Middle East

September 25, 2014
Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
On Thursday, September 25, commencing at 9:10 a.m. (local time) for approximately 20 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with Dr. Fuad Ma'soum, President of the Republic of Iraq, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly which was held in New York. The overview of the meeting is as follows. (The meeting was attended on the Iraqi side by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, among others, and on the Japanese side by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko, among others).

1. Opening remarks

(1) Prime Minister Abe conveyed his congratulations on President Ma'soum's appointment and the launching of Iraq's inclusive new government, and expressed that he wishes to continue close cooperation towards further development Japan-Iraq relations and the stabilization of the Middle East region. 
(2) In response, President Ma'soum expressed that he wishes to further develop the relationship between Japan and Iraq. He mentioned the good relationship between Japan and Iraq, citing the fact  that following the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, Japan was the first to return and reopen its embassy in Iraq, and expressed gratitude for the support Japan has extended to Iraq thus far. Additionally, President Ma'soum expressed that Iraq's economic relationship with Japan in particular is a "clean relationship" and that he wishes to develop similar relationships in all fields.

2. Situation in Iraq (ISIL)

(1) President Ma’soum explained that Iraq is facing various problems, including the fight against ISIL. President Ma’soum expressed that ISIL’s aggression in particular is creating internally-displaced persons with many people being driven out of their regions and homes. President Ma’soum expressed that this is not only a political problem but a problem that contains various aspects, such as military, economic and financial area, and he wishes Iraq’s friends, with Japan at its forefront, to extend their hands. 
(2) In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed that in countering ISIL, it is essential that the Government of Iraq remains stable and strives towards national reconciliation that transcends religious beliefs and ethnicity under President Ma’soum, and that he supports such efforts by President Ma’soum. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe expressed that Japan supports the fight against ISIL by the international community, including that by the Government of Iraq, and expects that this action will lead to the degrading and destruction of ISIL. In addition, Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan recently decided to newly provide approximately 20 million US dollars of aid via international organizations as humanitarian support for Iraq’s internally displaced persons, and combined with the aid for neighboring countries, it has decided on a total of approximately 25.5 million US dollars in support of measures to counter ISIL. Prime Minister Abe also expressed that Japan will continue to provide support for Iraq’s stability and national unity.

3. Bilateral relations

(1) President Ma'soum expressed high expectation regarding technology owned by Japanese companies, and explained that the new Iraqi Administration has been launched in an inclusive manner and that the government includes all political and religious groups. President Ma'soum explained that the new government wishes to collaborate with Japanese companies.
(2) Prime Minister Abe expressed that he will support President Ma'soum's efforts to try to bring Iraq together as one nation again toward the medium- and long-term development and stability of Iraq, and if requested, the Government of Japan intends to do what it can. Prime Minister Abe also explained that in light of this, he requests for a continued support for participation of Japanese companies in projects in various fields, including energy and electricity. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe expressed that Japanese companies' efforts in Iraq are appreciated as "clean," but this is a strength of Japan itself also. Prime Minister Abe also conveyed that stable security situation is essential for Japanese companies in expanding their businessin Iraq, and expressed hope that measures will be taken to ensure stable security situation, the safety of Japanese nationals, and improvement of the investment environment. 

4. Situation in Iraq (general)

(1) President Ma'soum explained the situation in Iraq, in particular the fact of the formation of the new inclusive administration constitutes the first step towards national reconciliation, and efforts being made by all members towards reconciliation, with all the major political groups and religious denominations participate in the government and government organizations and that all members are working towards reconciliation. Additionally, President Ma'soum explained that Iraq is a stable sovereign nation which has the strength to firmly move its relationship with other nations forward. President Ma'soum explained that the countries concerned shared a united stand through the meeting in Jeddah, the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, and the meeting among related countries which was held at the initiative of U.S. President Barack Obama. 
(2) Prime Minister Abe responded by expressing that the Government of Japan also supports the international community's fight against ISIL, and conveyed his intention to continue close coordination  with Iraq on the situation in the region. 

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