Russia, Japan pledge to speed up peace treaty talks

Moscow, April 29 (IANS) Russia and Japan have pledged to speed up talks on reaching a peace treaty for the first time since the end of World War II, the leaders of the two countries said Monday, reported Xinhua.

Following talks with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Vladimir Putin told reporters that they’ve instructed the foreign ministers of the two countries to “intensify contacts for devising a mutually acceptable way of settling the problem” of the peace treaty.

Still, Putin ruled out the possibility of a quick settlement.

“We are to continue to work on that issue, complicated but important for both sides,” the president said.

Abe also confirmed that Tokyo and Moscow have agreed to speed up their peace talks.

The lack of a treaty for nearly 68 years since the end of World War II has been “abnormal,” Abe said. He said that “sufficiently great differences remain” concerning the two countries’ territorial issues.

“These talks should be conducted without haste,” Abe said.

Tokyo and Moscow are in a disagreement over four small islands called the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan. The dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty since the end of the war.

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