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UPDATED: 08:09, April 10, 2007
Japan pledges to continue support Iraq's reconstruction
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Monday that Japan will continue to support reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Kyodo News reported.

Abe said that Iraq's stability is essential for the Middle East, and Japan would continue to fully support its rebuilding efforts.

"Iraq is in a new era and facing a lot of new challenges, but we would like to overcome the difficulties in order to realize to the fullest the potential that our country possesses," al-Maliki was quoted as saying.

According to Japan's foreign ministry, the two leaders agreed on new yen loans of a maximum of 57.7 billion yen (approximately 510 million U.S. dollars) by Japan to support waterworks projects in Basra and reconstruction of power supplies in Kurdish areas of Iraq.

The two leaders also agreed to further build a "long-term strategic partnership" to strengthen political and economic ties.

Al-Maliki also met with Emperor Akihito and Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma earlier in the day.

The Iraqi prime minister is in Japan on a four-day visit from Sunday.

Source: Xinhua

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