Saudi crown prince meets Abe, backs MSDF Middle East mission

15-Jan-2020 Intellasia | JapanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting with visiting prime minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday expressed full support for Japan’s dispatch of a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer and patrol aircraft to the Middle East.

At the talks, held in Al-Ula in northwestern Saudi Arabia, Abe sought Saudi Arabia’s understanding and cooperation for the MSDF mission, which is aimed at gathering information to ensure safe navigation by ships related to Japan in the region.

In response, the crown prince, who takes charge of domestic politics for aging King Salman, said that his country fully supports Japan’s efforts. Abe and the crown prince confirmed that Japan and Saudi Arabia will work together for the stability in the Middle East and safe navigation in the region.

Two P-3C patrol planes of the MSDF are set to begin their mission later this month. The MSDF’s Takanami destroyer is slated to leave for the Middle East on February 2.

On growing US-Iran tensions that have led to an exchange of military strikes, Abe said an armed conflict in the Middle East, including Iran, will greatly affect the peace and stability in not only the region but also elsewhere in the world.

Noting that any further escalation in the situation must absolutely be avoided, Abe emphasized that Japan will patiently continue making maximum diplomatic efforts to help ease the tensions and stabilise the regional situation.

The Saudi crown prince said that he completely agrees with Abe’s views, adding that dialogue between countries concerned is crucial and that Saudi Arabia will further enhance its own efforts.

They affirmed that relevant countries should join forces to stabilise the Middle East situation and de-escalate the tensions.

Earlier this month, a US airstrike killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, prompting Tehran to retaliate by firing dozens of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases being used by US forces.

Stability in the Middle East is critical for Japan, which depends on the region for more than 80 percent of its crude oil imports.

Abe is trying to mediate between Washington and Tehran using Japan’s close alliance with the United States and its longstanding friendship with Iran. Abe is in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of his five-day Middle East tour that started Saturday. After Saudi Arabia, he will visit the United Arab Emirates and Oman.


Category: Japan

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