Japanese PM Abe meets Palestinian president in Ramallah

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) –


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas met Shinzo Abe Tuesday as part of the Japanese Prime Minister's Middle East tour.

Abbas welcomed Abe at his presidential headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah before heading into a bilateral meeting without addressing the media.

Abe is on a tour of the Middle East and will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday, the Israeli foreign ministry said.

His visit also included trips to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

Representatives of Japan, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians held a meeting on the Jordanian banks of the Dead Sea on Sunday night to discuss their "corridor for peace and prosperity" initiative.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters the initiative -- which aims to promote regional cooperation including through the creation of an agro-industrial park in the West Bank -- was making progress.

"Our efforts have finally started to bear fruits," Kono said.

He said the initiative is vital for economic development in the Palestinian territories and the Jordan valley.