Address by
Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda
Summit of Peacemakers in the Middle East

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
March 13, 1996

Your Majesty,
Your Royal Highness,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is deeply regrettable that the recent series of terrorist bombings in Israel, which murdered and injured numerous citizens, have threatened the Peace Process in this region. Thus, I would like first of all to express my respect to President Mubarak and President Clinton in taking timely initiative at this critical juncture to hold this summit today to fight against terrorism and bring the Peace Process back on track.

The Peace Process has produced steady progress such as implementation of interim self-rule by the Palestinians and the Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan, thereby irreversible developments have been achieved toward peace and prosperity in a region, where conflicts and antagonism once prevailed. The recent tragedies and their consequence, however, have reminded us that the Peace Process is still fragile and needs continued strengthening and assistance from the international community, in addition to the efforts by the parties concerned in order to achieve further developments in the Process.

Japan has repeatedly condemned all forms of terrorism and reaffirmed our resolve to fight against it. We need to take a determined stand against terrorist acts, the most imminent threat against our efforts for peace. We have to make it clear that terrorist acts cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever, and that political aims must only be pursued by peaceful means; thus, violence intending to achieve political aims shall never be accepted by the international community. From this standpoint, on March 4, I issued a Foreign Minister's Statement on behalf of the Japanese Government.

To prevent the repetition of these acts of terror, both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority should take all measures possible, under their respective jurisdiction, to ensure the security of the people. And since terrorism is an issue reaching beyond national borders, we need to explore effective means for counter-measures and international cooperation to terminate outside support for terrorism.

However indignant we may be against these series of terrorist acts, we must not halt or retreat from our undertakings to achieve peace and co-existence. We must not succumb to the pressure from these heinous acts. Since the current peace process is the only realistic choice to provide ways to solve the issues in the region, Japan strongly hopes that both Israelis and Palestinians will overcome the difficulties they face and uphold the Process.

I would also like to point out that, in so doing, agreements between the parties concerned should be observed in a sincere manner, and continuous efforts need to be accumulated to nurture mutual confidence among those concerned. In this regard, it is of great importance that the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including the amendment of the Palestinian Charter, be faithfully implemented.

To strengthen the basis of the Peace Process and to bring forth a society without terrorism, further improvement of the economic and social environment for the Palestinians with the help from the international community is getting increasingly important. Japan, therefore, will remain committed to undertaking various forms of assistance to the parties concerned to the Peace Process, including the Palestinians. With the present situation in mind, I wish to announce that the Government of Japan has just decided to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinians with the amount of around ten million US dollars to encourage creating employment. This is in addition to the assistance we have already pledged.

We should keep open our contact with each other to confront terrorism and maintain the momentum of the Peace Process. Japan, on its part, is determined to do whatever possible to contribute to these efforts.

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