Statement by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the killing of Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, the leader of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip on April 17
April 18, 2004
Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement on the killing of Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, the leader of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip on April 17 (Sat) (local time) in Gaza.
- The killing of the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, by the Israeli Forces, which took place on Saturday April 17 around 9:00 PM (local time), was a thoughtless and unjustifiable act, giving no consideration of its consequences. It gravely impairs the realization of peace, and is profoundly regrettable.
- I am deeply apprehensive that this killing, which followed that of Sheikh Yassin, would not only lead to the further expansion of the chain of hatred and violence, thus making more difficult the realization of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, but also impact the entire Middle East region negatively. I, thus, condemn this act of Israel. I urge the Israeli government to exercise maximum self-restraint in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation.
- The efforts for peace by both the Israeli and Palestinian sides based on the "Roadmap" are virtually suspended. I urge the Palestinian side to make the maximum efforts in the crackdown of the extremists so as to have a tangible result. Also, I see it as important that the Israeli withdrawal of settlements in the Gaza Strip be implemented in line with the "Roadmap". I firmly expect the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to immediately exercise their initiatives to resume dialogue.
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