Special Announcement by the Press Secretary

(Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi's meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on 11 April and her telephone conversation with European Commissioner Chris Patten on the same day)

April 14, 2003

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko KAWAGUCHI met British Foreign Secretary Jack STRAW in London for an hour and a half in the afternoon of 11 April local time. They discussed Iraq, the Middle East peace process, North Korea, and India and Pakistan.

On Iraq, Minister Kawaguchi explained Japan's stance so far and more than USD 200 million worth of assistance Japan is providing, and also Japan's five principles on humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq. Minister Straw expressed his appreciation for Japan's support so far and his total agreement with the five principles. As regards security concerns on the ground, Minister Straw stressed that British army with its more than thirty years of experience in Northern Ireland had considerable expertise on police activities. Minister Straw was scheduled to visit Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia next week and said he would like to report the outcome of the visit to Minister Kawaguchi after the trip.

Minister Kawaguchi said that it is very important that the weapons of mass destruction which was the very cause of the military action be discovered. Minister Straw fully agreed.

Minister Kawaguchi said that as we faced the future of Iraq, it was important for the international community to establish some kind of an overall framework and that since the cost of reconstruction of Iraq was expected to be extremely large, it was particularly important for the members of the international community to unite their efforts to provide extensive cooperation with Iraq. Minister Kawaguchi believed that efforts needed to be made to agree on some kind of UN resolutions. Minister Straw replied that the UK agrees to the need of the unity of the international community and the unified framework, and that the UK was committed to UN resolutions. Minister Straw believed that the US was likewise committed to UN resolutions, which was clear from the joint statement of the US-UK summit talks in Belfast.

Both sides agreed on the need for the establishment of an interim government as early as possible, and as for the UN's role therein, both sides agreed on the need of sufficient UN involvement.

On the Middle East peace process, Minister Straw said that so far so good and one point of interest was how other ministers would be appointed in the cabinet of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Minister Kawaguchi replied that the peace in the Middle East was extremely important and Japan would like to do as much as it could.

On North Korea, Minister Kawaguchi said that she hoped that North Korea would seriously accept the message delivered by the chair after the 9 April informal consultation of the UN Security Council. Minister Straw said that he understood and agreed with Japan's position.

On India and Pakistan, both sides are concerned with the situation concerning India and Pakistan, and agreed to further work on the two countries.

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi had a telephone conversation in London with Mr. Chris Patten, European Commissioner in charge of external relations for twenty minutes in the afternoon of 11 April local time at the request of the latter.

Minister Kawaguchi explained Japan's assistance related to the situation in Iraq and Japan's five principles on humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq. Commissioner Patten replied that the EU was discussing the reconstruction of Iraq and that he agreed with the five principles. Commissioner Patten said that there was consensus in the European Commission that the UN should play a key role in the reconstruction of Iraq.

Minister Kawaguchi said that the whole international community must cooperate with the reconstruction of Iraq and the international community should not be divided in the circumstances where there are numerous issues to be tackled from now on. Commissioner Patten said he fully agreed with her.

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