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    PUTIN: PROBLEMS FACING RUSSIA AND JAPAN ARE COMPLICATED. THE SIDES EAGER TO RESOLVE THEM

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - The problems facing Russia and Japan are complicated but the sides want to resolve them, Vladimir Putin said while meeting on Wednesday with co-chairmen of the Russian-Japanese Council of Elders Yury Luzhkov and Yoshiro Mori.

    "We not only want to engage in tackling them but are interested in resolving them because it is in the interests of Russia and Japan to develop relations in all spheres," the head of state said.

    "All that hinders the development of our relations should be removed. We should find mutually acceptable solutions of the problems," the Russian President said.

    In his opinion, in this connection "a view from outside, an expert view is highly important." "I sincerely hope for your group's effective work", Putin said addressing co-chairmen of the Council of Elders Yury Luzhkov and Yoshiro Mori.

    The Council of Elders is an entirely new format of bilateral unofficial dialogue whose members are authoritative representatives of the political elite, business community and creative intelligentsia of Russia and Japan. The accord on its setting up was achieved during the meeting of Vladimir Putin with Prime Minister Junuchiro Koizumi of Japan in Bangkok in October 2003.

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