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Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi has received a letter from acting Russian President Vladimir Putin that says Russia will respect a series of previous agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders to enhance their partnership, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Putin’s remark may help Tokyo assess Moscow’s stance toward their peace-treaty negotiations since former Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned on New Year’s Eve and appointed Putin as his successor. In the letter, which was forwarded by the Russian Embassy in Tokyo on Monday evening, Putin stressed that Russia will strive to build a “creative partnership” with Japan by seeking improved relations in various fields, as Yeltsin and Obuchi agreed in the Nov. 1998 Moscow declaration, the ministry said. Such efforts will be made “in respect for a series of bilateral agreements that have been reached so far at the top level,” the ministry quoted the letter as saying. In addition to the Moscow declaration, such top-level agreements are believed to include the Tokyo declaration of 1993, the 1997 Krasnoyarsk agreement and the Kawana agreement of 1998. Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said that his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, will visit Japan from Feb. 10 to 13 to hold talks over a series of concerns that have prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a peace treaty by the end of 2000. Kono and Ivanov are scheduled to hold talks Feb. 11 in their capacities as foreign ministers and as joint chairmen of a peace treaty committee, Kono said. “During our talks, Japan will focus on assessing Russia’s position on its relations with Japan after former Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned (on New Year’s Eve) and Vladimir Putin succeeded him as acting president,” Kono said.

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