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Vladimir Putin discusses with Shinzo Abe peace treaty issue, bilateral cooperation

April 30, 2013, 11:13 UTC+3

The parties agreed to establish bilateral economic ties, in particular, in the sphere of the fuel and energy sector

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who arrived in Moscow on the first official visit over the past 10 years and resumed talks with him on a peace treaty. The parties agreed to establish bilateral economic ties, in particular, in the sphere of the fuel and energy sector.

Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe resumed talks on a peace treaty, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper writes. It is abnormal that it does not exist, they said. But not everyone was pleased: Putin even had to give a sharp rebuke to the Japanese journalist who was unhappy with the fact that Russia develops the Kuril Islands.

The first in 10 years official visit of the Japanese prime minister to Russia can be called a success. “I would like to have a heart-to-heart exchange of views with you, without haste and in a relaxed atmosphere,” Abe told Putin. After the talks he admitted to reporters that he has managed to establish a relationship of trust.

The sides agreed to intensify the work on all tracks, including on the peace treaty, the Russian president stressed. It is necessary to make this process “not irritating, but helpful to bilateral contacts,” he said. And the best tool for solving the problem is the bilateral economic ties, Putin said.

Therefore, the focus was made on the development of business cooperation, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper notes. Last year, the bilateral trade volume reached 32 billion US dollars, the amount of accumulated investment from Japan is nearly 11 billion US dollars, but that is not enough, said Putin. Abe agrees with him. The Russian president expects that the number of mutually beneficial projects will grow, and they will be supported by a new fund - the Russian-Japanese investment platform with a capital of one billion US dollars. The strategic sphere of cooperation is the fuel and energy sector. “Russia is a reliable supplier of energy resources to Japan,” Putin stated. The country has enough hydrocarbons to meet the growing needs of the Japanese economy not at the expense of either the domestic market or the traditional partners.

The main thing that overshadows the Russian-Japanese relations is the fact that the two countries are still formally at war, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper writes - because the peace treaty between the two powers after World War Two has never been signed. The Japanese side has refused to do this, claiming first the South Kurils - four islands: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai. Japan considers them its own territory. “President Putin and I have agreed that the situation in which 67 years after the war a peace treaty is not concluded, is abnormal,” said Abe. “These negotiations have been at a standstill, but now we both have expressed determination, overcoming differences, to conclude the treaty in a mutually acceptable form. I will personally exert every effort to achieve this.” However, Abe did not say how exactly this mutually acceptable form will be achieved, that is, who will for the sake of peace agree to give up all claims to the Kuril Islands. But against the background of a recent absence of negotiations on this matter at all, this agreement already is seen as a breakthrough.

The sides signed nine documents after the talks, the RBC Daily notes. Among them - the intergovernmental agreement on the establishment and operation of cultural centres, memoranda on cooperation in the field of transport, energy, the exchange of financial intelligence information on money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Russian president stated that Russians, of which the Russian authorities must take care of reside in the Kuril Islands, writes the Izvestia daily.

“The official position of Russia on the conclusion of a peace treaty is well known,” he concluded. “But today we have gathered not for this, but for the resumption of negotiations and searching for solutions.”

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov after talks admitted to the Izvestia newspaper that the Japanese prime minister had a constructive and friendly attitude at the talks. So Russia hopes that the negotiating process will not be dragged out as well.





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