World boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will soon present his belts to President Buhari, a presidential aide disclosed on Wednesday in Abuja. Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, made the disclosure while […]
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks expected to be dominated by a territorial issue over a disputed island chain that has long prevented the two countries from concluding a peace treaty to formally end World War II.
Abe’s visit on Tuesday marks the 25th time he and Putin have met since 2013, a reflection of their efforts to increase cooperation despite the decades-old disagreement over the Kuril islands.
The Soviet army seized the four islands, between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, in the last days of World War II.
Tokyo’s refusal to recognise Moscow’s sovereignty over the islands – known as the Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan – has obstructed the path to peace for more seven decades.
Despite a flurry of diplomacy since November, when the two leaders agreed to step up peace talks, recent statements from both capitals have dampened hopes of a breakthrough.
Moscow responded angrily to Abe’s New Year’s message, in which he said Russians living on the islands should be helped to accept that the “sovereignty of their homes will change”.
‘Not for debate’
Last week, following a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Japan needed to stop referring to the islands as its “Northern Territories” in legislation.