Abe visits Israel, agrees with Netanyahu on anti-terrorism cooperation


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to work together to enhance anti-terrorism measures as they held talks Sunday in Jerusalem, Japanese officials said.

“Despicable acts of terrorism cannot be tolerated whatever reasons there may be,” Abe said in reference to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

He expressed condolences to Netanyahu over the deaths of Jewish victims in the attacks, which included a siege at a kosher supermarket.

Commenting on the stalled Middle East peace talks aimed at ending conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Abe said that “realization of Middle East peace will greatly contribute to stability in the Middle East region. I hope the great task of realizing peace will be accomplished.”

Abe also mentioned the Palestinian Authority’s filing to join the International Criminal Court, which tries war crimes. He said he plans to request the authorities to hold back moves that could hinder Middle Eastern peace initiatives. But he also asked Israel to review its blocking the transfer of tax money levied on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Abe and Netanyahu meanwhile agreed to expedite launching preparatory talks for an investment treaty to promote bilateral economic exchanges.

Abe expressed support for talks between Iran and six countries on Tehran’s nuclear program and voiced hope that Israel will play a constructive role in the negotiations. Netanyahu expressed concern over the progress of the talks.

Abe is on a Middle East tour. He has already visited Egypt and Jordan and will travel on to Palestinian areas.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is visiting Paris, said Sunday that Japan will offer $7.5 million for counterterrorism measures in the Middle East and North Africa as he and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, agreed to cooperate closely on “fighting terror.”

Kishida condemned the recent attacks in Paris, saying, “They represent challenges to freedom of speech and the press and basic values, and we can never condone them,” according to Japanese officials.

Prior to the meeting, Kishida laid a wreath near the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, where a dozen people were killed by two Islamist gunmen earlier this month.

After expressing condolences to the victims, he told reporters Japan will collaborate closely with France in combating terrorism.

The Abe administration envisages spending the $7.5 million on investigating attacks and strengthening border controls. Kishida also proposed speeding up cooperation between French and Japanese counterterror police, the officials said.