Abe ‘deeply wor­ried’ by Mid­dle East ten­sions

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Tokyo, Ja­pan - Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, who has tried to carve out a role me­di­at­ing be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Tehran, said on Mon­day he was ‘deeply wor­ried’ by ten­sions in the Mid­dle East.

“Mid­dle East­ern ten­sions are in­creas­ing. I’m deeply wor­ried about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion,” Abe said. “A fur­ther es­ca­la­tion in this sit­u­a­tion should be avoided and I call for diplo­matic ef­forts by par­ties con­cerned.”

In June, as ten­sions rose over Trump’s de­ci­sion to with­draw from a nu­clear deal with Tehran, Abe vis­ited Iran for talks with Supreme Leader

Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei and Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani.

But his visit co­in­cided with a sus­pected at­tack on two oil tankers off the Ira­nian coast.

And Khamenei cat­e­gor­i­cally ruled out talks with Trump de­spite Abe’s ef­forts to smooth a path. Abe later met Rouhani on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, and wel­comed the Ira­nian leader to Ja­pan - the first visit by an Ira­nian head of state in two decades. Ja­pan has walked a fine line in bal­anc­ing its key al­liance with Wash­ing­ton and its long­stand­ing re­la­tions and in­ter­ests with Iran.

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