MANAMA (Kyodo) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Japan can do more to help push forward the Israel-Palestine peace talks as the country seeks to play a bigger role in promoting peace in the Middle East.
"Japan can make more contributions for the stability of the Middle East," Kono said in a speech Saturday in Bahrain, the first stop of his trip to the Middle East and Europe, though he did not elaborate.
Kono, the first Japanese foreign minister to ever visit Bahrain, met with his counterpart Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa earlier Saturday to exchange views on the unrest over U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Japanese officials said.
Among other Group of Seven nations, Britain, France, Italy and Germany expressed disagreement with or concern about the U.S. decision, but Kono has said Japan, a U.S. ally, "appreciates President Trump's strong commitment to promoting a permanent peace agreement and his support for a two-state solution."
Kono is visiting the United Arab Emirates on Sunday before moving on to Paris.
As for the Iraqi military's declaration of an end to the fight against Islamic State, Kono said in a statement issued Sunday the country's liberation from the extremist group is an achievement made possible by the Iraqi people's unity to overcome ethnic and religious differences.
"Japan wants to support as much as possible the Iraqi people's efforts to peacefully resolve various domestic issues, based on the Constitution and constructive dialogues, and to prevent a revival of violent extremism," he said.