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Putin, Abe to discuss international issues, Kuril Islands problem, bilateral cooperation

May 06, 10:11 UTC+3 SOCHI
The talks between Putin and Abe are due to begin in the middle of the day with a meeting in a narrow format, then a tete-a-tete is expected
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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS, archive

SOCHI, May 6. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a meeting on Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who will arrive in Sochi with a working visit. The Kremlin expects the agreements reached earlier on the comprehensive development of bilateral ties to be confirmed following the talks.

The Japanese premier last visited Russia in February 2014 when he attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. To date, Putin and Abe met 12 times, mostly in the framework of international forums.

The talks between Putin and Abe are due to begin in the middle of the day with a meeting in a narrow format, then a tete-a-tete is expected and after that - a working lunch with the participation of the delegations. Neither signing any document no press briefing are planned after the meeting.

Kuril Islands and peace treaty

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov has confirmed talking to reporters that the Kuril Islands issue and the problem of concluding a peace treaty associated with it will be discussed in Sochi, especially since October will mark 60 years since the signing of the 1956 joint declaration on the termination of the state of war between the USSR and Japan. According to the Kremlin’s representative, to make progress on resolving this territorial dispute "it is necessary to create a positive, constructive atmosphere in bilateral relations." "Our stance boils down to the fact that this issue is complex and multifaceted and can only be resolved under the terms and conditions that are suitable for both sides. These issues can be resolved only by establishing deeper partnership between our countries, really broad cooperation in the economic, scientific, technical and cultural areas and active cooperation in the international arena," Ushakov said. He recalled that the dialogue between the two countries on this issue is maintained between the foreign ministries, and "to reach a mutually acceptable settlement, more than one meeting and one round of consultations are required."

Syria and other international problems

The Kremlin notes that the talks with the Russian leader are important for Abe ahead of the meeting of the G7 leaders to be held in Japan in late May. "During this summit crucial international issues will be discussed as well, including the Syrian settlement. Of course, it is very important for the Japanese premier to synchronize watches with the Russian leader in this context," Ushakov said, adding that Ukraine, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, cooperation within the UN and other issues will be discussed at the meeting.

The Russian side is ready to discuss the sanctions issue but will not raise it itself. "We did not initiate the imposition of sanctions, and we are not asking for their termination," Ushakov noted. He also said that Tokyo was not satisfied with the situation when other G7 members maintain contacts with Russia at various levels. "Japan too has its own interests in the Russian direction, and all the issues associated with this will be discussed (at the talks)," the Russian presidential aide said.

Invitation to Japan

The talks in Sochi can clarify the issue of the Russian leader’s possible visit to Japan, which was repeatedly postponed since 2013 on Tokyo’s initiative. "There are plenty of media reports saying the premier will be able to again renew the invitation to Putin to come to Japan. We are ready for that and are waiting for specific dates of such a visit, because we believe that it is necessary to continue dialogue with Japan at the highest political level," the Russian presidential aide said.

For its part, the Russian side will offer the Japanese prime minister to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on September 2-3. In addition to that, the Russian and Japanese leaders have other good opportunities for working contacts during the current year, in particular, at the G20 summit in China’s Hangzhou on September 4-5 and the APEC summit in Peru in November.

View from Japanese perspective

Shinzo Abe confirmed on the eve of his arrival in Sochi that he would like the Russian leader to pay a visit to Japan "at the most appropriate time for this." The Japanese premier is determined to maintain close and open dialogue Putin on a wide range of issues, including Ukraine, Syria and the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia).

Concerning the territorial issue between the two countries, Abe noted that "this problem could be only solved if there were regular and fruitful contacts between the two countries’ leaders."

"I am going to Russia, with which I want to build the relations that would make it possible for us to cope with various international problems together," he said.

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