Meeting between Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Dr. Burhan Ghalioun, President of the Syrian National Council
May 10, 2012
On Thursday, May 10, from 10:30 a.m. for approximately 30 minutes, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, met with Dr. Burhan Ghalioun, President of the Syrian National Council, who is visiting Japan at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
- At the beginning of the meeting Foreign Minister Gemba welcomed Dr. Ghalioun's visit to Japan, and expressed his condolences for the huge numbers of citizen casualties, including in Homs in northwest Syria, which is Dr. Ghalioun's birthplace. In addition, Foreign Minister Gemba expressed deep regret over the situation in Syria, where oppression of dissidents has continued for over 13 months, enormous fatalities have occurred, and immense harm has been caused to civil life. He also said that he hopes Syrian citizens' legitimate aspirations for reform are achieved, and that Japan wishes to cooperate on improving the Syrian situation in coordination with the international community.
- Foreign Minister Gemba explained Japan's initiatives with regard to the situation in Syria, including imposing economic sanctions on three occasions thus far and providing 3 million US dollars of humanitarian assistance, and stated that currently, Japan is considering implementing additional humanitarian aid. Foreign Minister Gemba also noted that despite various efforts by the international community, including the proposal by Dr. Kofi Annan, Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations, the chain-reaction of oppression and violence continues, and providing relief to the innocent citizens that are falling victim to that is an urgent issue for the international community. Furthermore, Foreign Minister Gemba said that although official development assistance (ODA) must not be used for military assistance, it should be used for the reconstruction assistance once peace is restored. In addition, Foreign Minister Gemba said he is hopeful that the Syrian people will come together, and through Dr. Ghalioun's leadership, to work toward the unification of the dissidents in order to achieve peace and stability.
- Dr. Ghalioun expressed gratitude for the Japanese Government's support for the Syrian people, and explained the current situation in Syria, the unification process for dissidents, amongst others. Additionally, he stressed the importance that the international community, including Japan, maintains a coherent and robust message and action against the Syrian Government, and expressed his intention to continue to strive to achieve peace and stability in Syria and the Middle East region as a whole. Dr. Ghalioun also explained that there is increasing need for humanitarian assistance from the international community.
- (*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)