuz. Securing the safety of navigation in the area is extremely important to the peace and prosperity of the international community including Japan. We sincerely hope for an easing of tensions and a stabilizing of the situation in the region, and we will continue our diplomatic efforts toward this end in coordination with relevant countries and international organizations.
I thank you, Mr. President.