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Koizumi hopes Japan, Arab nations can cooperate on Iraq.

WACO, Texas, May 22 Kyodo

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday he hopes Japan and Arab nations can cooperate in helping to rehabilitate and reconstruct postwar Iraq.

''Japan intends to support the rebuilding of Iraq, and there are things it can do alone as well as things it can do together with Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia,'' Koizumi said on a government plane flying from Tokyo to Texas.

Koizumi arrived here for two days of talks with U.S. President George W. Bush at his private ranch in Crawford. On Friday, Koizumi will leave for a trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

''I also want to talk with Egypt's President (Hosni) Mubarak and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah about further deepening dialogue and exchanges between Japan and Arab countries,'' Koizumi said. ''I want to make this (visit) to be an opportunity for closer dialogue.''

On the scope of Japan's contributions to the rebuilding of Iraq, Koizumi said the government will think about what it can do through consultations with the United States and other related countries as well as consider whether there is a need for new legislation to carry out some of its support activities such as dispatching the Self-Defense Forces.

Koizumi voiced his readiness to consider the new law following the U.N. Security Council's adoption of a resolution Thursday to lift a 13-year economic embargo and promote reconstruction of Iraq.

On Saturday in Cairo, Koizumi is expected to propose to Egyptian President Mubarak a joint project Japan is considering carrying out with Egypt to provide medical support to Iraq as part of efforts to help it rebuild following the U.S.-led war there.

On Sunday, he will inspect Cairo University Pediatric Hospital, built in the early 1980s using Japanese government funds, and then make a stop in Riyadh later in the day to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

The prime minister's talks with the two leaders will also cover the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and discuss ways to move forward the Middle East peace process, Japanese officials said.

Koizumi is scheduled to head back to Japan on Sunday night.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:May 27, 2003
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