Special envoy to visit Libya, Egypt

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa, acting as a special envoy for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, departed Sunday on a six-day trip to Libya and Egypt.

Aisawa will meet with top government officials of both countries, possibly including Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and present them with letters from Koizumi, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Ministry officials said they are making arrangements for Aisawa to meet Gadhafi.

Aisawa plans to express approval of Gadhafi’s declaration in December that Libya will abandon weapons of mass destruction and to convey wishes to strengthen bilateral ties.

In Egypt, Aisawa will discuss such topics as Middle East peace and Iraq, where sovereignty will soon be transferred from the U.S.-led coalition to an interim government.

Aisawa’s visit to Libya was initially scheduled in April but was postponed because of an incident in Iraq that month in which three Japanese civilians were taken hostage.