Telephone Conversation between the Foreign Ministers of Japan and Italy

January 7, 2009

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini held a telephone conversation today for about 25 minutes from 5:30 p.m. on January 7, 2009 (Wednesday) (JST) at the request of the Italian side.

Foreign Minister Frattini stated that the current situation in the Middle East is regrettable and that Italy seeks an immediate ceasefire and supports the ongoing consultations at the United Nations Security Council. He expressed his hope that as the outgoing and incoming G8 chairs, Japan and Italy will work together to address this issue.

In response, Minister Nakasone stated three points as summarized below:

  • (1) Japan is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip. It is important that the both sides cease the use of force immediately, followed by the conclusion of a lasting ceasefire.
  • (2) Mediation efforts by the countries concerned are being intensified at the UN Security Council and elsewhere. Japan considers it important for the international community to make concerted efforts to achieve an early ceasefire and is calling on both sides to exercise self-restraint.
  • (3) Humanitarian care for people in the Gaza Strip is urgently needed. Japan plans to provide emergency humanitarian assistance worth 10 million US dollars, including 3 million US dollars in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In this context, Japan has asked Israel to take necessary measures, including the opening of the checkpoints.

Foreign Minister Frattini stated that Italy and Japan share the common stance. He said Italy intends to provide various kinds of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian citizens and make concerted efforts as a member of G8 in the sector of humanitarian aid as well.

Finally, the two ministers agreed that as the outgoing and incoming G8 chairs, Japan and Italy will work closely together in addressing global issues, including the Middle East, the global economy, and climate change.

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