On behalf of the Japanese Government, Ambassador Oka Hiroshi awarded former minister of foreign affairs Amr Moussa the decoration of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for his outstanding contributions to strengthening relations between Japan and Egypt as well as the Arab countries.
Moussa also served as Secretary General of League of Arab States (LAS) from 2001 to 2011.
The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun is the highest decoration awarded by the Emperor of Japan to foreigners who have made outstanding achievements in relations with Japan.
“Moussa had been at the helm of Egyptian and Arab diplomacy for as many as twenty years and had greatly contributed to stability and prosperity of the region and successfully raising the voices of Arabs in the international arenas,” Ambassador Oka said.
“In fact, I am among Moussa’s admirers,” he added. “Coming back to Cairo after 40 years since studying Arabic, I am thrilled and excited by the opportunities to get acquainted with Moussa,” he said at a ceremony at his residence on Monday evening.
He added that in light of the strategic importance of the Arab region and Egypt in particular, strengthening diplomatic relations with this region has always been a priority of Japanese diplomacy.
Over the years, Oka said, Moussa has made significant contributions to advancing relations between Japan and Egypt as a Foreign Minister, including through his four time visits to Japan.
During his tenure, Japan’s major co-operation projects with Egypt have made significant progress, including the construction of the Suez Canal Peace Bridge, connecting the Asian and African continents, and the support for the Cairo University Pediatric Hospital (CUSPH) to improve maternal and child health care.
Oka said that Moussa, during his time as LAS Secretary General, also supported Japan’s diplomatic approach to the Arab region as a good partner.
In 2009, the ambassador said, Moussa had opened a new horizon for Japan-Arab co-operation by devoting himself to the establishment of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum.
It has been held five times, and preparations are underway for the sixth forum to be held in Japan next year.
For his part, Moussa expressed his happiness with the award. He said that Egyptian and Japanese ministers are co-operating in not only developing the bilateral ties but also in regional and international issues, mentioning the Palestinian issue.
Moussa added that the Middle East is facing challenges exacerbated by misguided policies. The Palestinian question and the military occupation of Palestinian territories remain at the heart of these challenges.
“Recent events have starkly demonstrated the fallacy of neglecting this fundamental issue or allowing the military occupation to continue and fester,” he said.
“I urge for a deeper commitment from Japan, a nation known for its wisdom and high diplomacy, in the collective endeavour to prioritise the establishment of a viable Palestinian state,” Moussa added.
He said that this solution not only paves the way for sustainable regional peace but also stands as a robust contribution to global peace and security.
LAS Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit, ministers and ambassadors attended the event.