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Tue 14 Jan 2020 05:40 PM

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Japan's PM Shinzo Abe completes Gulf tour in Oman

Abe and new Oman ruler Haitham bin Tareq agree to cooperate for regional stability and to develop their bilateral relations

Japan's PM Shinzo Abe completes Gulf tour in Oman

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Oman's new sultan Tuesday on his last leg of a Gulf tour amid regional tensions after the US killing of a top Iranian general.

Abe and Haitham bin Tareq, who took office last week following the death of long-serving Sultan Qaboos, agreed to cooperate for regional stability and to develop their bilateral relations, said a Japanese foreign ministry statement.

Abe also offered his condolences for the death of Sultan Qaboos, who died Friday aged 79.

Under Qaboos, Muscat acted as a regional and international go-between, including during a discreet dialogue between Tehran and Washington that led to a 2015 deal over Iran's nuclear programme.

US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018, reimposing sanctions and a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Tehran.

Abe's Gulf trip had initially been thrown into doubt after the US on January 3 killed the head of Iran's Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani.

Iran responded by launching a barrage of missiles at bases hosting American troops in Iraq.

But the Japanese premier's five-day tour went ahead, including talks with top officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In a meeting Sunday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abe warned that military conflict with Iran would have an impact on global peace and stability, said Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Masato Ohtaka.

Tokyo has walked a fine line in balancing its key alliance with Washington and its longstanding relations and interests with Tehran.

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