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Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi met with an Israeli official Monday and urged Israel to make efforts to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.

The comments came during a meeting at the ministry with Israeli National Security Council Chairman Uzi Dayan, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Kawaguchi told Dayan she hopes Israeli troops will stop advancing into Palestinian territories and the warring parties will resume peace negotiations.

She said Japan has also been calling on Palestinian leaders to exercise restraint and crack down on extremists who have been conducting a campaign of suicide bombings in Israel, the official said.

Dayan said, however, Israel has no choice but to move into Palestinian areas to prevent further terrorism. He said peace is possible only if Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat takes real steps against terrorism, according to the official.

Dayan also emphasized the importance of holding talks on how to eliminate “terrorism by Palestinian extremists” before holding an international conference to discuss ways to achieve peace in the Middle East, the official said.

Kawaguchi said Japan is hoping to contribute actively in the Middle East to secure public safety, rebuild and help the peace process move forward, according to the official.

She said both parties should have the willingness to attain peace, and that the Palestinians should be shown the possibility of gaining independence, the official said.

Dayan is visiting Japan as part of an Asian tour that includes stops in India and Singapore, according to the official.

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