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Published:October 19th, 2007 07:06 EST
Russian MFA Spokesman Mikhail Kamynin Interview with RIA Novosti on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian MFA Spokesman Mikhail Kamynin Interview with RIA Novosti on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov"s Upcoming Visit to Japan

By SOP newswire

Question: How do you assess the present state of Russian-Japanese relations in the run-up of the visit to be paid next week by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Tokyo?

Answer: Russian-Japanese relations in the last few years have been marked by an intensive political dialogue at various levels and by the two countries` striving for closer approaches to tackling many international and regional problems. We regard the development and strengthening of our engagement with Japan in the international arena as a weighty factor for improving bilateral ties and promoting stability and security in the APR and in the world as a whole.

We note with satisfaction the intensification of bilateral economic ties and the considerable increase in the trade turnover, which rose from 7.3 billion US dollars in 2004 to 12.5 billion dollars in 2006. At the end of 2007, it may exceed 15 billion dollars.

Question: What is the main aim of the present visit?

Answer: The main aim of the visit, being made according to the schedule of the Russian-Japanese political dialogue agreed at the highest level, is to discuss ways for implementing the accords reached by the two states` leaders at their meetings in Heiligendamm in June and Sydney in September to develop the entire range of Russian-Japanese relations. It is about expanding bilateral cooperation on the basis of the Russia-Japan Action Plan, adopted at the highest level in 2003. The appearance in recent years in Russian-Japanese relations of new forms and areas of cooperation have created the conditions for supplementing this Plan.

We presume that the upcoming visit will continue the line of both countries on expanding cooperation on a broad spectrum of questions and will contribute to the deepening of understanding and trust between Russia and Japan.

Question: What is envisaged by the program of Lavrov`s visit?

Answer: During his stay in Tokyo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation will hold talks with Japan`s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Masahiko Komura. Sergey Lavrov is also scheduled to meet with Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and with leaders of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

During the talks with Komura, the sides will continue the dialogue on key issues in bilateral relations, on global and regional problems and will determine the main thrusts of efforts in the interests of further developing bilateral relations in diverse fields.

Question: What topical international problems will be in the center of attention in the talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries?

Answer: The international block of questions in the upcoming talks will include further strengthening of the Russian-Japanese engagement in the fight against international terrorism and a joint search for responses to other global challenges; UN reform; regional conflicts; prospects for settlement on the Korean Peninsula and a number of other themes.

Question: What is the present stand of Russia on the question of concluding a peace treaty with Japan?

Answer: A peace treaty between Russia and Japan has still not been signed because of the lingering differences in the positions of the sides on its territorial aspect.

We have no intention to conserve this problem, we sincerely want to close it. As the President of Russia stressed at his meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister in Sydney in September this year, Russia is interested in finding solutions during the talks which would help arrive at the conclusion of a peace treaty and is ready to continue the work in this direction not only this year but also next, after the parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia.

A mutually acceptable solution of this complex problem is possible through the further development of ties between the two countries in all fields, and the comprehensive deepening of trust and understanding between our peoples.

Objectively, both Russia and Japan are keen on expanding economic, culture and business ties and on collaboration in a whole array of fields. The many-sided Russian-Japanese partnership should not be hostage to the territorial problem, " the only serious contradiction in our relations.

Question: What are the prospects for Russian-Japanese interaction in the sphere of economy and in other fields?

Answer: In the economic sphere, from our point of view, promising is cooperation in the fields of energy, high technologies and transport infrastructure development.

Responding to the approval by the Russian Federation Government of the Federal Target Program for the Development of the Far East and Transbaikalia, designed for the period till 2013, the Japanese side put forward during the meetings in Heiligendamm and Sydney the initiative of forging cooperation in the areas of Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East in eight sectors: energy, transport, communication services, environmental protection, security, public health, improvement of the trade and investment climate and the promotion of interregional exchanges. On the proposal of the Japanese side practical areas of cooperation and joint projects are to be discussed in the course of the first meeting of the IGC`s Subcommission on Interregional Cooperation, scheduled in Vladivostok for the end of October. Japan for the first time expresses readiness to send to that event a representative delegation from 40 companies led by Kunio Anzai, Chairman, Nippon Keidanren Japan-Russia Business Cooperation Committee.

At the talks in Tokyo, the question will be touched upon of holding a meeting at expert level to discuss the initiative of the Japanese side for forging ecological cooperation in the contiguous areas of Russia and Japan.

As part of the work on streamlining the practice of youth exchanges the question of introducing changes and additions to the Agreement already available in this field is being discussed. To expand ties in the field of culture the possibility of the mutual opening of information and cultural centers in Moscow and Tokyo is also being considered.

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