15:47 GMT +320 July 2018
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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, center left, and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, center right, during two-plus-two talks between defense and foreign ministers of Japan and Russia, in Tokyo.

    Lavrov: Moscow Hopes to Find Common Ground With Tokyo at '2+2' Talks

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    Moscow hopes to elaborate the common positions with Tokyo at the 2+2 meeting in Japan’s capital, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday at the meeting Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida and the two countries' defense ministers are meeting in a "2+2" format in Tokyo on Monday to discuss bilateral and regional issues amid a thaw in Russian-Japanese relations.

    "Today in the afternoon we will resume 2+2 meeting and I consider this event relevant, there are a lot of issues which are important to discuss in this format … and it is desirable to arrive at a common positions," Lavrov said.

    Kishida said that he wants to discuss with Lavrov bilateral relations and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia.

    Russia and Japan have taken steps to improve bilateral ties after decades of cooled relations over the Kuril Islands territorial dispute as well as a recent rift when Japan joined Western anti-Russian sanctions following Crimea's rejoining with Russia. The last bilateral 2+2 meeting took place in 2013 just before the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis.

    Moscow and Tokyo have been in a technical state of war since World War II having never signed a permanent peace treaty due to a disagreement over the group of islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories, encompassing Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the second rounds of talks on resolving the issue of the Kurils in late 2016. The two leaders agreed to create a special regime on the islands leading to the establishment joint economic projects. Putin and Abe also dealt with the long-standing state of war issue.


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