Gulf Times - 26/4/2006
Qatar and Japan hold talks here today with the aim of expanding bilateral economic relations, a visiting minister told a press conference yesterday.
Japan’s vice-minister (parliamentary) for foreign affairs Kiyohiko Toyama said he would meet Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy and Industry HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah to discuss economic co-operation, including energy matters.
Given the position of Qatar as the biggest supplier of natural gas to Japan, energy will be the main topic “but I will not exclude other issues”, said Toyama, a former lecturer in political science and international relations at Miyazaki International College in Japan.
However, he added that today’s negotiations would not result in a formal treaty.
In addition to energy, talks would cover many other areas, said Toyama, who has taken a Ph D in peace studies from the University of Bradford.
He also informed that Japan is to start talks next month on signing a free trade agreement with the GCC. “The process has already begun”.
Answering questions, the vice-minister said the spiralling oil prices would have an impact on the development of countries, including the G-8, which would discuss the issue at its next meeting.
He said Japan would not completely stop its aid to the Palestinian government. The humanitarian aid would continue in a practical way. However, the help would now be only through international aid agencies, said Toyama who has taught Japanese language at Leeds Metropolitan University in Britain.
Japan stopped bilateral aid because of the refusal of the Hamas government to recognise Israel’s right of existence.