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Abe vows support for Kosovo, opening of diplomatic office planned

  • September 13, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 10:01 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that Japan will continue to support the development of Kosovo, a young state seeking to join the European Union, as he expressed hope to deepen economic ties.

 

In a meeting with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, Abe unveiled a plan to open a diplomatic office in the country in January, noting that exchanges between the two countries have increased markedly over the past decade since diplomatic ties were established in 2009.

 

“Japan will continue to support Kosovo’s economic and social reform,” Abe said during a joint press appearance with Thaci at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.

 

“I’m determined to work closely with President Thaci to make our bilateral ties more robust and aim for peace and stability in the Western Balkans,” Abe said.

 

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 after a conflict that ended with NATO intervention. Japan recognized Kosovo in 2008.

 

Thaci, on his first visit to Japan as president, said the two countries can do more to strengthen economic cooperation. He also welcomed Tokyo’s increased presence.

 

“It is very welcoming news that Japan is going to increase its presence in Southeast Europe and the Western Balkans,” he said standing next to Abe.

 

Earlier in the day, Japanese Emperor Naruhito met with the president and talked about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next year, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

 

Abe also touched on the Olympics and wished athletes from Kosovo good luck. Thaci said in response he is looking forward to the participation of his country’s judo athletes.

 

“I know it’s not going to be easy at all, competing with Japanese athletes, especially in judo. But sport is sport,” Thaci said.

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