October 4, 2010

Japan calls for settlement freeze


Ma'an - BETHLEHEM – The Japanese Foreign Ministry said the nation's government was |disappointed that the Israeli moratorium on settlement activities has not been renewed," a statement issued on Wednesday said.

"Japan urges Israel to return to a moratorium on settlement activities," the document read, and added that the government "reaffirms its basic position that Israel should freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank which includes East Jerusalem."

The Palestinian Authority, which agreed to enter into direct talks with Israel on 2 September, made clear that talks would only continue as long as a moratorium on settlement construction remained in effect. On 25 September, a day ahead of the end of a government-mandated construction freeze, Israeli settlers began new housing projects.

Reports say the United States is attempting to secure and end to the settlement constructions, considered illegal under international law.

"Japan strongly encourages both Israel and the Palestinians to focus on the goal of a two-state solution, which is important not only for the Middle East but also for the international community as a whole, and to make efforts to develop mutual trust, and tenaciously continue their direct negotiations," the government statement continued.

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