Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande have agreed to continue dialogue with Russia ahead of the upcoming G7 meeting, Japanese media said Tuesday.
Russia walked out of the G8 group of the world’s largest economies after a rift with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States over Moscow’s alleged role in the conflict in Ukraine.
The French and Japanese leaders had a bilateral meeting ahead of the 42nd G7 summit due to be held in late May in Japan’s town of Shima in the Mie Prefecture, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported.
Abe is currently on a diplomatic tour in European G7 states that kicked off on Sunday. The prime minister is also due to visit Russia on May 6, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral cooperation in trade and economy, humanitarian spheres and international issues.
Ties between Russia and the West and Japan deteriorated after Tokyo announced support for certain Western economic sanctions against Russia imposed in 2014 over Moscow’s alleged interference in the eastern Ukrainian conflict. Russia has resolutely denied the accusations.
France joined anti-Russian sanctions as part of the European Union. In late April, the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament, supported a resolution calling to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia.