Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said following his meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Tokyo that Japan will give USD 100 millions, additional funds to the Palestinian Authority.
The funds are seen by Tokyo as part of the Japanese effort to promote peace in the Middle East.
Japan, one of the major donors to the PA beside the EU has donated some USD 760 millions since 1993, and USD 60 millions after the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, in November 2004.
‘Japan wants to see a peaceful coexistence for two independent states in accordance with the Road Map peace plan in the Middle East, and we will do our best to support this’ Koizumi told a press conference following the meeting.
Koizumi commenced on Abbas’ efforts to enhance security in Palestine and to carry out political reforms.
In his turn Abbas thanked Japan for it continuous support to the Palestinians and asked Japan to invest more political effort in the Middle East peace process, saying that ‘Japan has balanced ties in the region, therefore we believe it can do that.’
Abbas has also shown interest in meeting the Israeli Prime Minister in Japan, Koizumi said.Ã‚Â Koizumi said he will discuss this with Sharon who will be visit Japan in the near future.
Abbas downplayed the decision by the Israeli government to delay the pullout from the Gaza Strip to the middle of August, after it was originally set to start in July 10, saying that it will take place sooner or later.
‘Mr. Sharon explained that the pullout delay is due to religious reasons, I do not think this will change the pullout anyway,’ Abbas said.
Abbas also commenced on the intention by the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas to join the parliament election slated for July, saying that it is a good thing.
‘I believe it is a good step to include Hamas and other groups in the political process, as this will direct them more towards the political conflict resolution in stead of the armed struggle,’ Abbas said, adding that Hamas already agreed to a truce with Israel, therefore ‘including Hamas in the election is necessary for change and political pluralism.’
Abbas will end his three-day-visit to Japan, which is Abbas’ first visit after Arafat’s visit in the year 2000, on Tuesday going to China to meet with official there as well.
Abbas is also slated to meet with the American president George W. Bush in Washington on May 26.