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International relations

Putin tones down rhetoric with Abe but treaty progress unclear

Foreign ministers meet again in February, with next summit in June

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for the 25th time Tuesday, but their close relationship has yet to produce a solution over the disputed islands.    © Kyodo

MOSCOW -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to continue accelerating negotiations toward a formal peace treaty for World War II during their summit here Tuesday afternoon, but the practical hurdles to such a pact remain high.

Abe and Putin met for the 25th time, just one month after their talks in Argentina. The majority of their three-hour conversation Tuesday involved peace treaty negotiations, the leaders revealed in a joint press conference afterward. They also committed to holding their next summit in Japan in June after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono meet in February.

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