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Putin, Abe agree on joint economic activities on Kuril Islands

December 15, 2016, 15:39 UTC+3

The sides have also discussed the peace treaty

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© Mikhail Klementiev/Russia's presidential press-service/TASS

NAGATO /Japan/, December 15. /TASS/. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have discussed the details of bilateral document concerning the consultations on joint economic activities on the four South Kuril Islands, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said.

According to him, the relevant statement is scheduled to be published on December 16.

Abe told reporters in Nagato We had a direct discussion on the issues of free visits (to the South Kuril Islands) for former citizens of the islands, joint economic activity as part of a special system on the four islands and also the issue of a peace treaty."

"As for global issues, we have discussed the importance of Russia’s meaningful role, we have also touched upon the possibility of solving various issues together," Abe said at a press conference in the city of Nagato, which was broadcast live by the Japanese TV.Ushakov added that the document mentioned such spheres as fishing, tourism, medicine, environmental protection as well as some others. When asked if these activities will be based on Russia’s legislation, Ushakov said: "Of course, since it is Russia’s territory."

"Experts have been working on the documents for several weeks but still failed to draw up an agreement that would suit both countries so the leaders had to tackle the issue. It took them about 40 minutes to finally agree on the text that will be published tomorrow," the Russian presidential aide said.

"According to the document, the two countries’ experts should start detailed consultations on the spheres and conditions of joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands," Ushakov elaborated.Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the middle of last century. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the Southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is challenged by Japan. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war, however no peace treaty has been signed until now.

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