Japan’s FM pays first visit to ME since Trump’s announcement



Fri, 22 Dec 2017 - 02:24 GMT


Fri, 22 Dec 2017 - 02:24 GMT

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 3, 2017 - REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 3, 2017 - REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

CAIRO – 22 December 2017: Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kōno is scheduled to visit Palestine on Monday as the first visit of its kind by a foreign senior official to the Middle East in general and to Jerusalem in particular since the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city in early December.

Kōno will visit Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Oman and Turkey from December 24 to 29, according to the Japanese foreign ministry’s statement published on Friday.

His visit follows U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on December 6, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city and moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This six-day trip to the Middle East is the third visit of the Japanese foreign minister since he took up office in August.

“Japan supports a two-state solution whereby Israel and a future independent Palestinian state live side by side in peace and security. Japan urges both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to exert further efforts to build mutual trust, to exert maximum self restraint avoiding any unilateral action that hinders the resumption of the peace talks, and to advance direct negotiations in order to realize a two-state solution at the earliest possible time,” according to the official website of the Japanese foreign ministry.

Kōno, who will fly from Narita airport on Sunday, is expected to arrive in Tel Aviv Monday. Kōno’s tour includes quick visits to Jordan, Oman, and Turkey as a final destination in his six-day tour to the Middle East region.

This visit focuses on implementing policies announced previously within the context of support for Middle East peace, promoting the initiatives of Japan toward stabilization of the region and further strengthening multilayered cooperative relationships with the visited countries, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry statement.

On September 11, the first "Japan Arab Political Dialogue" was launched to promote cooperation for stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

The Arab foreign ministers and their Japanese counterpart met in the presence of Arab League Secretary Ahmed Abul Gheit in a bid to reach a better understanding of regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Last year in February, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi visited Tokyo where he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and delivered a speech at the Japanese parliament.



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