Japan-Palestine Summit Meeting
On May 1st, commencing at 7:15 p.m. for approximately 45 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, during his visit to Palestine, held a summit meeting with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, at the Prime Minister’s Office. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
- At the beginning, President Abbas welcomed Prime Minister Abe and expressed his sincere gratitude for Japan’s consistent support. He then explained the current situation surrounding Palestine. In response, Prime Minister Abe welcomed their reunion after 2 years and given that Palestine is currently in a very difficult situation with issues such as Jerusalem, expressed that Japan is in support for a two-state solution and that he came on this trip to communicate that Japan is determined to take on an active role in the Middle East Peace Process. Furthermore, with regards to the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park (JAIP), which was agreed upon during the first Abe Administration, Prime Minister Abe mentioned that he will be visiting the JAIP on the following day, May 2nd, for the first time. He expressed that he hopes this visit would further develop the Japan-Palestine relationship.
- Discussions were then made on the Middle East Peace Process. Prime Minister Abe expressed that Japan understands the sensitiveness of Jerusalem for Palestine and that he believes that the issue should be resolved through negotiations, based on the consent of both parties and relevant UN resolutions. He also stated that Japan will not be moving its embassy to Jerusalem. In addition, Prime Minister Abe indicated that the role of the US is indispensable and if the US were to suggest a solution, it is important that Palestine accepts and sits at the negotiation table. He pointed out that in the end, there will be no resolution to the issue without direct negotiation between the both parties. In response, President Abbas expressed his gratitude for Japan’s consistent support and assistance and that he looks forward to Japan’s role in achieving peace in the Middle East.
- With regards to Japan’s aid towards Palestine, Prime Minister Abe indicated that Japan has provide a total of about 1.86 billion USD of aid towards Palestine and that an additional aid of 10 million USD through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was decided on April 24th. In addition, he stated that Japan is ready to provide additional food assistance. As basic infrastructure such as water facilities is necessary for basic livelihood in Gaza, he explained that Japan has already declared providing up to 10 million USD towards the Gaza Central Desalination Plant project.
- On the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative, both leaders welcomed the agreement at the Four-Party Ministerial Meeting on the construction of an access road from JAIP to the Jordanian border. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan is ready to provide assistance towards the construction of the access road and that he hopes for its early commencement. President Abbas said that this project an excellent project “Made in Japan” and that it provides hope for the Palestinian people and that he looks to further cooperate.
- Regarding the situation in Palestine, Prime Minister Abe stated that for the improvement and stability of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, through reaching reconciliation, it is necessary that the Palestinian Authority will be able to govern Gaza. In response, President Abbas explained on the outcomes of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) and the future prospects of the situation.
- Finally, on the situation in North Korea, Prime Minister Abe gave an explanation on Japan’s stance. He stated that in order to achieve the Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement (CVID) of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, maximum pressure must be maintained and that the Middle East should not become a loophole for sanctions. Prime Minister Abe also explained that the abduction issue is the most important issue for Japan. President Abbas responded by expressing support for Japan’s stance and that he would like to cooperate towards the resolution of the abduction issue.