2 May 2007 - 11:50
  • News Code: 103691

QATAR and Japan yesterday stressed their solid energy partnership and agreed to launch initial negotiations on moves to stimulate Japanese investment in the Gulf state.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Doha on the final leg of a Gulf tour, which has also covered Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Abe held separate talks with HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and his Qatari counterpart HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani.

“The Qatari side expressed its view that it would keep supplying oil and natural gas including LNG (liquefied natural gas) to Japan at an acceptable rate for both sides in a stable manner,” according to a joint statement.

“Both sides reaffirmed to develop the relations between the two countries in the field of production and transport of oil and LNG,” the statement said.

Qatar is Japan’s fourth largest natural resources exporter.

Oil shipments from the energy-rich state to the world’s second largest economy account for 9% of Japan’s needs, with 12% of its natural gas imports coming from Qatar.

Japan and Qatar also agreed to start unofficial negotiations on a planned investment accord, which will help protect investors and remove investment barriers, the statement said.

The Japanese premier and the Emir agreed to widen their relations to cover not only energy but culture and education.

According to a Japanese official, Prime Minister Abe told HH the Emir: “I think it is necessary for Japan and Qatar to form multi-layered relations beyond oil and natural gas.”

The official said Qatar had asked Tokyo to provide technical support to develop nuclear energy for peaceful ends. HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim made the request when he met Abe, according to the official.

Qatar is interested in nuclear power generation and we hope that Japan will co-operate,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim told Abe, according to the Japanese official.

“If the co-operation proceeds, (Qatar) will be able to supply much more natural gas to Japan,” he was quoted as saying by the official.

Abe replied that support for nuclear energy development for peaceful purposes will be a “meaningful international contribution,” the official said.

Abe flies to Cairo today to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on his way back to Tokyo. Abe already met leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates during the weekend.

He and King Abdullah agreed to forge “multi-layered” ties between Japan and Saudi Arabia, while the premier agreed with UAE leaders to launch a high-level dialogue to boost economic ties, pledging to speed up free trade talks.

 

PIN/AFP

News Code 103691

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