TOKYO: Japan and the G7 countries on Wednesday welcomed the release of some of the Israeli “hostages” held by Hamas and other “terrorist” Palestinian groups and called for the release of the remaining ones held in Gaza, a statement by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, welcome the release of some of the hostages seized on October 7 by Hamas and other terrorist organizations, and the recent pause in hostilities that has allowed a surge in humanitarian assistance to reach Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” the statement said.
The G7 ministers’ statement added that they are urging the release of all the other “hostages” immediately and unconditionally. They also called for the facilitated departure of all foreign nationals.
It also once again emphasized “Israel’s right to defend itself and its people,” in accordance with international law. The G7 gave thanks to the countries involved in facilitating the humanitarian pause in fighting.
“We appreciate the leadership of the United States and countries in the region, especially Qatar and Egypt, and their tireless efforts to secure this and future pauses. We support the significant efforts of the United Nations to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance during this pause.”
“This arrangement is a crucial step towards bringing all remaining hostages’ home and addressing the full scope of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We call on all parties to build on the provisions of the deal and to ensure greater humanitarian aid continues to reach civilians in Gaza on a sustained basis.”
The G7 foreign ministers said it was important to provide humanitarian support for civilians, including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies: “We underscore the importance of protecting civilians and compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law. We remain steadfast in our commitment to work with all partners in the region to prevent the conflict from escalating further.”
In response to the hijacking of a commercial vessel to Yemen, the G7 statement called on all parties “not to threaten or interfere with the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by all vessels. We especially call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks on civilians and threats to international shipping lanes and commercial vessels and release the M/V Galaxy Leader and its crew, illegally seized from international waters on November 19.”
The G7 signed off by reaffirming a commitment “to a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution that enables both Israelis and Palestinians to live in a just, lasting, and secure peace.”