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Abe arrives in the Emirates on the second leg of his Gulf tour

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived on Monday in the UAE, the second stop after Saudi Arabia, on his Gulf tour, amid tensions in the Middle East region since the United States assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

“I welcome the Prime Minister of Japan in Abu Dhabi. The UAE and Japan relations are based on a historic and extended process of trust, cooperation, respect and mutual interests,” Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan wrote in a Tweet on Twitter, accompanied by pictures of his meeting with Abe.

On Tuesday, Abe will travel to Muscat after the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed and the appointment of Haitham bin Tariq as his successor.

A Japanese official told a press briefing in Riyadh on Sunday that Abe stressed the need to “avoid further escalation in the region.”

He pointed out that Abe called on all parties concerned to participate in diplomatic efforts to ease tension and that everyone exercise maximum restraint.

There were suspicions that Abe would not make his tour after Tehran responded to the killing of Soleimani by firing missiles at two bases where American soldiers are stationed in Iraq, which raised fears of a war in the region.

Japan has tried to strike a balance between its alliance with Washington, its historical relations, and its interests with Iran.

She was previously among the leading buyers of Iranian oil, but stopped to comply with US sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal with Tehran in May 2018.

Abe has tried in recent months to present himself as a mediator between the United States and Iran. He visited Tehran and met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tokyo in December.

However, a Japanese official did not disclose whether Abe was conveying during his visit mediation messages between Tehran and Riyadh.

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