Abe to go ahead with trip to Middle East

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visited the UAE in 2018. (File/AFP)
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Updated 11 January 2020

Abe to go ahead with trip to Middle East

  • Abe now believes that the tense situation in the Middle East will ease
  • Abe apparently hopes to hold talks with leaders of the three countries and try to win their support for Japan’s plan to send Maritime Self-Defense Force units to the Middle East

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to visit the Middle East for five days from Saturday as scheduled, informed sources said Thursday.

Abe now believes that the tense situation in the Middle East will ease after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested in his speech on Wednesday a negative stance on the use of further military force against Iran, according to the sources.

The decision to go ahead with Abe‘s trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman is expected to be announced on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at the prime minister’s office on Thursday, Abe welcomed Trump’s speech as showing self-restraint.

“Japan will continue to make every diplomatic effort to ease the situation in the Middle East and achieve stability in the region,” he said.

Some in the Japanese government, mainly Foreign Ministry officials, called for a postponement of the trip after Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles on two Iraqi bases used by U.S. forces on Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike last week that killed a top Iranian commander.

But Abe is seen opting to go ahead with the Middle East trip because Iran has also shown a restrained response, the sources said.

“If there is no change in the situation in the Middle East, the prime minister will take the trip as planned,” a person close to him said.

During the planned trip, Abe apparently hopes to hold talks with leaders of the three countries and try to win their support for Japan’s plan to send Maritime Self-Defense Force units to the Middle East on a mission to gather information for ensuring sea lane safety in the region.

Abe also plans to call on the leaders to boost diplomatic efforts for easing the tensions in the region.


Erdogan says Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas

Updated 20 January 2020

Erdogan says Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas

  • Ankara and Libya’s internationally recognized government signed a maritime delimitation agreement in 2019

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Somalia had invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas, after Ankara and Libya’s internationally recognized government signed a maritime delimitation agreement last year, according to broadcaster NTV.

“There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: ‘There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.’ This is very important for us,” Erdogan was cited as saying by NTV. “Therefore, there will be steps that we will take in our operations there.”