The Kremlin does not expect immediate progress in settling the Kuril Islands issue after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet on May 6.
"One can easily surmise that this theme will be touched upon in this or that fashion. But expecting instant progress will be hardly possible, because this is a rather sensitive issue. It requires scrupulous, long and systematic efforts at the level of experts," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told the media.
However, Moscow hopes that a meeting between Putin and Abe will contribute to creating a good and constructive atmosphere in relations between Russia and Japan.
"We hope that Friday’s contacts with Prime Minister Abe will contribute to shaping a working and constructive atmosphere in bilateral relations, which, in turn, will make possible the development and progress in the expert work (on the Kuril Islands)," Peskov said.
The Japanese prime minister earlier said that he was determined to continue talks with Russia to resolve the territorial issue and conclude a peace treaty sought by the two sides. "Relying on the basic policy (aimed at) solving the problem of the ownership of four (southern Kuril) islands and concluding a peace treaty, I want to push ahead with the negotiations and solve this problem," Abe said.
On May 6, Abe will fly to Sochi where his meeting with Putin is due to be held. The Japanese Cabinet earlier said that "the entire range of the Japanese-Russian relations, including the peace treaty issue," would be discussed in Russia, as well as a number of international issues.
The Kremlin press service has confirmed that "during the forthcoming talks it is planned to discuss the current state and the prospects of bilateral relations in trade, economy and humanitarian areas." The two sides are also expected to exchange views on the topical international issues. Abe will be in Russia with a visit at the invitation of the Russian leader.
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 disputed by Japan.
First published by TASS.
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