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Minister Keizo Obuchi will explain to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak next week why Japan is trying to dissuade the Palestinians from unilaterally declaring independence on May 4, when their interim autonomy expires, Foreign Ministry officials said Friday.

Mubarak is to arrive in Japan at noon Sunday for a three-day unofficial visit, the final leg of an Asian tour that included China and South Korea. He is scheduled to meet with the Emperor and Empress and hold talks with Obuchi on Monday.

Exchanging views on the Palestinian issue with Egypt, which can can influence other countries in the region, will be significant in dissuading the Palestinians and keeping their peace efforts with Israel intact, the official said.

Regarding bilateral issues, the two leaders will focus on such topics as further political dialogue, economic cooperation, environmental protection and cultural exchange, the official said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura is scheduled to hold talks Sunday afternoon with his Egyptian counterpart, Amre Moussa, who will accompany Mubarak, the official said.

Earlier this week in Tokyo, Obuchi and Komura both urged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to exercise self-restraint on the independence issue.

The Palestinians’ five-year interim autonomy is due to end May 4, as written in the 1993 Oslo accord.

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