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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

    Shinzo Abe Pledges $200 Mln to Countries Fighting Against Islamic State

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    Japanese PM is on a week-long tour of the Middle East, a key source of Japan's energy needs.

    MOSCOW/CAIRO, January 17 (Sputnik) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to provide around $200 million in assistance to countries that are currently battling the Islamic State (IS) militant group, Al-Yaum as-Sabia reported Saturday.

    When speaking during his visit to Cairo, Abe said that “the world would suffer if terrorism spreads across the Arab world”.

    "Japanese Prime Minister has also stated that during his upcoming visit to Palestine and Oman he will announce a decision to provide a big package of aid to Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as well as a decision to allocate $200 million in assistance to countries battling IS so that they could counter terrorism and stop it," Al-Yaum as-Sabia said.

    Abe arrived in Egypt on Friday for the beginning of a week-long tour of the Middle East, taking in visits to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. The PM is being accompanied by scores of representatives from Japanese companies on the trip as well as experts in finance, manufacturing and food production, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, adding that Abe's speech in Egypt on Saturday is to stress Japan's "new strategy for a more active hand in the Middle East."

    As well as the $200 million pledge of non-military assistance in the form of infrastructure development and humanitarian aid to help countries fighting IS, the Japanese PM will also present a 10 billion yen loan to Jordan for infrastructure projects, and meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to give a 40 billion yen ($340 million) infrastructure loan package. "These are intended to contribute to Egypt's development, and by extension, to widening the foundation for stability across the entire region." Abe told Reuters.

    The aid packages are part of a $2.5 billion plan for non-military assistance to the region, and follow the $2.2 billion Japan pledged to the Middle East two years ago, Reuters reported. "It goes without saying that the stability of the Middle East is the foundation for peace and prosperity for the world, and of course for Japan," declared Abe in his speech on Saturday.

    Japan, lacking in natural resources, is dependent on imports for 96 percent of its energy supply, of which oil comprises 50 percent. The country imports 90 percent of its oil from the politically unstable Middle East, large parts of which have fallen under IS control over the past year.

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