Foreign Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three ((namely China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) were shocked and distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by the Israeli Defence Forces of the UN observer post in southern Lebanon Tuesday, which killed four UN military observers, according to a statement issued Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur.
The ASEAN Plus Three foreign ministers concluded their one-day meeting, which is part of ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences started here Wednesday, and issued a Chairman's Press Statement, condemning this coordinated attack, extending their deepest condolences to the families of those victims and expressing their sympathies to the governments of Austria, Canada, China and Finland.
The ministers called on the Israeli government to conduct a full investigation into the incident and demanded that any further attack on the UN positions and personnel must stop. The ministers further encouraged the UN to also conduct its own investigation.
While expressing their grave concern 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 in Lebanon, triggered by the capture of the two Israeli soldiers, the 13 foreign ministers condemned all acts of terror, violence and destruction.
"They also condemned the attacks that have resulted in injury and death of innocent civilians and the destruction of civilian property and infrastructure," the statement said.
The ministers urged all parties to exercise 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.
They called for an immediate ceasefire and urged the international community and the UN Security Council (UNSC) to get all parties in the conflicts to adhere to the ceasefire and ultimately to work towards a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region.
The ministers reaffirmed 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 UNSC Resolutions 1664 and 1680.
They also urged Israel and Palestine to return to the peace process and implementation of the Quartet Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict as outlined in UNSC Resolution 1515.
The ASEAN is a regional organization in Asia which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.