Statement by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Deteriorating Situation in the Gaza Strip

May 17, 2004

Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement on the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip.

  1. I am deeply alarmed by many casualties and injuries on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides as a result of sporadic conflicts that have continued between the two since May 11 (Tues).

  2. Especially, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip, the demolition of many houses of Palestinian refugees and others by the Israeli forces has left more than 1,000 residents without homes, creating a grave humanitarian disaster. I urge the Israeli side to stop this demolition immediately. At the same time, I strongly call on the Palestinian side to make maximum efforts in the crackdown of the extremists' activities such as smuggling weapons, and to demonstrate tangible results.

  3. I am deeply concerned that the Middle East peace process is making little progress and that the situation would worsen if the cycle of violence continues. To avoid further deterioration of this situation, I firmly expect the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to immediately exercise their initiatives to resume dialogue and cooperation to implement the "Roadmap"

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