Japan pledges to support Mideast

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday expressed Japan’s continued commitment to supporting Middle East peace efforts as momentum builds for Israel and Palestine to restart their stalled peace talks.

“There was great significance in holding a (four-party ministerial) meeting amid signs of progress in the Mideast peace process,” Kishida said at a joint news conference after a meeting in Jericho with ministers from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to discuss Palestinian economic development.

Kishida chaired the meeting at which Israel was represented by Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom, the Palestinian Authority by Mohammad Abu Ramadan, minister of state for planning affairs, and Jordan by Interior Minister Hussein Hazza al-Majali.

The meeting came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy in the region over the past few weeks. Kerry said last week that the Israelis and Palestinians had laid the groundwork for resuming peace talks.