State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to Visit the Middle East

February 25, 1999

  1. Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, will visit Turkey, Jordan, Israel, areas under the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates from February 27 (Sat.) to March 9 (Tue.).

  2. During his tour, Mr. Machimura will meet with various leaders and exchange views on such matters as bilateral relations and the regional situation. In Israel, Mr. Machimura will observe the UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) on the Golan Heights.

  3. The exchange of visits by leaders of Japan and the Middle Eastern countries has become unprecedentedly active in recent years, including a visit to Saudi Arabia by (the then) Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in 1997 and visits to other GCC countries by Mr. Hirabayashi, Special Envoy for (the then) Prime Minister Hashimoto, Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura's visit to countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Israel and areas under the Palestinian Authority this January on one hand, and series of visits by leaders of the Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and Iran to Japan on the other. Thus, the cooperative relationship with the Middle Eastern countries in wide-ranging areas has been further deepened through such close high-level exchanges of views. Mr. Machimura's present visit to the Middle East is therefore considered a significant part of this exchange of visits to promote the cooperative relationship.

  4. This visit is expected to further deepen mutual understanding on such issues as, in particular, human resources development, cultural exchange, the energy issue, economic cooperation, the Middle East peace process, and the regional situations including Iraq, through frank high-level exchanges of views and, at the same time, to be a new step in further expanding friendly relations with these countries through promotion of concrete bilateral cooperation.


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