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14 I ORLD NEWSW Passion Islam I March 2009
Japan, Kuwait
U.S. officials hold
to host seminar
talks in Syria
Two senior U.S. officials held high-
of Muslim
level talks in Syria in another sign of
a warming of ties between the two
Jeffrey Feltman, acting assistant
secretary of state for Near Eastern
Japan and Kuwait will hold a joint Affairs, and Dan Shapiro of the White
seminar in Kuwait on March 11- House’s National Security Council
12 aimed at promoting mutual
are the first senior U.S. officials to
understanding between Japan and
visit Syria since Jan. 2005.
Muslim countries, the Japanese
“I would characterise the
Foreign Ministry announced.
discussions as very constructive.
Around 70 intellectuals, theologians
We discussed a broad range of
regional issues and the bilateral
and others from the Muslim world, as
relationship,” Feltman told reporters
well as 15 Japanese intellectuals, will
after meeting Foreign Minister Walid
take part in the seventh seminar on the
event. The seminar is expected to
dialogue among civilizations between
help promote mutual understanding Diplomats had expected the
Japan and The Islamic World, the
between Japan and Muslim U.S. delegation to raise Syria’s
ministry said in a statement.
countries through free discussions
ties with Iran, as well as Syria’s
The participants are expected to
by intellectuals from both sides, while
role in Lebanon, its influence over
hold wide-ranging discussions, under
sharing a common perception on how
the Palestinian group Hamas and
the theme of “The Harmonization of
various civilizations can co-exist and
prospects for esuming peace talks
Civilization with the Environment,”
maintain harmony notwithstanding the
between Syria and Israel.
and on the four sub themes
Ties between Syria and the
cultural and ideological diff
United States deteriorated during
“Cultural heritage and experience,”
erences between them, it said.
the George W. Bush administration
“Environmental Challenges,” “Views
The dialogue was proposed as one
after the assassination of former
for Solutions” and “Methods towards
of the pillars of Japan’s “Toward Multi-
Lebanese prime minister, Rafik al-
collaboration” at the two-day seminar,
Layered Relations with Gulf Countries” Hariri in February, 2005.
which will be hosted by Kuwait’s
strategy, announced by former Foreign Washington withdrew its
Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
Minister Yohei Kono during his visit to
ambassador to Syria and stepped
A “Poster Session,” during which
the Gulf countries in 2001.
up sanctions against Damascus.
intellectuals will introduce their
The first seminar was held
U.S. President Barack Obama,
specialist study areas and activities
in Bahrain in March 2002, with
however, has made moves to talk to
to others, and a youth exchange
subsequent seminars being held twice
Syria, but Secretary of State Hillary
workshop for young Japanese and
Clinton said in Ankara on no decision
in Tokyo and once each in Teheran,
yet has been made on returning an
Kuwaiti are also planned for the
Tunis and Riyadh. - KUNA
Jordan gets a cabinet reshuffle
Jordan’s King Abdullah II swore in
10 new members of Prime Minister
Nader Dahabi’s cabinet in a reshuffle
that included replacing the foreign and
interior ministers, the palace said.
Also in the new lineup of the 28-
strong cabinet are five ministers who
to affect foreign policy.But a senior has been a target of criticism by
changed their portfolios, according to
official told AFP “the government is conservatives, was replaced by Nasser
a palace statement.
preparing for the new political changes Joudeh, a veteran information minister
The changes were aimed at giving
in United States and Israel.” and government spokesman.
greater cohesion to the cabinet of
Pro-reformist Labor Minister Musa Maaytah, a left-leaning
Dahabi, appointed in November
Bassem al-Salem, who has strong political activist, joined the government
2007 with a mandate to accelerate
business credentials, was appointed for the first time by becoming minister
economic reforms.
finance minister, replacing Hamad of political development.
“ The government is preparing for
Kassasbeh and sending a strong The Islamists, opponents of Israel
the new political changes in United
signal to Jordan’s donors and the and U.S. policy in the Middle East,
States and Israel “
International Monetary Fund of its want an end to restrictions on political
Senior jordanian official Officials said
commitment to free market reforms. activity and say civil rights have been
they were prompted by domestic
Pro-Western reformist Foreign suppressed ever since Jordan signed
considerations and were not expected
Minister Salah al-Basheer, who a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.
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