Peres meets Abe in Tokyo
Photo: Reuters
Japan to invest in joint Mideast Jericho project
Delegates from Israel, Palestinian Authority and Jordan meet in Tokyo to discuss establishment of new agricultural-industrial zone near Jericho. Japan pledges $100 million for project
The Japanese government will invest up to $100 million in establishing an agricultural-industrial complex on both sides of the Jordan River in the Jericho area. The project will be a joint venture of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.


Delegates from the three neighboring countries met Wednesday in Tokyo to discuss the project with their hosts. The meeting was attended by Vice Premier Shimon Peres, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and the Jordanian king's special representative Omar Kasrawi.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed hope that the new initiative would promote the "valley of Peace" project, as well as peace in the Middle East.


At the opening of the meeting, Abe declared that his country was interested in playing an active role in the various projects planned for the region, primarily the establishment of an agricultural industrial area in Jericho with an investment of $100 million.


The new industrial area will be based on new advanced agricultural technologies and on opening new markets, building a new airport in Jordan for exporting produce, and training thousands of laborers in modern cultivation methods.


The Japanese prime minister added that he intends to call on private Japanese firms to join the project's economic ventures and participate in future bids, which will be open to international companies.


The Japanese leader was invited by the representatives to visit the region and tour the area designated for the project.


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