By staff and agency

Shinzo Abe says Japan will continue efforts to ease regional tension

June 29, 2019 - 18:38

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday that he is committed to make effort toward easing the situation in the Middle East and expressed concern over the recent tensions around Iran.

“While collaborating with the international community, I would like to make my efforts for relaxing the tension in the Middle East. That relaxation of tension would be very important for the peace and prosperity of the world. All leaders agreed on that ... It is not so easy, but we would like to play a role,” UrduPoint News quoted him as saying on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka.

He said, “At this summit, regarding the Iranian situation, various countries showed strong interest. I also, having bilateral meetings with various leaders, [briefed them on] my visit to Iran, and from various countries there were opinions raised regarding the attack on the vessels near the Straight of Hormuz, as well as the Iranian attack shooting down a [U.S.] drone. There was a raising voice of concern from various countries.”

He noted that various leaders had strongly supported his recent visit to Iran.

Abe was in Iran on a two-day visit on June 12.

During a meeting with Abe on June 13, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed Trump as a person not worthy of exchanging messages. The Leader said Iran has “no trust” in the U.S. and will not at all “repeat the bitter experience” it gained from the negotiations that led to the conclusion of a 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington later ditched.

“Iran engaged in talks with the U.S. and the Europeans for some five or six years, and achieved a result. The Americans, however, breached a done deal,” said the Leader, emphasizing that “no wise man” would enter talks with a country that has reneged on all agreements.

During a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on June 12, Abe said he will use his country’s “utmost effort” to deescalate tension in the Persian Gulf and the wider Middle East region.

“Japan will use its utmost effort to reduce tension in the region,” he said.

Abe said, “Increase in tensions in the region must be contained at any price, and Japan can play a quite constructive role in this regard.”

“Peace and stability of the Middle East region is essential not only for the prosperity of this region, but also for the prosperity of the entire world,” Abe noted.

Iran and the U.S. have been at odds since last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Tensions entered a new stage since April when the U.S. designated the IRGC (part of the Iranian military) as a terrorist organization, announced that it does no renew waivers for the eight major buyers of the Iranian oil, and started beefing up its military presence in the region, particularly in the Persian Gulf.

The IRGC shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone on June 20 after it breached Iran’s airspace. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the U.S. military drone entered the Iranian airspace from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and it was targeted near Kouh-e Mobarak.


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