Statement by Mr. Kiyoto Tsuji, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Security Council Open Debate on the Agenda Item “The Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question”

(As delivered)

Thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this important open debate, and I am grateful for the informative briefings by Under Secretary General DiCarlo as well as Mr. Bromberg and Ms. Majdalani from EcoPeace Middle East.
 
Japan continues to support a “two-state solution” where the state of Israel and a future state of Palestine live side by side in peace. This position of Japan remains unchanged.
 
We are concerned about the current impasse in the political process. While there is no easy way towards Middle East Peace, it is important to resume direct dialogue among the parties to advance the peace process.
 
In this regard, the continued engagement by the United States is important, and we hope that its peace plan, which will be released in the not-so-distant future,  will serve as a constructive basis for direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
 
The conflict should be resolved through confidence-building and negotiations. We strongly condemn violence and terrorism against innocent citizens.
 
The Government of Japan once again urges the Government of Israel to fully freeze its settlement activities, including the construction plan approved by Israel this month, which are undermining the viability of a two-state solution.
 
“Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion” are not acceptable. Japan does not recognize the annexation of the Golan Heights by Israel, and this position remains unchanged. We attach importance to the rule of law. The issue of “unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion” should be properly addressed by the international community.
 
Japan continues its contribution to creating an environment conducive to the realization of peace by fostering confidence-building measures among the parties through unique efforts such as the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative and its flagship project, the “Jericho Agro-Industrial Park (JAIP)”. We highly appreciate Israel’s continued support for these initiatives.
 
Let me finish by reiterating Japan’s continued support to UNRWA. UNRWA is crucial not only for humanitarian purposes, but also for stability in the region. This was reaffirmed at the Ministerial Meeting on UNRWA which I attended earlier this month. This year, we have already contributed about 32 million U.S. dollars to the Agency. Japan has also been making a significant effort to expand UNRWA’s donor base by boosting Asian nations’ involvement, including through the framework of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (or CEAPAD). The next CEAPAD Senior Officials level Meeting will be held in the West Bank this summer.
 
Thank you Mr. President.