Japanese leader's visit to UAE aims to strengthen economic ties

Shinzo Abe's Middle East itinerary includes Jordan, Palestine and Israel

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to journalists at at Prime Minister's office Friday, April 27, 2018, in Tokyo. Abe praised the talks Friday as a "forward-looking move." He told reporters in Tokyo that he expects North Korea to take concrete actions toward denuclearization through its planned talks with the U.S. (Shin Kigeuchi/Kyodo News via AP)
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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to arrive in the UAE on Sunday on the first leg of his Middle East tour.

Mr Abe will hold talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and will participate in an economic forum focused on diversification and innovation in the UAE. The forum will also seek to strengthen economic relations between the UAE and Japan.

"The Middle East is important to Japan from the viewpoint of energy security," Mr Abe said during a parliamentary meeting last week.

The visit to the UAE will be Mr Abe’s first in five years.


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Mr Abe's Middle East trip will look to enhance Tokyo's energy and security ties in the region. His itinerary also includes stops in Jordan, Palestine and Israel.

In Jordan, he will meet King Abduallah and Prime Minister Hani Mulki to discuss counter-terrorism and ways to enhance the Middle East peace process.

“Japan will promote positive relations between Israel and Palestine and will show our active involvement in seeking a resolution,”Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference.

He will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and will also meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr Abe announced that Japan will contribute to the Middle East peace process by “providing aid for Palestinian economic independence.”

Mr Abe's first visit to Palestine was in January 2015.

A business delegation, made up of executives of the Mitsubishi Corporation, will also accompany the Japanese leader during his tour.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrived in Jordan on Friday to participate in peace talks.

The Foreign Ministerwill take part in talks on a "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity," established in 2006, alongside Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Mr Kono will also meet King Abdullah in Jordan, and will co-chair an Aqaba Process meeting on tackling terrorism and violent extremism.

Japan was one of the first countries to cultivate diplomatic relations with the UAE following the declaration of the union in 1971.