photo (Foreign Minister Koumura)

Statement by Mr. Masahiko Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Annapolis Conference

November 28, 2007

  1. At the International Conference for the Middle East Peace convened at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis on November 27, it was announced, in the form of the Joint Understanding concluded by the representatives of the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, that the both sides had agreed to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations and to make every effort to conclude a peace treaty before the end of 2008.   Japan greatly welcomes this move and pays the highest tribute to the initiative of President George W. Bush of the United States as well as the enormous peace efforts of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, which had been exerted continuously to reach this Understanding.
     
  2. I believe that the Conference provided a historic opportunity since the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid of 1991 in that all the parties concerned gathered together in order to bring about a settlement to the long-standing issue of the Middle East peace.  It is, therefore, of great significance, from the viewpoint of promoting further momentum for peace, that both leaders of Israel and the Palestinians Authority committed themselves resume the negotiations to achieve peace at the Conference, which had been stalled for seven years.
     
  3. I strongly hope that a peace agreement will be reached as soon as possible and peaceful co-existence and co-prosperity will be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  While Japan has been engaged in promoting the peace process over the past years through political dialogues with the parties concerned, assistance to the Palestinians and confidence-building measures among the parties, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our determined commitment to continue to proactively support the peace efforts of the parties.
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