(As delivered)

Statement by H.E. MR. KOICHI HARAGUCHI
Ambassador

At the Public Meeting of the Security Council
on the Situation in the Middle East
Including the Palestinian Question

19 April 2004

Mr. President,

The killing of the Hamas leader in the Gaza strip, Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, by the Israeli Forces was a thoughtless and unjustifiable act, giving no consideration of its consequences. It gravely impairs the realization of peace, and is profoundly regrettable.

Japan is deeply apprehensive that this killing, which followed that of Sheikh Yassin, would not only lead to further fuelling of the chain of hatred and violence, and making it more difficult to realize the peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, but also affect the entire Middle East region negatively. We, therefore, condemn this act of Israel. We urge the Israeli government to exercise maximum self-restraint in order to prevent further deterioration of the situation.

Mr. President,

The efforts for peace by both the Israeli and Palestinian sides based on the "Roadmap" are virtually suspended. Japan considers it very important that the Palestinian side make the maximum efforts in the crackdown of the extremists and produce a tangible result. Also, we see it equally important that the Israeli withdrawal of settlements in the Gaza Strip be implemented in line with the "Roadmap". We strongly hope the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to immediately exercise their initiatives to resume dialogue.

Thank you.

Related Information (Japan's Measures Toward the Middle East Peace Process)
Related Information (Japan-Palestinian Authorities Relations)
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