Japan PM working with Saudi, Gulf leaders to calm regional tensions

Shinzo Abe, speaking from AlUla on Monday, said he hoped to find peaceful solutions with the Gulf's leaders. (Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Japan PM working with Saudi, Gulf leaders to calm regional tensions

  • Shinzo Abe said he and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman agreed that countries must avoid exacerbating situation

AL ULA: Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said Monday he wants to work with Gulf leaders to find peaceful solutions to heightened tensions in the region.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Saudi Arabia for the second leg of his regional tour in the UAE, Shinzo Abe said he and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman agreed that countries must avoid exacerbating the situation.

“It is important for us to seize the opportunity and participate with them in finding peaceful solutions, which intend to minimize tensions in the region,” he said. “I would like to continue these diplomatic efforts and strengthen the bonds of friendship with the countries of the Middle East.”

Abe was speaking in Al Ula, the ancient site central to Saudi Arabia’s plans to open up the country to tourism.

“I have experienced the traditions and ancient culture that the Kingdom has preserved over the ages,” Abe said.

On Sunday, he shared dinner with the crown prince inside a Bedouin tent at Al Ula.

Abe arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday just as fears of an all-out military confrontation between the US and Iran had started to subside over the killing of Iran’s most powerful commander Qassem Soleimani. 

He said he had discussed regional tensions with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on Sunday. 

“Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and I agree that we must avoid exacerbating the situation, and that all parties must work hard on their diplomatic efforts to ease the tensions the region is facing,” Abe said.

He added that Japan had supported the region by sending naval and air support to the Gulf to guarantee the safety of Japanese ships.

Abe arrived in the UAE Monday for talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and will then travel to Oman.


Saudi Arabia registers 35 new coronavirus deaths

Updated 21 min 33 sec ago

Saudi Arabia registers 35 new coronavirus deaths

  • The Kingdom recorded 1,342 new infected COVID-19 cases

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 35 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,984.
The Ministry of Health also said that it has registered 1,342 new infected cases, now totalling 281,435 cases in the Kingdom.
The areas most affected were Jeddah with 97 new cases, followed by Makkah with 56 cases and then Madinah with 53 new infections.
The ministry also said that 1,635 patients have recovered from the coronavirus disease, bringing number of recovered cases to 243,688.
The Kingdom has just completed the annual Hajj season, under strict precautionary measures, and pilgrims who took part in this year’s pilgrimage must continue to wear electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.
So far, over 18 million people have been affected by the disease worldwide and it has killed almost 700,000 people.