Kishida, Saudi Leader Agree to Establish Strategic Dialogue

Saudi Press Agency/Handout via Reuters
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, meets with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 16.

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman agreed on Sunday night to establish a strategic dialogue at the foreign ministerial level to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties, in a meeting in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia.

After the meeting, Kishida said to reporters: “Difficult issues remain in the Middle East, including the Palestinian problem and Iran’s nuclear-related activities. Japan will play a role in easing tensions and stabilizing the situation.”

Prior to his meeting with the crown prince, Kishida met in Jeddah with Jasem Al-Budaiwi, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which has six member countries in the Persian Gulf region. Kishida confirmed the need to hold regular meetings of foreign ministers with the GCC and resume negotiations on a free trade agreement that is hoped to be concluded by the end of 2024.