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Japan PM Pledges Billions to Middle East

  • VOA News

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab arrive at a joint meeting of the Japan-Egypt business committee in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab arrive at a joint meeting of the Japan-Egypt business committee in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged $2.5 billion in non-military aid to countries in the Middle East, as he began a regional tour that takes him to Egypt and nearby countries.

Speaking in Cairo Saturday, the Japanese leader also promised $200 million in non-military assistance to countries that have been affected by the Islamic State militants' bloody expansion in the region.

Speaking to a group of Japanese and Egyptian government officials and business leaders, Abe said the funds were intended to go to humanitarian assistance and infrastructure development, intended for the entire region.

"Should we leave terrorism or weapons of mass destruction to spread in this region, the loss imparted upon the international community would be immeasurable," said Abe.

Abe will also visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in support of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have been stalled for some time.

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