JAPAN’S PM ABE TO VISIT MIDDLE EAST AMID TENSIONS
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates next week as regional tensions spike after the US assassination of a top Iranian general.
Abe "will make the trip from the 12th to 15th," a spokesman from the prime minister's Liberal Democratic Party told AFP.
The prime minister announced the details of the visit during a meeting with party executives.
"I'm deeply concerned about the tensions in the Middle East," he said, according to public broadcaster NHK.
"I hope to contribute to peace and stability in the region through diplomatic efforts to ease tensions."
Abe has in recent months tried to carve out a role as mediator between Japan's US ally and Iran, with which Tokyo has longstanding ties.
In June, as tensions rose over Trump's decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal with Tehran, Abe visited Iran for talks with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
Japan has walked a fine line in balancing its key alliance with Washington and its longstanding relations and interests with Iran.
It was formerly a major buyer of Iranian crude but stopped purchases to comply with US sanctions imposed after Washington unilaterally quit the nuclear deal in May 2018.
Source: National News Agency