Special announcement by the Press Secretary (March 23)

23 March 2003

Concerning the military action by the United States and others, Ms. Yoriko KAWAGUCHI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan had telephone conversations with Dr. Marwan Al MUASHER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan and with Dr. Nabil SHA'ATH, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of the Palestinian Interim Authority (PA) in the evening of 23 March. Minister Kawaguchi conveyed Japan's position on the current situation and informed them of Japan's assistance to the neighbouring countries of Iraq, to the Jordanian Government and the PA.

At the outset of each conversation, Minister Kawaguchi mentioned that it was regrettable that Iraq did not respond to the sincere diplomatic efforts by the international community, including Japan. Minister Kawaguchi said, although it was not an easy decision to support the military action, the situation is now such that she strongly hoped that the military action should come to an end soon with minimum casualties.

Minister Kawaguchi mentioned to Minister Muasher that Japan highly values Jordan's role and efforts for the peace and stability in the Middle East. Minister Kawaguchi said that Japan has decided today to provide economic assistance in the total amount of USD 100 million as part of Japan's assistance to the neighbouring countries of Iraq. Minister Muasher replied that it is most important to minimise civilian casualties in the current military action and expressed his deep appreciation for Japan's assistance to Jordan.

Minister Kawaguchi mentioned to Minister Sha'ath that Japan has decided today to provide food assistance in the total amount of USD 4.2 million (500 million yen) through UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency). In response, Minister Sha'ath expressed his appreciation for Japan's assistance and mentioned that the PA, on its part, would make efforts to advance reforms aimed at state building. He also expressed his hope for cooperation by the United States and the international community in advancing the peace process.


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