Japanese FM to visit Iran , Turkey, Austria next week
TOKYO, Aug. 10 -- Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tuesday
he will make a weeklong visit to Iran , Turkey and Austria from next Monday.
Komura, speaking at a press conference, said he intends to exchange
views on bilateral and regional issues with counterparts and other top
officials of the three nations.
In Iran , Foreign Ministry officials said Komura intends to reiterate
international concerns over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and missiles when he meets with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazzi.
Komura will otherwise highlight improving relations between Tokyo and
Tehran, the officials said.
Ministry sources said Komura is expected to convey Japan's intention
to resume yen-denominated loans to Iran that have been frozen since 1993
due to U.S. objections, the officials said.
The last time Japan provided Iran with yen loans was in May 1993 when
it extended 38.6 billion yen as the first tranche of financing for a dam
project in the Karun River in southern Iran .
Japan was supposed to offer a second tranche of 45 billion yen by the
summer of 1994. But financing was suspended after the United States
objected to the plan under its policy of containing Iran for allegedly
supporting terrorism and the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Japan has resumed high-level dialogue with Iran in response to Tehran's
easing its grip on dissident activities and in recognition of the moderate
policies of the Khatami administration formed in 1997.
Last year, Washington dropped Iran from its list of countries that produce
and traffic drugs, and also partially lifted its ban on exports by U.S.
companies to the country.
The ministry officials said Komura and Kharrazi will also follow up
on a joint statement they issued when the Iranian minister visited Japan
Under the statement, Tokyo and Tehran agreed on joint efforts to pursue
the nonproliferation and disarmament of weapons, combat terrorism, press
Iraq on U.N. weapons inspections, and support the Middle East peace process.
In Turkey, Komura hopes to boost bilateral ties while crediting the
nation for its increasing role in the Middle East and its eastward-looking
diplomacy, the officials said.
Komura is slated to exchange notes with the Turkish side to provide
the country with yen-denominated loans and cultural grants, they said.
His visit to Austria will focus on international issues, including the
Kosovo situation and issues related to North Korea and Taiwan, the officials
Komura will return to Japan on Aug. 22