Visit to Japan by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain Ana Palacio Vallelersundi (Summary)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain Ana Palacio Vallelersundi paid a working visit to Japan from December 21 to 23 upon the invitation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. Foreign Minister Palacio held talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi on December 22. She also had an audience with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince and exchanged views with the Japan-Spain Parliamentary Friendship League.
Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his respect for Spain's positive efforts towards reconstruction of Iraq despite the losses of Spanish lives, and highly appreciated the role of Spain as the hosting of the International Conference on Reconstruction of Iraq. Foreign Minister Palacio expressed her respect for strong leadership by Prime Minister Koizumi despite the killing of two Japanese diplomats.
At the foreign ministers' meeting, Foreign Minister Palacio stated that (i) security and stability are the basis for the reconstruction of Iraq, and Spain's cooperation in reconstruction efforts was made in response to the call from the international community, especially the United Nations Security Council; (ii) Spain keenly feels the threats of international terrorism, with its own experience of facing terrorism for many years; and (iii) on her three visits to Iraq, in Diwania, where Spanish forces are dispatched, local people have positive attitudes (towards Spanish assistance).
Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated on Japan's assistance to Iraq that (i) in recognition of the importance of dialogues with Iraq's neighbors as well as with the con countries concerned, Japan recently dispatched Prime Minister's Special Envoys; (ii) the approval of the Basic Plan for the Activities to be taken based on the Special Measures Law for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq is a significant decision for Japan; and (iii) failure in Iraq would be a failure for the world as a whole, and we must not allow it to happen.
Foreign Minister Palacio replied that (i) she regarded such dialogues as essential crucial, and welcomed Japan's efforts to cooperate with European countries; (ii) Spain had also held dialogues with Arab and Islamic countries which it considered important; and (iii) Spain welcomed Japan's commitments to reconstruction of Iraq.
It was agreed that both countries cooperate with each other towards the stability and reconstruction in Iraq.
2. North Korea
Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his gratitude for Spain's long understanding and support for the position of Japan regarding the issue of North Korea. At the foreign ministers' meeting, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that Japan had been discussing with the countries concerned the way in which to advance the six-party talks and that Japan was seeking a comprehensive solution of the issues, including the nuclear and abduction issues. Foreign Minister Palacio responded that Spain continued to support the position of Japan.
3. Bilateral Relations
Prime Minister Koizumi and Foreign Minister Palacio agreed that the two countries shared common basic values and wish to strengthen their co-operation. Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his congratulations on the engagement of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Felipe de Borbon. The two Foreign Ministers agreed to enhance their support for Japan-Spain Symposium. The Spanish side agreed in principle that Japanese side world host the symposium in Wakayama Prefecture next fiscal year. The two Ministers shared the view that Japan and Spain have many positions and values in common, and they agreed to further strengthen their dialogues.
4. Other International Issues (at the dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi)
(1) European Union (EU)
Foreign Minister Palacio explained EU enlargement and the negotiation of the draft EU Constitution. In particular, the Minister noted following points: (i) the current environment surrounding Europe is very different from the time when European integration started, and although the Convention on the Future of the EU was progressing in innovative ways, the problems with the draft EU Constitution under negotiation is that it will not allow Spain the same voting power as it currently holds; (ii) as a southern EU member, Spain is considering how to represent a Mediterranean standpoint; and (iii) she believes that the EU will be able to overcome the outstanding differences, as the EU overcame many difficulties and crises in the past.
(2) United Nations (UN) Reform
With regard to UN Reform, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that in view of the low political momentum, she had proposed holding a summit meeting. Foreign Minister Palacio showed Spain's interest in UN Reform.
(3) Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Foreign Minister Kawaguchi explained the Tokyo Declaration for the Dynamic and Enduring Japan-ASEAN Partnership in the New Millennium and The Japan-ASEAN Plan of Action in regard with the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit. Foreign Minister Palacio stated that Spain currently had a strong interest in Asia, although it formerly had little presence in the region.
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