Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, pledged on Monday his country would further back the Palestinian economy by providing $100 million for the sake of peacemaking in the Middle East.
Such a pledge came during the first official visit the Palestinian president has paid to Japan since coming to power. The Japanese government envisages the $100 million will be used to improve the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and make the Palestinian economy self-sustainable, a Japanese official was quoted as saying.
In a joint press briefing with his guest, Prime Minister Koizumi said that Japan "wants to see a peaceful coexistence between both independent Israeli and Palestinian states, in accordance with the road map peace plan".
According to IPC, Koizumi praised President Abbas' reformist steps in terms of security in Palestine as well as the political reforms carried out so far.
President Abbas, on his part, expressed high appreciation for the overflow of Japanese financial support to the Palestinian people, which is intended at bolstering underway peace efforts.
President Abbas arrived in Tokyo on Monday, and is expected to travel to Beijing on Tuesday.
It should be noted that earlier this year, the Government of Japan decided to implement emergency grant aid totaling US$30 million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Trust Fund for the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This assistance WAS a part of the us$60 million assistance appropriated in the supplementary budget for FY2004 to support the Middle East peace process.
© 2005 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )