Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is pressing for President Vladimir Putin to be brought in from the cold, saying Russian help is crucial to tackling multiple crises in the Middle East.
In an interview with Nikkei and the Financial Times, Mr Abe said he was willing to go to Moscow as this year’s chair of the Group of Seven advanced economies, or to invite the Russian president to Tokyo.
Pointing to tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the war in Syria, and the threat of radical Islamism, Mr Abe said: “We need the constructive engagement of Russia.”
The former G8 excluded Russia following its annexation of Crimea and military support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. But while Japan has joined in sweeping economic sanctions, Mr Abe made clear he wants to work with Mr Putin.
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