Meeting between Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lamberto Dini of the Republic of Italy

18 March 2001

Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono had an exchange of views on bilateral relations and the international situation with Minister of Foreign Affairs Lamberto Dini of the Republic of Italy, who was visiting Japan to attend the opening event of "Italy in Japan 2001," at the Italian Embassy in Tokyo where a reception related to the event was held in the afternoon of 18 March. The following is an outline of the meeting.

1. Bilateral Relations

Foreign Minister Kono proposed that he would like to issue a joint statement on the direction of cooperation between Japan and Italy in the 21st century on the occasion of the next Japan-Italy summit meeting. Foreign Minister Dini approved wholeheartedly and concurred to advance work between the authorities of both countries in the future.

2. The Situation in the Balkans

Noting Japan's concerns regarding the situation in Serbia, Foreign Minister Kono asked how Italy viewed the issue. In response, Foreign Minister Dini explained the violent acts by Albanian extremists active in Kosovo, southern Serbia and northern Macedonia had by far outweighed his expectations and were engendering an extremely dangerous situation. He further noted that although the Kosovo Force (KFOR) was currently being deployed in the region, close consultations were currently underway among North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries on how to deal with the situation in the future, and that the following two or three weeks would be the critical period.

3. The Situation in the Republic of Indonesia

Responding to Foreign Minister Dini's expression of concern regarding the future of the Republic of Indonesia, Foreign Minister Kono introduced the observation that Indonesia found it difficult to foster a sense of solidarity not just because of its complex ethnic composition, but also due to reasons such as the uneven distribution of its resources.

4. The Situation in Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Kono noted that the destruction of the statues by the Taliban was regrettable. Foreign Minister Dini stated in response that Italy was also taking an interest in Afghanistan, commenting further that Italy had hosted a conference in Rome to promote dialogue among Afghan factions, and that both religion and poverty were major factors.

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