Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have confirmed their two nations will continue peace treaty negotiations based on the same line taken by Putin and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.
During a 15-minute telephone conversation Monday, Koizumi said he wants to move forward both the peace treaty talks and the bilateral economic and trade relations based on what Mori and Putin agreed to during their various meetings, according to a Foreign Ministry official.
A peace treaty to officially end the state of war between the two nations has yet to be signed due to a territorial row over a group of Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.
Mori and Putin confirmed during a meeting in March the validity of a 1956 bilateral pact that stipulated the return to Japan of Shikotan Island and the Habomai islets. Kunashiri and Etorofu are the remaining two disputed isles.
Putin agreed that the two countries should follow the path that has been put in place and enhance economic relations and continue working on a peace treaty, the ministry official said.
On Koizumi’s comment that he hopes to meet Putin at an early date, the president replied that he will meet the prime minister in July, during the Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Italy, the official said.
This was taken to indicate that a bilateral meeting might take place on the sidelines of the G8 meeting.
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