By staff and agencies

Abe says he wants to do everything possible to ease Middle East tension

August 30, 2019 - 18:56

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday that he plans to do everything he can to ease tension in the Middle East region and wants to talk with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session that starts in September.

“Peace and stability in the Middle East directly links to Japan’s national interest,” Reuters quoted him as saying in a news conference at the end of a three-day international conference on African development.

“I would like to work tenaciously, and play the best possible role to ease tensions in the Middle East,” he said.

The Japan Times reported on Wednesday that Abe and Rouhani are planning to meet in late September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Abe met in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on Wednesday.

According to Reuters, Zarif said that Iran is not seeking to increase tension but every country should be able to enjoy its rights under international law.

“As our president has said, we are not at all seeking heightened tensions,” Zarif said, speaking through a translator.

He said, “We believe every country should be able to enjoy its rights under international law.”

According to The Mainichi, Zarif said, “Iran welcomes the Japanese government’s role (in trying) to ease tensions in the Middle East.”

Abe said, “Japan will persistently continue our diplomatic efforts to deal with rising tensions in the Middle East and stabilize the current situation.”

Pointing to his meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Abe said that Ayatollah Khamenei noted that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons, according to ISNA.

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

During a meeting with Abe on June 13, Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed U.S. President Donald 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.

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.


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