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Abe Begins Official Visit to Moscow Today, Expects Progress in Talks on Peace Treaty

April 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began his official visit to Moscow today where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. High on the agenda are a peace treaty and economic cooperation, North Korea and Syria. "There is a step forward [in developing bilateral relations]," Putin said opening a meeting with the Japanese premier. "I hope that this visit by such an extraordinary Japanese delegation will be fruitful and we will map out the next steps on joint work."

Recalling his warm reception during his visit to Japan in December 2016, Putin said,

"Japan is our good neighbor and a very promising partner. At the last meeting during the talks we agreed on enhancing relations, contacts and our joint work. We can already make a summary."

For his part Abe said,

"Today, I would like to discuss various matters, including bilateral issues and the peace treaty issue in particular, as well as ways to ensure security and the situation in the region."

Condemning the recent terrorist attack on the St. Petersburg metro, Abe extended condolences to the families of the victims, assuring them, "The Japanese people stand together with Russians."

On the question of the peace treaty Putin said:

"Of course, the issue of the peace treaty was also discussed, the solution of which should meet the strategic interests of both Russia and Japan and be accepted by the peoples of both countries. In this context, we discussed the issues of joint economic activities in the South Kurils, as we had agreed with Mr. Abe in December in Tokyo."

Ahead of the Putin-Abe meetings, Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko gave an interview to TASS, addressing the economic dimension of the Abe-Putin talks.

"We are paying particular attention to health care and municipal economy, the areas where Russian residents can directly feel advantages of our program,"

the minister said.

He said Japan will perform research work in Russia’s Voronezh city on integrated transport development along with development of areas near stations and the railway implementation program. Seko said,

"Pilot projects on implementation of smart traffic lights systems and model housing are progressing. We would like to contribute to development of even more comfortable city districts in Russia by using Japanese technologies and developments."

"Over 80 projects of Russian-Japanese cooperation were approved and formalized as documents last December," the minister said.

"Various tasks appear in the course of making them more specific, which should be resolved in the sphere of financing, identification of various procedures, etc.... It seems to me a system making it possible to overcome the difficulties arising has already been established. It is important that as many Russian residents as possible understand: Cooperation with Japan contributes to improvement of their quality of life."