Japanese PM Shinzo Abe meets Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

Abe and Abbas meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2018.
Abe and Abbas meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas met Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (May 1) 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.

Palestinian official media said Abbas thanked Abe for this country's support for the Palestinian people, while the Japanese premier reasserted his country's support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the framework of the two-state solution.

The Wafa official news agency said Abbas told Abe the Palestinians remained "ready to cooperate for the success of any international effort to find a political process," provided it was based on international law and the creation of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians are currently refusing to meet US President Donald Trump's negotiating team over allegations of pro-Israel bias and Abbas has called for other countries to step in to facilitate a new process.

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

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.