Abe to go ahead with trip to Middle East

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visited the UAE in 2018. (File/AFP)
Short Url
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.


Yemeni president in US for annual medical checkup

Updated 13 August 2020

Yemeni president in US for annual medical checkup

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi touched down in the US for his annual medical checkup on Thursday, the Yemeni Embassy in the US said.
Ambassador Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak received Hadi at the airport in Cleveland, Ohio, where the appointment is due to take place, and “reaffirmed his utmost best wishes to the president for continued good health,” the embassy said in a brief statement.
Hadi left for the US after appointing a new governor and a new security chief in Aden, and mandating new Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed to form a new government. Hadi has travelled regularly to Cleveland for medical treatment since becoming president in early 2012, reportedly suffering from heart problems.
Saeed asked the governor, Ahmed Hamid Lamlis, to focus his efforts on reviving public institutions in Aden, restoring peace and security and fixing basic services that have been hit hard by years of instability. The official Saba news agency reported that the prime minister pledged Lamlis his government’s full support.
Saeed also entered discussions with various political factions in Yemen with a view to forming his government. Abdul Malik Al-Mekhlafi, an adviser to President Hadi, said on Twitter that the administration would be announced within a month, as the internationally recognized government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) enacted security and military components of the Riyadh Agreement.
The STC recently rescinded a controversial declaration of self-rule under a new Saudi-brokered proposal to accelerate the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
Signed by both sides in late 2019, the agreement was designed to end hostilities in Aden and other southern provinces. Under the deal, the government and the STC were agreed to withdraw their forces from contested areas in southern Yemen, move heavy weapons and military units from Aden and allow the new government to resume duties.
Meanwhile, a judiciary committee assigned by the country’s attorney general to investigate reports of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Aden’s port found hat the material was in fact a different fertilizer, urea, which could also prove hazardous if mixed with other materials.
In a letter addressed to the Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation, Judge Anes Nasser Ali, a local prosecutor, ordered the port’s authorities to remove the urea from the city.
Shortly after the tragic explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut last Tuesday, Fatehi Ben Lazerq, editor of the Aden Al-Ghad newspaper, ignited public uproar after suggesting 4,900 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in 130 containers had been gathering dust at the port for the last three years, which could cause an equally destructive explosion. The story prompted the country’s chief prosecutor, politicians and the public to call for an investigation.