• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno agreed Saturday to step up cooperation in efforts to reform the U.N. Security Council and ensure the success of a Japanese-led African development conference slated for August in Kenya.

In one of four bilateral meetings Abe held the same day, including with the leaders of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea, he and Deby Itno agreed that the so-called Group of Four nations aspiring to become permanent members of the Security Council and the African Union hold further talks to advance the process of reform, according to a statement issued after their meeting in Nagoya.

The G-4 groups Japan, Brazil, Germany and India, while Chad currently serves as chair of the African Union.

Abe and Deby Itno called for a “more effective, transparent and representative” Security Council, saying it should be reformed to match the realities of the 21st century, the statement said.

At present, the council, the top decision-making body of the United Nations, has five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Referring to the planned Aug. 27-28 summit in Kenya of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD VI, Abe said he plans to discuss how Japan and Africa can better cooperate in fighting violent extremism, a fall in commodity prices and other pressing issues facing the continent.

Abe said Japan plans to offer $3.2 million worth of agriculture-related equipment to Chad, on top of $8.45 million in emergency aid Tokyo pledged in January to help the country ensure food security and fight extremism.

In a separate meeting, Abe and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to strengthen maritime cooperation between the two countries, including a plan to provide two patrol vessels for Sri Lanka.

Without mentioning China’s increasing activities in the Indian Ocean and the East and South China seas, the two maritime nations “reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the freedom of the high seas and maritime order based on the rule of law,” according to a statement.

Abe pledged ¥38 billion (about $345 million) in loans to Sri Lanka for construction of transmission lines and water supply facilities in the country, it said.

Abe also held separate talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The four Asian and African leaders were in Nagoya after attending an outreach session of the Group of Seven summit in Mie Prefecture that ended Friday.

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