• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Wednesday asked Israel to make concrete efforts toward the easing of tensions in the Middle East.

In separate meetings with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, Motegi asked for the Middle Eastern nation’s actions to foster trust with “all parties concerned” in reference to its relations with the Palestinians, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Motegi explained Tokyo’s support for a two-state solution that establishes an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, it said.

Bennett said in response that his country would work with the international community, including Japan, toward increasing stability in the region, according to the Japanese ministry.

Motegi’s visit to Israel came after the country saw its first change of power in 12 years in June, with Bennett assuming his post following the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two sides also discussed the free and open Indo-Pacific initiative led by Japan and the United States, which Motegi told the Israeli leaders will serve the Middle East through developments such as improvements in infrastructure.

Among other topics, Motegi requested Israel’s cooperation in supporting an immediate resolution of the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

The meetings followed Motegi’s visit to the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, where he pledged to Palestinian leaders additional humanitarian assistance for the Gaza Strip following Israeli airstrikes on the enclave during an escalation in violence earlier in the year.

Meeting separately with Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki and President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Motegi also called on the Palestinians to maintain a cease-fire with Israel and resume peace talks.

Motegi is on a tour to Middle Eastern nations through next Tuesday. He has already visited Egypt and will head to Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Qatar after departing from Israel.

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