Japan commits itself to ease tension in the Middle East

epa07798503 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) at the start of their meeting during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Japan, 28 August 2019. The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) is held from 28 through 30 August 2019. EPA-EFE/JAPAN / POOL JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/ NO ARCHIVES

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

“Peace and stability in the Middle East directly links to Japan’s national interest,” Abe told 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.”

Meanwhile earlier this week, Japan’s foreign minister expressed his concern. “We are worried about tension in the Middle East and we hope to make some diplomatic effort to ease the tension,” Kono told reporters. “So we wanted to have a direct and frank conversation.”

Tension between Tehran and Washington has risen since U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration last year quit an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and began to ratchet up sanctions.

Iranian officials have denounced the new penalties as “economic warfare.”

Via Reuters / Japan Times 

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