MADABA, JORDAN – Ministers from Japan, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan met in the Jordanian city of Madaba on Sunday to discuss a Japanese economic development initiative for Middle East peace.
The meeting provided a rare opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian officials to get together at a time when peace talks are stalled.
“It was very significant that ministers from the four parties met at a time when parties concerned face difficulties promoting dialogue,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters after chairing Sunday’s meeting.
The four parties last held a ministerial meeting to discuss the Japanese initiative, Corridor for Peace and Prosperity, in September 2016.
At Sunday’s meeting, Kono was joined by Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki and Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Emad Najib Fakhouri.
The Japanese initiative, first put forward by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in July 2006, is designed to promote Palestinian economic independence through cooperation by the four parties.
A total of 12 Palestinian companies have been operating at an agro-industrial park in the West Bank town of Jericho, a core project under the initiative.
At Sunday’s meeting, the participants agreed to build a road between the park and Jordan.