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Abe, Saudi Arabian crown prince exchange views on Middle East tensions

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman exchanged views Sunday on the situation in the Middle East amid heightened tensions surrounding Iran.

Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally and Iran’s main rival in the region, has accused Tehran of carrying out attacks in mid-June on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

While Japan is also a U.S. ally, it has also imported a significant amount of oil from Iran and has traditionally maintained friendly ties with the country.

The tanker attacks happened while Abe was visiting Iran in an effort to mediate between Washington and Tehran.

In their meeting in Osaka following a Group of 20 summit, Abe and the crown prince also welcomed the strengthening of economic ties between their countries.

Touching on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify from its reliance on oil, Abe pledged the “full support” of Japan’s public and private sectors.

The crown prince said he was happy that a number of projects are underway.

Under the “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030” economic cooperation plan, the two countries are exploring setting up special economic zones to invite more investment by Japanese companies into the Mideast country.

Abe, the chair of this year’s G20 summit, thanked the crown prince for his support and pledged to support Saudi Arabia’s presidency next year.

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