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Saudi puts its weight behind Japan’s Mideast mission

Japanese premier calls for restraint from furthering conflict in Middle East in his meeting with Saudi crown prince

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 13.01.2020
Saudi puts its weight behind Japan’s Mideast mission

ANKARA

Saudi Arabia has extended its support to the deployment of Japanese troops in the Middle East to guard navigation of ships in the region, Japanese media reported on Monday.

On Friday, Japan ordered deployment of a naval destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes to the Middle East, along with 260 troops of Tokyo's maritime self-defense force.

Tokyo-based Kyodo news reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his full support to the decision of deployment, during a meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a city in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

As two leaders agreed to coordinate closely toward securing the safe navigation of ships in the region, Abe also called for easing tensions in the region in the wake of U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 2.

The Japanese forces will guard the Gulf of Oman, the northern strip of the Arabian Sea, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

During the meeting, Abe and bin Salman “agreed that collective efforts are necessary toward easing Middle East tensions”, the report added.

"A military conflict in the Middle East would have a huge impact on global peace and stability," Kyodo quoted Abe as telling the crown prince. "I'd like to ask all countries concerned to respond [to the situation] in a restrained manner."

Abe is in the Middle East on a five-day tour where he will be visiting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Japan, the world’s number three economy, imports about 90% of its crude oil from the Middle East.

The Japanese mission to the region is said to help secure the safe passage of commercial ships.

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