Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka and her Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov agreed Wednesday to continue working on peace treaty negotiations and discuss the matter during the Group of Eight meeting of foreign ministers in Rome in July.

In their first telephone discussion since Tanaka took office in April, Ivanov said Russian President Vladimir Putin considers relations with Japan very important and that Russia is ready to “seriously work on” the peace treaty talks, a Foreign Ministry official said.

“There is no need to say how difficult the (territorial) problem is, but we need to make an effort to solve the problem,” Ivanov was quoted as saying.

Ivanov added that they would discuss developing bilateral relations in detail at the time of the G8 meeting, the official said.

Tanaka replied that Japan also wants to proceed with peace treaty talks and enhance economic ties.

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