"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi - Peace in the Middle East, Towards the peaceful coexistence of the two states

[Date] April 29, 2003
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

The real chance for peace in the Middle East, which is the key for the peace and stability of the region, is emerging, when the "Roadmap" which shows an itinerary towards the peaceful coexistence of the two states of Israel and Palestine is expected to be announced following the inauguration of the new prime minister, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, for Palestinian self-government Authority (PA). At this juncture, the international community needs to further assistance and cooperation. Taking the opportunity of my second visit to Israel and Palestinian territories, I call upon both Israelis and Palestinians to end violence, confirm once again a firm commitment for achieving peace in the Middle East, and announce that I am ready to take the following measures (the total amount of 22.25 million dollars) to support new prime minister, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, thereby, promote efforts for peace in the Middle East.

1. Announcement of a new assistance package for humanitarian assistance and state-building efforts by the Palestinians

Based on the "Japanese roadmap of assistance to the Palestinians" announced at my previous visit to the region last June, Japan will provide emergency humanitarian assistance materials, humanitarian assistance including vaccines, basic services and food. For the reform efforts by the Palestinian Authority, Japan will also assist in building a new Prime Minister's office for improving the administrative capability of the Palestinian Authority, facilitating reform in the field of judiciary including training for Palestinian trainees in Jordan, and supporting job creation through restoring the infrastructure of local governments, and encouraging human resource development. Furthermore, taking security situation on the ground into account, Japan will study the possibility of dispatching JICA officers in order to strengthen the capacity to implement our assistance on the ground as well as to consolidate our local competency in executing tasks related to the "Palestinian Reform Task Force" in which the Government of Japan has been actively participating as a chair of the Reform Support Group on Local Government.

2. Launching a confidence-building initiative in promoting dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians

(1) Assistance for the grass-roots level cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians

The Government of Japan, in order to support the precious grass-roots cooperation between the Israeli and the Palestinian NGOs which continue their humanitarian activities in spite of this difficult situation, will assist their projects through the scheme of "Grant assistance for grass-roots human security projects" and promote exchanges between the Israelis and the Palestinian.

(2) Pursuing the possibility of cooperation in the field of environment between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority

The difficult situation on the ground is worsening the environmental damage. Environmental issues are borderless, and require joint cooperation by both Israelis and Palestinian sides. The Government of Japan, as a chair of the Middle East Peace Process Multilateral Negotiations Working Group on the Environment, has a great interest in improving the environmental conditions in the region and aims for joint cooperation projects between the Israeli Government and Palestinian Authorities for the protection and improvement of the environment and will assist such projects. Consequently, it will work to strengthen confidence between the two sides.

(3) Hosting a Conference for confidence-building between Israelis and Palestinians

On May 19th and 20th, the Government of Japan will host a conference "Toward Stable Coexistence of Mutually Interdependent States of Israel and Palestine". This conference is aimed at discussing a vision of mutual prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians and the role of the international community, and the representatives from business circles, the government, and the academic field from both Israel and Palestinian territory and Japan will participate.