G7 Foreign Ministers Call for Humanitarian Pauses in Gaza; Support for Ukraine Also Reaffirmed at Tokyo Meeting

AP pool photo
G7 foreign ministers pose for a photo at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations held their second day of meetings Wednesday in Minato Ward, Tokyo, and adopted a joint statement stressing the need for “humanitarian pauses” in the intensifying conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas.

“For the first time since the fighting between Hamas and Israel began, the G7 is able to issue a message in the form of a statement that includes the importance of the humanitarian pause, which is a very significant achievement from the perspective of the international role that the G7 should play,” Kamikawa said at a press conference on the day.

The G7 foreign ministers discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip at a working dinner Tuesday evening. Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, who chaired the meeting, stressed the need for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting, saying that the immediate release of hostages and the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Gaza are the top priorities. Other countries expressed similar views, according to officials.

The Indo-Pacific situation was also on the agenda at Wednesday’s meeting. The countries discussed China, which has been increasing its maritime expansion in the East and South China Seas, and issues related to North Korea. The foreign ministers confirmed the importance of engaging openly and directly with China to express their concerns, while also working with China on issues of common interest. The ministers also strongly condemned North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles and its arms provision to Russia.

At an outreach session, with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba participating online, the foreign ministers confirmed the continuation of severe sanctions against Russia and unwavering support for Ukraine.

The foreign ministers also agreed to strengthen cooperation with the emerging and developing countries at another session joined by the foreign ministers of five central Asian countries.

Prior to the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting, Kamikawa met with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday morning and confirmed the continuation of support for Ukraine and cooperation toward an early conclusion of the Japan-Germany Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), in which the Self-Defense Forces and the German military will provide each other with food and fuel.