Jerusalem, August 25, 2003

FM Shalom begins visit to Japan
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom commenced his official visit to Japan today, marking the first visit of this level in six years.

The main focus of the visit will be the Iranian issue. To this end, the Foreign Minister of Iran Kamal Kharrazi will be arriving in Japan in the near future.

On the September 8, 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will convene its annual general conference in Vienna, Austria. During the conference, member states are slated to determine whether Iran is meeting inspection standards with regard to nuclear issues.

Foreign Minister Shalom launched an international campaign among the IAEA’s 35 member states, Japan being an influential member. The Foreign Minister is slated to ask that Japan condition its economic cooperation with Iran on Iran’s compliance with IAEA standards.

Before his departure to Japan, Foreign Minister Shalom met with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Caldra Cardinal and discussed with him the Iranian issue.

Meanwhile, on September 5, 2003, the EU foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss Foreign Minister Shaloms request that Hamas be added to the list of terrorist organizations without differentiating between its military and social wings. Addition to the list would significantly decrease the flow of funds to the Hamas terrorist organization.