Visit by Special Envoy of the Prime Minister Masahiko Koumura to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (May 9 to 14)

May 14, 2004

1. Overview

(1) On his visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister Masahiko Koumura held talks with President Mohammad Khatami, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rouhani and Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian and Pacific Affairs Mohsen Aminzadeh. This was MP Koumura's second dispatch to Iran, following his visit in October 2001 as Special Envoy of the Prime Minister.

(2) On his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Special Envoy Koumura met with Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul aziz Al Saud and Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal. This was Special Envoy Koumura's fifth dispatch to Saudi Arabia, following his visit in December last year.

(3) On his visits to both countries, Special Envoy Koumura highlighted the importance of self-efforts and solidarity by the Iraqi people in the political process in Iraq and that the international community as a whole must assist such efforts and to this end, major involvement by the United Nations and a new resolution by Security Council are required. He also underlined the importance of the international community as a whole supporting the efforts of Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the UN Lakhdar Brahimi and asked the understanding and cooperation of both countries.

(4) In response, appraising the dispatch of Special Envoy Koumura, Iran stated, "the dispatch is an indication of its good intentions of Japan, which is seeking to work for the reconstruction and stability of Iraq," and Saudi Arabia stated, "Japan is demonstrating high interest in the issues facing the Middle East region, including Iraq."

2. Details

(1) Iran

(a) The situation in Iraq

In addition to the message detailed in 1.(3) above, Special Envoy Koumura asked Iran, as a major Shi`ite Muslim country, to exert its influence on the Shi`ite groups in Iraq, for restoring security in Iraq's southern regions.

In response, in addition to emphasizing the importance of the transfer of administrative authority to the Iraqi people, the stabilization and territorial integrity of Iraq, and the promotion of the reconstruction process, the Iranian side stated that they would cooperate fully with the efforts of the international community and with Special Advisor Brahimi as well as the Iraqi Governing Council.

(b) Nuclear issues in Iran

Based on the action plan agreed between Iran and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed El Baradei, the Iranian side stated that they were working on a report to be made to the IAEA, and strongly emphasized that the case should be closed at the June meeting of the IAEA Board of Governs.

In response, Special Envoy Koumura stated that a concrete response would be decided after reviewing the report by IAEA Director General El Baradei this month, and expressed his expectation of Iran eventually gaining the trust of the international community.

(2) Saudi Arabia

(a) The situation in Iraq

The Saudi Arabian side noted that Japan and Saudi Arabia share the same standpoint on many issues, and that it was necessary to provide the United Nations with adequate authority in Iraq, and a new Security Council resolution would be required for the creation of a stable Iraq. The Saudi Arabian side indicated their intention to continue to cooperate with Japan towards Iraq's stability.

(b) Middle East peace process

In the meeting with Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, an explanation was provided of the content of discussions at the Foreign Minister's Level Arab League Council that took place in Cairo, Egypt from May 8 to 10, 2004, and the two sides exchanged opinions concerning the issue of Middle East peace process.

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