search

Japan’s PM said to tell Abbas there are no plans to move embassy to Jerusalem

Landing in Israel, Shinzo Abe tours West Bank ahead of meeting with Netanyahu on Wednesday

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, is welcomed by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Husseiniya palace in Amman, Jordan, May 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, is welcomed by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Husseiniya palace in Amman, Jordan, May 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that Japan has no plans to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Palestinian media reports.

Abe touched down at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport and then drove to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with Abbas.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to visit a Japan-backed agro-industrial Park in the West Bank desert city of Jericho, near the Israeli-controlled border with Jordan, before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The industrial zone was set up by Japan more than a decade ago as part of the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity Initiative aimed at promoting economic cooperation between Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan.

On Sunday, Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono presided over a rare meeting of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian officials to push ahead with the Jericho park.

Israel and Jordan only recently patched up relations after a months-long diplomatic crisis. Officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank meet only intermittently because of ongoing deadlock in peace efforts.

Following his visit to the park, Abe will travel to Jerusalem to meet with Netanyahu.

He is traveling with his wife and a delegation of Japanese business leaders.

On Wednesday night, he and his wife will attend a dinner being hosted by Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu at their official residence in Jerusalem.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe arrive at Amman military airport, in Amman, Jordan, April 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

In a statement ahead of the visit, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Israel and Japan enjoy a “excellent bilateral ties,” cooperating in areas such as trade and economics, cyber, science, academia and health.

Netanyahu visited Japan in 2014 and Abe first visited Israel in 2015.

Before flying to Israel, Abe met Tuesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and told him that he hopes to upgrade Tokyo’s ties with the kingdom into a strategic partnership.

Abe told the monarch that “Jordan’s stability is indispensable for regional stability,” and that Japan would provide as much aid as possible to ensure the country’s economic and social stability.

He said he hoped to “dramatically develop our bilateral ties.”

Jordan, a key Western ally, has struggled with a sluggish economy, including rising unemployment, in the wake of regional conflicts, including in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The fighting next door has severely disrupted Jordan’s trade.

Abdullah told Abe that he hopes to develop trade ties between the two countries.

 

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed