Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed Monday on the need for talks on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to be resumed as swiftly as possible in order to secure fair and solid peace in the Middle East.

The agreement was reached during a summit meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, after which the two sides released a joint statement.

In the statement, Japan and Egypt said they were concerned that the Mideast peace process was deadlocked and confirmed that they would work together to realize comprehensive peace for the region.

During Monday’s meeting, Obuchi reaffirmed Japan’s support of the Palestinians’ right to statehood, while at the same time calling for both the Palestinians and Israel to refrain from taking “any unilateral measures.”

While reaffirming Tokyo’s support for the Palestinian people’s self-determination, Obuchi urged them not to unilaterally declare independence May 4, when their five-year interim autonomy expires as agreed under the 1993 Oslo accord.

The Palestinians should refrain from any unilateral action that could derail the peace process, notably negotiations over the status of Jerusalem, Obuchi stressed in the joint statement. In response, Mubarak welcomed Japan’s efforts at supporting the Palestinians, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

At the same time, the two nations called on peace talks regarding Syria and Lebanon to also resume as soon as possible. The two leaders also agreed to a Japan-Egypt Partnership Program that will promote economic, environmental and cultural exchange between their countries.

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