Saudi Arabia and Japan issued a joint communiqué following talks between Crown Prince Sultan and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Tokyo yesterday.
In the communiqué, both countries expressed their determination to further enhance bilateral relations. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations, and expressed an interest in enhancing strategic dialogue in a variety of areas, including economic, cultural, environment, and air transport.
The communiqué welcomed economic and commercial cooperation between their two countries, in particular joint investments such as the $9.8 billion petrochemical project between Sumitomo and Saudi Aramco. Both countries agreed to boost economic relations by discussing ways to encourage joint investment, negotiate a bilateral agreement to encourage and protect investments and conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement between Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). To that end, Japan and the GCC will hold preparatory talks in May.
Crown Prince Sultan also pledged in the communiqué that Saudi Arabia would continue to be a stable supplier of petroleum, and the two countries agreed to engage in intensive dialogue on energy issues.
The two countries confirmed that mutual understanding and respect for different cultures is a solid base for a globalized world. Japan expressed support for King Abdullah’s call rejecting the idea of a conflict of civilizations and advocating peaceful coexistence for all. They also underscored the importance of the Arab-Japanese dialogue forum, which has already held three meetings.
On the Arab Israeli conflict, both countries called for a fair and comprehensive solution that would contribute considerably to regional stability and prosperity. They emphasized the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by King Abdullah and adopted by the Arab Summit at Beirut in 2002 as well as the road map for peace. They also confirmed the importance of recognizing the results of the January 2006 Palestinian elections as a step towards building an independent Palestinian state according to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
Saudi Arabia and Japan reiterated their support for the Iraqi people and Iraq’s stability, territorial integrity, national unity, and equality among factions. They agreed to coordinate closely to help the Iraqi reconstruction effort.
In the communiqué, both countries agreed on the importance of comprehensive UN reform, as well as the importance of bringing peace and security to Afghanistan.
Both Japan and Saudi Arabia urged all countries of the Middle East to adopt joint nonproliferation agreements and make the region free of weapons of mass destruction. They underscored the importance of diplomatic efforts aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation and reaching a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
The countries categorically rejected all terrorism in all forms and called for unity in the fight against terror as well as commitment to the 13 counterterrorism treaties and protocols. Japan praised Saudi counterterrorism initiatives, in particular the February 2005 international counterterrorism conference held in Riyadh. The communiqué also called for an international counterterrorism conference, as proposed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Crown Prince Sultan also noted Saudi Arabia’s support for Japan’s aspirations to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.