TEHRAN, May 3 (MNA) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki issued a joint statement in Tehran on Saturday announcing that the two countries have agreed to work together in the international efforts for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

The statement said the initial joint efforts would be focused on the following areas:


1. Anti-drug trafficking and border control


— Enhancing the capacity of the Afghan border police;


2. Voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from the Islamic Republic of Iran


— Vocational training


— Assisting the return of qualified Afghans graduated from institutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran


— Humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran;


3. Support for Japanese/Iranian NGOs engaged in reconstruction of Afghanistan;


4. Cooperation in capacity building of the relevant departments of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in areas such as vocational training and agriculture.


Later on Saturday, Yasuhisa Kawamura, the deputy press secretary and deputy director general for press and public relations of the Public Diplomacy Department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, gave a press briefing to reporters in Tehran in which he described some of the details of Foreign Minister Nakasone’s official visit to Iran.


Following are some of Mr. Kawamura’s remarks: 


Nakasone stated that he believed the meeting with Mottaki was good.


The Japanese foreign minister also said he was pleased to visit Iran during the year of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Japan and noted that he has deep respect for the history and culture of Iran.


Japan wants to cooperate in efforts for the social development of Iran, he added.


However, Iran must make efforts to improve its relations with the world, he advised.


Nakasone said he spoke with Mottaki as a friend.


On the nuclear issue, Japan is concerned about Iran’s uranium enrichment program, he stated. 


He went on to say that Japan believes Iran should restore international confidence in line with UN Security Council resolutions and take a positive stance toward ties with the EU3+3 group, which is also known as the 5+1 group (France, Britain, Germany, China, Russia, and the United States).


Japan also believes that Iran should take a proactive stance to dialogue with the United States, he added.


Iran is a major regional power and should play a constructive role in efforts to establish regional peace and stability, he noted. 


The Japanese foreign minister reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to cooperation with Iran in projects for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and said Iran must play an important role in Afghanistan.


Nakasone also said he informed Iranian officials that the Japanese government is concerned about journalist Roxana Saberi because it regards her as Japanese since her mother is Japanese.


Iran recently sentenced Saberi to eight years in prison on espionage charges.


Iran regards her as an Iranian citizen since her father is Iranian.


And the United States regards her as a U.S. citizen since she was born in the U.S.


The Japanese foreign minister also discussed North Korea’s recent provocative actions with his Iranian counterpart.  


Japan advises North Korea to return to the six-party talks, he stated.


The Iranian foreign minister said Iran’s nuclear program has no connection with North Korea and added that Iran’s missiles have been designed and manufactured in Iran.       


Nakasone stated that Japan appreciated Iran’s participation in the conference of Pakistan donors in Tokyo.


Mottaki said implementation of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project could be a good way to help Pakistan.


Nakasone also brought up the issue of the Japanese citizens who were kidnapped by North Korea and said Japan would appreciate any assistance from Iran in determining their fate since Iran has diplomatic relations with North Korea and Japan does not.





News Code 33555

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