Abe secures support from UAE for MSDF supply base

ABU DHABI (The Japan News/ANN) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates met at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

 Currently on a tour of the Middle East, Abe sought understanding for the dispatch of Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel to the Middle East, and the crown prince expressed support.

 The two governments are considering using Fujairah port in the eastern part of the UAE as a supply base for an MSDF unit.

 The crown prince is said to be the true power in the government. During the one-hour meeting, Abe explained that the purpose of dispatching the unit is to ensure the safety of Japan-related ships. The crown prince responded, “We appreciate and welcome Japan’s efforts for maritime security.”

“As a coastal state, [Abu Dhabi] will spare no effort in providing concrete support for the dispatch of MSDF,” the crown prince said.

 Fujairah port faces the Gulf of Oman, one of the areas where an MSDF unit will conduct intelligence gathering. It is close to the Strait of Hormuz, a key strategic point, although it is not included in the scope of MSDF operations. MSDF ships have already called at Fujairah port, and the MSDF is expected to supply food and fuel to its destroyers there.

 The Japanese government also hopes to secure a supply base in Oman so the unit can continue stable operations for an extended time.

 On growing tensions in the Middle East due to a confrontation between the United States and Iran, Abe said, “[Japan] will play a role in efforts to ease tensions in cooperation with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries.” The crown prince replied that Abu Dhabi shares these concerns and will make diplomatic efforts to stabilize the region in tandem with Saudi Arabia and other countries concerned.

 Abe thanked the crown prince for stable crude oil exports from the UAE to Japan, according to a Japanese government source. The crown prince pledged to continue to give consideration to Japan for the stable supply of crude oil.

 Abe said Japan will introduce visa exemptions to increase the number of UAE tourists to Japan.


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