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Aqaba process pivotal to war on terror — Japanese official

By Mohammad Ghazal - Dec 16,2018 - Last updated at Dec 16,2018

AMMAN — The Aqaba process plays a pivotal role in consolidating efforts to combat extremism and terrorism across the world, a Japanese official said on Friday.

“The Aqaba process is a very carefully and well-studied initiative by His Majesty King Abdullah… We in Japan very much value it, as it plays a key role in helping combat extremism in our region and across Asia,” Natsuko Sakata, assistant press secretary and director of the international press division at Japan’s foreign ministry, said at a meeting Friday.

“Terrorism can affect any place in the world and we ourselves feel the effect of extremism in Asia,” Sakata said, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono launched the strategic dialogue meetings between the two countries.

The Aqaba Process is a series of international meetings launched by King Abdullah in 2015 to bolster security and military cooperation, coordination and exchange of expertise among regional and international partners to counter terrorism.

Organised with a regional focus for each round, the meetings foster discussions by experts on security challenges. The process is part of King Abdullah’s vision to step up global cooperation in countering terrorism and violent extremism, based on close coordination and consultations that cover military, security and ideological aspects.

The Japanese official said talks between the two ministers also touched on a $300-million loan from Japan to Jordan, a memorandum of understanding for which was signed during the King’s recent visit to Japan.

“The stability of Jordan is very critical to the stability of the region, and the loan is part of our continued support to the stability of the Kingdom... We will continue to support Jordan at all levels due to its vital role,” Sakata said.

According to some Japanese officials, the loan’s first disbursement, which was already approved by Japan, will be received by Jordan “soon”.

On the launch of the strategic dialogue between Jordan and Japan, Sakata said the frequency of the meetings would be intensified in the future.

“The strategic dialogue will cover bilateral ties in various arenas and issues of mutual concern including regional developments,” she said.

During the meeting, she also reiterated Japan’s commitment to supporting UNRWA and the two-state solution.

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