Statement by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, Spiritual Leader of the Hamas, on March 22nd

March 22, 2004
Japanese

Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement on the killing of the Hamas spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, on March 22 (Mon) (local time) in Gaza.
  1. I express concern at the news that the spiritual leader of the Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, was killed in bombings carried out by Israeli Air Force helicopters in the early morning of today, March 22 (local time).

  2. In response to the recent suicide bombing by the Palestinian extremists, the Israeli Defense Force has been intensifying its attacks against the Gaza strip, which led to the killings of innocent civilians. The Government of Japan is deeply apprehensive that the cycle of hatred and violence seems to be expanding by the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin. I strongly urge the Israeli government to exercise maximum self-restraint and to calm the situation.

  3. Japan also expects the Palestinian side to deal with the situation calmly so that this incident does not invite further deterioration of the situation.

  4. The efforts for peace of both Israeli and Palestinian sides based on the "Roadmap" are virtually suspended. Recalling that the Prime Ministers of both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority committed themselves, in June last year, to the vision of two states living side by side in peace based on the "Roadmap," I firmly expect the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to immediately exercise their initiatives to resume dialogue (Japan-Iran Relations)
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