• Kyodo


Iraqi President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawer said Wednesday that Self-Defense Forces troops are the most welcome of all the foreign troops stationed in Iraq, a senior Japanese official said.

He made the comment during an informal chat with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi before a luncheon meeting between leaders of the Group of Eight countries and Middle East nations, held as part of the annual G8 summit.

This year’s summit is being hosted by the United States at this secluded island resort.

Al-Yawer also thanked Japan for its support of reconstruction activities, the official said. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was also present during this exchange.

Koizumi was quoted as telling the two leaders: “It is important for the Iraqi and Afghan people themselves to demonstrate to the international community their willingness to rebuild their countries.

“If they do so, I believe the international society will be willing to support them.”

Separately, Koizumi thanked Jordanian King Abdullah on Wednesday for his country’s support in the hostage crises involving Japanese nationals in Iraq in April, a Japanese official said.

Koizumi and Abdullah also agreed during their talks that Japan and Jordan will continue to extend assistance to Iraq, especially to the new interim government led by al-Yawer, the official said.

Japan and Jordan have jointly provided Iraq with medical supplies and training in the electricity field, with Japan eyeing Jordan as a key base for extending assistance to Iraq.

Koizumi told Abdullah he supports Jordan’s efforts to reform its social and economic systems, the official said.

Abdullah told Koizumi it will be difficult to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East without resolving the