World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia considers Japan as its neighbor and an important partner in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday, according to an official Kremlin statement.
In remarks made at the start of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Russia’s Sochi city, Putin noted that there were certain issues in the agenda of both countries that required special attention.
He said Abe’s visit was an opportunity to work together on issues of mutual interest.
"Japan is not only Russia’s neighbor but also our very important partner in Asia Pacific," Putin said.
Abe, for his part, said he would like to have a frank exchange of opinions on bilateral political issues, including the signing of a peace treaty and issues pertaining to diplomacy, economy and culture as well as current international issues facing Japan, Russia and the rest of the world.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the meeting: “Putin and Abe confirmed a willingness to develop high-profile political dialogue.
"The peace treaty was also among the agenda."
Lavrov added that the next phase of negotiations would be carried out in June by deputy foreign ministers of the two countries.