The G7 is a genuine team working across three continents: the European continent, North America and Asia. Together, we as strong economies, but above all as democracies which make use of the creativity of their citizens, have made it very clear even in these times of crisis that the strength of the law must prevail and not the law of the strong.
For that very reason, it is important that the G7 is coming together here, even in the face of a global situation which remains so tense due to the Middle East, to make plain that we are willing to shoulder responsibility as strong economies, as strong democracies, for the international rules-based order at a time when others want to take advantage of this terrible crisis to undermine the rules-based international order.
It is therefore important and good that the first item on the agenda at today’s G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Japan is the crisis in the Middle East. As G7 countries, we are making it clear that Israel has the right and obligation to protect its population within the parameters of international law.
And we are equally aware of the terrible suffering of innocent people in Gaza. No one can be unmoved by these images. No one can forget them. When you see high-rise buildings reduced to steel skeletons. When you see fathers searching desperately in the rubble for their children, or small children sitting apathetically in hospitals because they do not know where their parents are. Then we are not only moved but are unable to forget.
That is why I am actively advocating humanitarian pauses. During the last few weeks, the last few days, I have not only made many phone calls and conducted many talks but also spoken with a wide range of partners about how we can finally bring about humanitarian pauses, in both temporal and geographical terms.
Because people in Gaza are in need of everything. They need water and they need bread. Above all, they need medical care. And the most seriously injured must finally receive treatment.
In this situation, the fact that more than 30 persons with German nationality have recently been able to leave Gaza offers a small glimmer of hope. A total of more than 50 German nationals have now left.
Another major issue we will be discussing here is, of course, support for Ukraine. Together, the G7 will prepare our coordination regarding a winter air defence shield for Ukraine. For it is evident that particularly in the current situation some are watching very closely to see how we continue our support for Ukraine. We will continue to support Ukraine – with everything we do.
Japan has rightly also placed the situation in the Indo-Pacific on the agenda. Especially here in this region, we see that rhetoric could become reality all over the world. Many countries in the Pacific are facing a harsh wind. For that reason, too, it is so important that we make it clear that there will be no let-up in the support for Ukraine, for a country whose territorial integrity and sovereignty has been violated so brutally by a member of the Security Council.