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Lavrov: Putin and Abe show determination for dialogue in all directions

May 06, 2016, 19:52 UTC+3

Russia-Japan consultations on peace treaty will be held in June 2016 at the level of deputy foreign ministers

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

SOCHI, May 6 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed that their countries were ready to build up bilateral relations in all directions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the two leaders’ meeting.

"The negotiations showed the determination of the Russian president and the Japanese prime minister to search for opportunities to build up relations in all directions," he said.

"Priority tasks have been set and readiness to develop an intensive dialogue, including at the summit level, has been confirmed," the Russian foreign minister stressed.

Lavrov said that the leaders had had an opportunity to consider the implementation of the previously signed joint statement on development of partnership between Russia and Japan on Friday. "Today, the leaders had a chance to discuss in detail how it [the statement] had been implemented in all spheres: political, trade, economic, investment and humanitarian," Lavrov said.

According to him, it was Abe’s first full-format visit to Russia since 2013.

Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe discussed the details and dates of the Russian president’s visit to Japan.

"The sides confirmed readiness to develop an intensive political dialogue, including at the summit level. Our leaders will have several opportunities this year on the sidelines of various international organizations such as the G20 and APEC. This kind of understanding was shown today," the Russian foreign minister said.

"Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed his invitation to President Vladimir Putin [to visit Japan- TASS]. The president and the premier discussed the details of this invitation, including concrete dates. We are going to announce them in Moscow and Tokyo as soon as the discussion is over," Lavrov stressed.

Vladimir Putin has invited the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe to join the 2nd Eastern Economic Forum that will be held in Vladivostok on September 2 and September 3.

"The president invited the Prime Minister to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum on September 2 and September 3 in Vladivostok," he said. "We hope the proposal will be scrutinized in a fruitful manner."

The 2nd Eastern Economic Forum will be held on the campus of Russia’s Federal Far-Eastern University on the Isle of Russky off the coast of Vladivostok. Its organizers expect the arrival of no less than 3,500 business executives, state officials, business experts, Russian lawmakers, federal agency officials, and regional organizations.

The first economic forum was held in Vladivostok last September. It saw the signing of more than 80 large investment projects totaling over 1.3 billion rubles.

Russia, Japan may resume contacts of foreign, defense ministers in two-plus-two format

According to the foreign minister, Russia and Japan may resume contacts between foreign and defense ministers in the two-plus-two format.

"We recalled that a two-plus-two format was set up once in the past for the Russian and Japanese foreign and defense ministers," the sides said.

"They also stated that this was a useful format and its work could be resumed along with the consolidation of other formats," Lavrov said.

"This format may show its especial usefulness in the wake of the threats to security existing in Asia and the Pacific today and particularly in North-East Asia," he said. "We hope our Japanese partners and counterparts have heard us."

"The two leaders pointed very efficient collaboration between the Russian and Japanese border control forces," Lavrov went on. "We hope our Japanese neighbors will take part in the exercises on fighting with contraband and other infractions existing in the Pacific. It will be held in July and August

"We expect continuation of the contacts between the (Russian and Japanese) military," he said. "I think all this adds to the vault of joint trust-building and partnership efforts - something the Russian President and the Japanese Prime Minister agreed on in April 2013 by signing a joint statement."

Russia-Japan consultations on peace treaty

Lavrov has also pointed out that Russia-Japan consultations on peace treaty will be held in June 2016 at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

"The sides discussed the problem of the peace treaty and supported the steps being taken by the foreign ministries under the previous instructions from the Russian president and Japanese prime minister," he said. "Another round of consultations at the level of deputy foreign ministers on issues of the peace treaty will be held in June."

"In focus were the issues the leaders want to be referred to these consultations," he noted.

When asked whether there is any progress on the Japanese part concerning territorial claims, the Russian top diplomat once again confirmed that Russia and Japan have agreed to continue consultation on the peace treaty.

Russia and Japan have consistently held talks at the highest level to fully mend bilateral relations and sign a peace treaty. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II all Kuril Islands were incorporated into the USSR. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and the Habomai Islands is challenged by Japan.

Japan’s participation in anti-contraband drills in Pacific

According to the Russian top diplomat, Moscow hopes Japan will take part in anti-contraband drills in the Pacific.

"We also agreed today that cooperation between the two countries’ border guards is very good," he said. "We hope our Japanese neighbors will take part in anti-contraband drills in the Pacific in July-August this year."

Japan’s involvement in humanitarian task force in Syria

Russia has also supported Japan’s involvement in the task force on humanitarian issues in Syria, Lavrov went on to say.

"The sides spoke about Syria. Russia supported Japan’s involvement in the task force on humanitarian issues which was set up by the International Syria Support Group. We believe it is a very useful channel of our cooperation," Lavrov said after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Putin and Abe "spoke about our cooperation at the UN Security Council where Japan is a non-permanent member now," Lavrov said. "Special attention has been drawn to the need to join efforts of the whole international community to battle terrorism."

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