Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on the Agenda Item “The Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question”

(As delivered)

Mr. President,
 
I thank the presidency for convening this debate. I would also like to thank Special Coordinator Nikolay Mladenov for his briefing.
 
Continued instability in the Middle East region is of great concern. Violence in Gaza remains intense and, as the Secretary-General has pointed out, we are at the brink of another devastating conflict. We urge all sides to exercise maximum restraint.
 
Once again, we stress that violence cannot bring a solution, and what is needed in the region is a surge in diplomacy.
 
In this regard, we commend international efforts to bring a ceasefire on the ground in Gaza.
Japan is also paying close attention to recent steps being made in the Egyptian-led reconciliation process. We hope these steps will lead to a de-escalation of the tension in Gaza.
 
 
Mr. President,
 
The United Nations has played the central role in the region with its numerous tools for peace -- mediation, good offices, humanitarian assistance, support for early recovery, enhancement of social resilience, among others. Japan believes in the roles and effectiveness of the UN and we will continue to support its diplomatic efforts in the region.
 
As for the Middle East Peace Process, the United Nations, inter alia, the Security Council has built the base of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace through its resolutions over its history. Japan will continue with our confidence-building efforts to assist the parties in implementing these resolutions. We believe in the realization of a two-state solution in line with relevant Security Council resolutions and known parameters.
 
We also emphasize the UN’s essential role in addressing humanitarian situations. We thank Mr. Mladenov for his briefing on his ongoing efforts in implementing projects for those in need in Gaza. We will continue extending our support to the Palestinian people in close coordination with the United Nations.
 
 
Mr. President,
 
Please allow me to briefly touch upon the situation in Syria. Japan has been supporting the UN’s efforts in implementing Security Council resolutions and extending assistance to people in need. After seven years of devastating war, we want to believe the Special Envoy’s recent words in this Council chamber that we are moving cautiously in the right direction on the political front. While Japan will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate people’s suffering, we are ready, if necessary, to step up our engagement towards a political solution.
 
 
Mr. President,
 
Let me close as I opened, by reiterating the importance of diplomatic solutions and the continued role of the UN in achieving them. This simple but critical message can be applied to the situation not only in Palestine and Syria, but also Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. Japan always supports diplomatic solutions based on relevant Security Council resolutions.
 
I thank you, Mr. President.