By staff and agency

Abe calls for diplomatic efforts to ease tension in Middle East

January 6, 2020 - 21:16

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on all parties involved to exhaust diplomatic efforts to ease tension in the Middle East.

“A further escalation of the situation should be avoided and I ask all parties involved to exhaust diplomatic efforts to ease tensions,” The Japan Times quoted him as saying in a press conference on Monday.

“With heightened tensions in the Middle East, I’m deeply concerned about the current situation,” he said.

Abe’s remarks came amid a recent spike in tension after assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on Friday.

Tokyo and Tehran have maintained diplomatic ties for decades.

Abe visited Tehran in June 2019 to deescalate tension between Iran and the U.S. which spiked after Donald Trump withdrew his country from the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal and slapped the harshest ever sanctions on Tehran. He met with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Abe later met Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2019 and also in December when Rouhani visited Japan.

Japan had decided not to join a U.S.-led coalition patrolling waterways in the Persian Gulf region, however, plans to send Self-Defense Forces personnel and assets to the region.

NA/PA

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