Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi reiterated, Friday, that his country does not recognize the Sahara as a state, insisting that this position remains unchanged.
He also expressed regret over Morocco’s absence from the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) held last weekend in Tunis.
This came in a statement issued by the Japanese Foreign Ministry following talks by videoconference that Mr. Hayashihad had Friday with his Moroccan peer, Nasser Bourita.
The head of Japanese diplomacy stressed that his country’s position, which does not recognize the Sahara as a state, remains “unchanged” and that this position was clearly expressed during the TICAD 8 summit.
He also expressed regret that Morocco did not participate in TICAD 8.
The two FMs stressed that TICAD is an important forum to discuss development in Africa and that the two countries will continue their cooperation to achieve this goal, the Japanese Foreign Ministry underlined.
A statement issued by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said that the Japanese FM reiterated his country’s regret regarding the absence of Morocco, which he described as an “essential partner.”
The Japanese official confirmed again that Japan did not invite the puppet entity to the TICAD 8 Summit and had called on Tunisia to take all necessary measures in this regard.
This “unequivocal” position was reiterated at the press conference he held in Tokyo, the Japanese FM said.
Renewing his thanks for Morocco’s understanding of Japan’s position, Mr. Hayashi expressed his country’s keenness to continue working with Morocco within the framework of TICAD.
For his part, Mr. Bourita recalled that TICAD is a forum for partnership and development that must be protected from political maneuvers hatched by some known parties, paying tribute to the firm and consistent position shown by the Japanese delegation in Tunis.
During their talks, the two officials also discussed ways of bolstering economic relations that are still below the potential, capabilities and willingness of both countries.
In this connection, they agreed to undertake the necessary actions to strengthen the already extensive legal arsenal framing bilateral cooperation, which was marked this year by the entry into force of two key agreements on investment and double taxation.
Cooperation in the field of food security and particularly in the sector of phosphates and fertilizers was also the focus of talks between the two ministers.
In this regard, it was agreed to raise the relationship in this area to a higher level beyond that of a simple client-supplier relationship.
The two officials welcomed the level and quality of tripartite cooperation programs implemented by the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the benefit of African partner countries.
They also agreed to consider the possibility of expanding this cooperation to new countries and in other promising sectors, to be in line with the priority importance given by Morocco to Africa and South-South Cooperation, and Japan’s interest in fostering its relations with the Continent.