Iraq should cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors to ease the mounting tension in the Persian Gulf, Kishichiro Amae, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau, told Iraqi Charge d’affaires Nadhim Haddad on Thursday.

Amae told Haddad that Japan is concerned about the standoff over Iraq’s refusal to allow the U.N. inspections and that it hopes a solution will be reached through diplomatic efforts rather than military force, ministry officials said.

Haddad told Amae that he will convey the message to Baghdad, they said.

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