• Kyodo

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The Abe administration praised the peace deal struck Thursday between Ukraine and its eastern rebels, expressing hope that parties will uphold it.

“We welcome the cease-fire” starting Sunday between the Ukraine government and pro-Moscow rebels, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Friday. “We expect steady implementation of the cease-fire and de-escalation of the situation.”

Kishida said Japan continues to “urge all parties involved to make efforts for peaceful settlement” of the crisis.

Brokered by France and Germany, the deal struck by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin features a cease-fire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and a special status for areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Asked if the deal will affect a visit by Kishida to Russia to pave the way for a planned trip to Japan by Putin this year, the foreign minister said he “will consider it while comprehensively taking into account factors such as how the cease-fire deal will be implemented.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the timing of a Japan trip by Putin has not yet been decided.

The two governments are expected to start negotiations from now, Suga said at a separate news conference.

In a meeting Nov. 9 in Beijing, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Putin agreed to start preparations for a visit to Japan by Putin at “an appropriate time next year.”

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