Japan’s Abe wraps up Gulf tour in Oman


MUSCAT, Jan 14, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met
Oman’s new sultan Tuesday on his last leg of a Gulf tour amid regional
tensions after the US killing of a top Iranian general.

Abe and Haitham bin Tareq, who took office last week following the death of
long-serving Sultan Qaboos, agreed to cooperate for regional stability and to
develop their bilateral relations, said a Japanese foreign ministry

Abe also offered his condolences for the death of Sultan Qaboos, who died
Friday aged 79.

Under Qaboos, Muscat acted as a regional and international go-between,
including during a discreet dialogue between Tehran and Washington that led
to a 2015 deal over Iran’s nuclear programme.

US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018,
reimposing sanctions and a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran.

Abe’s Gulf trip had initially been thrown into doubt after the US on
January 3 killed the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani.

Iran responded by launching a barrage of missiles at bases hosting American
troops in Iraq. But the Japanese premier’s five-day tour went ahead,
including talks with top officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab

In a meeting Sunday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abe warned
that military conflict with Iran would have an impact on global peace and
stability, said Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Masato Ohtaka.

Tokyo has walked a fine line in balancing its key alliance with Washington
and its longstanding relations and interests with Tehran.