Statement by Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace H.E. Mr. UEMURA Tsukasa, Government of Japan at the United Nations Security Council Briefing, Agenda item “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”

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November 29, 2023

Mr. President,

Thank you for calling this important meeting. My appreciation also goes to the Secretary-General and to the UN Special Coordinator.

Today, it is the 46th anniversary of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”. I have been engaged in the Middle East for four decades. A lot of my friends are in Palestine including in the Gaza Strip, in Arab countries, as well as in Israel. I feel indescribable grief, but nothing deprives me of hope towards the future. I am convinced that sadness and hope are shared. The Middle East peace should be built on this common ground.

Japan’s position on the current situation surrounding Gaza has been repeatedly explained in this Chamber. Thus, I would like to focus on what we should share, as an old friend of this region, not on what we differ. I am a person who has devoted my whole career to this complex, but fascinating region. Despite many challenges and difficulties, this region holds great potential to realize “co-existence and co-prosperity.”

Mr. President,

A true peace can be achieved only through dialogue based on mutual trust, not by violence. Japan has consistently supported a two-state solution to be achieved through negotiations.

Our approach to a two-state solution has been based on three pillars. That is, political dialogue, confidence-building, and economic assistance to the Palestinian people. My colleagues and I have worked very hard and strongly promoted important policies such as the “Agricultural Project” in Al’ Auja in Jericho, and “the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development”, we call “CEAPAD”. Japan continues to work together with all parties for the peace and prosperity of this region.

Mr. President,

The current suffering of children, women, and the elderly breaks our hearts. The news of released hostages makes us relieved, but the remaining hostages must be released immediately without condition. I also emphasize that the humanitarian situation in Palestine is still deteriorating.

We need to stop further deterioration. All parties must act faithfully based on the Security Council resolution recently adopted. All parties must comply with international law, including international humanitarian law. The ongoing pause and its momentum must lead to hope for the future.

The current conflict since October 7 must not block the path to peace in the Middle East. The international community should continue to make utmost efforts to bring about the peaceful coexistence between the two sides.

Mr. President,

Japan’s Foreign Minister Ms. Yoko Kamikawa issued message for this Solidarity Day. We need lasting peace and stability in the Middle East. There is no solution other than the peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestine.

Finally, I would like to remind an important value for Japanese as well as for peoples in the Middle East. That is, the importance of moderation. In Arabic, I say “Khair Al-Umuri Ausatoha.”  It means, “even in difficult situations, go in the middle is the best way.” This is also an important virtue advocated by Confucian, Aristoteles, and many philosophers around the world. There is something common running among all of us in a fundamental way of life.

Japan is, in good times and bad times, an “escort runner” for Palestine, Israel and all the people and peoples living in the Middle East.

We are very much prepared to be a part of any international effort to make the future a better future in this region.

Thank you very much.

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