Japan making diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions in Gulf: Abe

Japan making diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions in Gulf: Abe

Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should work together to de-escalate the tense situation in the Gulf, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Monday, relaying comments by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As part of a Middle Eastern tour, Abe met UAE leaders in Abu Dhabi on Monday after having been to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. He will head to Oman on Tuesday, whose ruler, Sultan Qaboos, died on Friday.

The official said Japan has a strong relationship with both the United States and Iran and was in a position to play a diplomatic role in defusing regional tensions.

In Abu Dhabi, Prime Minister Abe was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, at the Qasr Al Watan Palace and accorded an official ceremonial reception.

Abe will “compare notes with the leaders of the three countries who we believe are like-minded in the sense that they are all worried about the extremely high tension in the region and the need for…de-escalation,” the official said.

He added that Abe has met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani three times last year and maintains “very good contact” with US President Donald Trump.

Sheikh Mohammed  thanked Abe for Japan’s “balanced policy” towards the Middle East, in a statement on UAE state media after their meeting.

Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE was willing to work with Japan and Saudi for regional stability.

Japan’s Cabinet last month approved the deployment of a warship and patrol planes to the region and on Friday ordered them to head to the Middle East to protect ships bringing goods to Japan.

They are for self-defense and have a mandate of “information collection,” the official said.

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