Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi held telephone talks with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on April 21. The following is a summary of the talks.
(1) Minister Kawaguchi expressed her heartfelt sympathy for the British citizens injured in the bombing in Basra. Foreign Secretary Straw expressed appreciation for her kind words and congratulated Japan on the safe release of the Japanese hostages.
(2) Outline of Foreign Secretary Straw's words:
There is no doubt that Iraq is in a difficult situation, and while there is resistance in Najaf and Falluja, we should not ignore the fact that everyday life for most Iraqi citizens is continuing as normal. We strongly support the initiatives of UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and the UN. We will make an effort to adopt a UN Security Council resolution on the arrangements after the transfer of power. I greatly appreciate the activities and contribution of Japan's Self Defence Forces.
(3) Outline of Foreign Minister Kawaguchi's words:
Japan will continue to pay a great deal of attention to the security situations including Falluja and Najaf. Although some of the governments deploying forces in Iraq, including Spain, have decided to withdraw, the UN is playing a valuable role, and it is important for the UN to be more centrally involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. Japan will not change its policy of continuing to provide Iraq with humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, which includes the deployment of the Self Defence Forces. Japan also welcomes the efforts of Mr. Brahimi. We will co-operate towards the adoption of a new Security Council resolution.
2. Middle East Peace Process
(1) Outline of Foreign Secretary Straw's words:
The Palestinian side expressed concern that the US Government has misled the final status of Palestine in the Summit talk between the US and Israel. However, President Bush repeatedly expressed his commitment to the roadmap. We expect the Quartet meeting to be held without delay. The British government shares the same concerns as Japan regarding the killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi.
(2) Outline of Foreign Minister Kawaguchi's words:
We would favour the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza strip as long as it is carried out in accordance with the roadmap and in co-ordination with the Palestinian side. Japan is also concerned that the killing of Rantissi might have a negative impact on the whole Middle East region. It is essential that dialogue between Israel and Palestine resumes as soon as possible.