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Russian presidential office spokesman: Talks should prioritize peace treaty over territorial row

NHK and NTV reported online this morning that Russian Presidential Executive Office spokesman Peskov commented on the Japan-Russia negotiations for a peace treaty on state-run TV on Jan. 27. Peskov was quoted as saying that the main item on the agenda for the bilateral talks “is not what to return or what to receive but to conclude a peace treaty in order to end World War II.” He thus echoed President Putin’s position of keeping the Northern Territories issue separate and giving priority to signing a peace treaty first to build mutual trust before discussing this issue. Peskov reportedly also expressed the view that Japan’s participation in Western countries’ sanctions on Russia constitutes a major obstacle to the conclusion of the peace treaty.

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