Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bilateral Relations: Japan-Palestine - details of meeting between Hatoyama and Abbas

Source: Government of Japan - Dr. Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, and Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President, had an official meeting in Tokyo on February 8, 2010. They discussed the Middle East Peace Process and the relationship between Japan and the Palestinian National Authority.

Prime Minister Hatoyama reaffirmed Japan's position that it supports President Abbas' efforts to achieve a two-state solution through negotiations. Prime Minister Hatoyama, expressing his concerns over the present stagnation of the peace process, stressed that a comprehensive peace must be achieved at the earliest possible date, based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Roadmap, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative. Prime Minister Hatoyama called upon the Palestinians to continue its measures for cessation of violence. He also stressed the need for Israel to freeze all settlement activities. He assured that Japan would not recognize any act by Israel that would prejudge the final status of Jerusalem and territories in the pre-1967 borders. He also expressed his support for the current efforts by the US, Arab countries and the rest of the international community for the resumption of negotiations. President Abbas expressed his appreciation for Japan's support for his peace efforts.

President Abbas explained the current situation of the peace process, and elaborated his position regarding various issues on the peace process and reaffirmed his unequivocal commitment to a two-state solution. He stressed that the Roadmap should be the basis for the progress of the Middle East peace process, and reiterated his position that, while Palestinians continue to abide by the cessation of all act of violence against Israelis, Israel should freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. He also expressed his determination to further expedite efforts to build a basis for a future independent Palestinian State, through implementing the present Government Program of the Palestinian Authority for institution and capacity building.

Both sides recognized that the resumption of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel is urgently needed at the earliest possible time. In this context, President Abbas explained his current stance that negotiations should be resumed based on the Roadmap and the aforementioned internationally agreed terms of reference, and that such negotiations should deal with, among others, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security and water.

Prime Minister Hatoyama stressed the importance of the national reconciliation of the Palestinians under the leadership of President Abbas.

Both sides stressed the necessity to urgently address the present humanitarian and reconstruction needs in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Hatoyama explained Japan's efforts to extend its assistance to the citizens in Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Hatoyama, welcoming the recent Palestinian Authority's efforts in institutional reforms, expressed Japan's readiness to help the Palestinians further build a viable economy and develop capable governing institutions for a future Palestinian State. In this context, both sides shared the view that the development of the Palestinian private sector is essential to realize a viable economy in the Palestinian territories. Both sides thus decided to take steps to implement the following "Japanese-Palestinian Program of Work to Build a Viable Palestinian State":

(1) The Japanese side will dispatch a mission to study the need for Japan's assistance in the area of institution and capacity building.

(2) The Japanese side and the Palestinian side will work together on a regional initiative of "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity/an Agro-Industrial Park in Jericho," and hold a working-level technical meeting with the other two players of this project, namely Israel and Jordan, in March this year. Furthermore, as a boost for the regional initiative of Corridor for Peace and Prosperity, President Abbas explained the vision developed by the Palestinian Investment Fund to develop Jericho and the Jordanian Valley in the areas of establishing a new city in northern Jericho and touristic projects, and both sides recognized the importance of consulting on this matter.

(3) Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Palestinian counterpart organizations will enhance their efforts to promote trade and investment in the Palestinian territories. The Japanese side will send Chairman of JETRO to the West Bank upon request from the Palestinian side. In this regard, from the point of view of increasing mutual contacts and relations between private sectors in Japan and the Palestinian territories, the Palestinian side expressed its appreciation for "Jordan, Iraq and Palestine Exhibition" held by JETRO in Tokyo in November 2009.

In order to further enhance bilateral relations, both sides recognized the importance of continuing the Japan-Palestinian Ministerial Political Consultation Meeting. Furthermore, to achieve the goal mentioned in Paragraph 7, both sides shared the plan to hold a high-level consultative meeting in the Palestinian territories on the building of an independent and viable Palestinian State.

Prime Minister Hatoyama told President Abbas that while acknowledging that East Asian countries have already been cooperating actively with the Palestinian Authority in its efforts for social and economic development, he is of the view that countries in East Asia can further enhance their role, commensurate with their increasing economic and political standing in the international arena, and that he wished to work together with East Asian countries to contribute to peace in the Middle East. For this purpose, he further explained that Japan would strengthen cooperation with those countries to support state-building efforts being made by the Palestinians, including institution and capacity building, thereby complementing the already existing efforts and contributing to the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side with Israel in peace and security. He also mentioned that this proposal would be developed through working-level meetings. President Abbas welcomed this initiative.

Prime Minister Hatoyama expressed his appreciation for President Abbas' visit to Hiroshima, and both sides jointly called for a world without nuclear weapons.

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