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We, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the thirty-ninth ASEAN ministerial meeting, taking cognizance of the deteriorating situation in the Middle East and having discussed the issue, wish to state the following:
We are gravely concerned over the deteriorating situation and the escalation of violence in the Middle East, particularly the disproportionate, indiscriminate and excessive use of force by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Lebanon, triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers. It will threaten efforts towards reviving the peace process.
We condemn all acts of terror, violence and destruction. We also condemn attacks that have resulted in the injury and death of innocent civilians and the destruction of civilian property and infrastructure. We further condemn the abduction and detention of cabinet ministers, government officials and other individuals and we call for their immediate and unconditional release.
We urge all parties to exercise the utmost restraint, in particular to avoid additional casualties among innocent civilians and damage to civilian property and infrastructure and to refrain from acts that could further exacerbate the situation and worsen the humanitarian crisis.
We call for an immediate ceasefire and urge the international community and the Security Council to get all parties in the conflict to adhere to the ceasefire under United Nations supervision, with the participation of countries that are able to do so, and ultimately to work towards a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region.
We reaffirm the call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon, as stipulated in Security Council resolution 1664 (2006) and 1680 (2006).
We also urge Israel and Palestine to return to the peace process and the Implementation of the Quartet’s performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as outlined in resolution 1515 (2003).
We welcome all efforts taken to address the situation, including the visits to the region by the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General to the Middle East and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, as well as the efforts undertaken by the Foreign Minister of France in that country’s capacity as current President of the Security Council. We view the visit by the United States Secretary of State to the region and Italy’s intention to host an international conference on 26 July 2006 as encouraging steps and hope that these will bring about the immediate cessation of hostilities, opening the way for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian relief and assistance to the civilians affected by the conflict, the early return of displaced persons and providing the conditions for a durable and lasting solution to the problems in the region. We also emphasize the need for speedy restoration of essential infrastructure facilities in Palestine and Lebanon to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian and Lebanese people.