Meeting between Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and H.E. Dr. Rafik Abdessalem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia
June 26, 2012
On Tuesday, June 26, commencing at 6:40 p.m. for around two hours, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, exchanged views with H.E. Dr. Rafik Abdessalem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia, who is on an official visit to Japan upon invitation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, at a meeting and a dinner. Prior to the meeting, a signing ceremony was held for the "Joint Statement between the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan and of the Republic of Tunisia" (in Japanese and in English [PDF]), which sets out the content of and approaches to future bilateral cooperation in various sectors of politics, the economy and economic cooperation, and on regional affairs and cooperation in the international arena.
The overview of the meeting and the dinner is as follows.
- Opening Remarks
Minister Gemba welcomed Minister Abdessalem's visit to Japan, along with expressing his gratitude for the support Japan received from Tunisia at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Minister Gemba also said that based on the Joint Statement released on this occasion he hopes to deepen the mutually beneficial relationship with Tunisia in the future.
In response, Minister Abdessalem expressed his condolences to the victims of the earthquake disaster, and said he wants to continue to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation with Japan.
- Bilateral Relations
(1) Political relations and security
Minister Gemba praised Tunisia's efforts toward democratization, and said he expects the democratization process to move ahead smoothly, including the formulation of a constitution and a subsequent election. Minister Gemba also expressed expectations that Tunisia will do its utmost to advance economic and social reforms and ensure security, and will achieve tangible results.
Minister Abdessalem said that despite the various challenges on the security front and in the economic sector that naturally arise in the democratization process, the democratization of Tunisia will have an impact on the region overall, and so Tunisia will strive to overcome those challenges and to advance democratization.
(2) Economic cooperation
Minister Gemba expressed Japan's intention to extend a new yen loan for the "Rural Cities Water Environment Improvement Project", which aims to contribute to addressing regional disparities and creating employment in Tunisia.
In response, Minister Abdessalem expressed deep gratitude for Japan's broad-ranging support, which is based on many years of amicable relations.
The two ministers confirmed that they will cooperate to make the Borj Cedria Science and Technology Park, which Japan is supporting, a hub for exchanges in the field of science and technology not only for Tunisia but for other African countries as well, and shared the view that they will further promote triangular cooperation with Middle Eastern and African countries.
(3) Economic relations
Minister Gemba and Minister Abdessalem shared the view that cooperation in sectors such as promoting investment in Tunisia by Japanese companies and solar power generation will move forward, and Minister Abdessalem said that he will work further to ensure security and to develop the investment environment, in order to encourage Japanese investment to Tunisia.
- Regional and international affairs
(1) The two ministers shared the view that it is necessary to halt all violence in Syria, protect the Syrian people and achieve comprehensive reforms, and said that they will intensify cooperation on these challenges. They also exchanged views on the issue of peace in the Middle East.
(2) Minister Abdessalem stated that promoting the integration of the Maghreb countries is the most important diplomatic issue for Tunisia, and expressed his intention to further strengthen efforts toward regional integration via the Arab Maghreb Union summit, which will be held in Tunis in October this year. Minister Gemba said Japan will support Tunisia's efforts toward the regional integration of Arab and Maghreb countries.
(3) The two ministers confirmed that they will work together towards the Third Japan-Arab Economic Forum, scheduled to be held in December this year in Tokyo, as well as the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICADV), scheduled to be held in Yokohama in June next year.
- (*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
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