Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori who is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's special envoy in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 21, 2013. They discussed issues on bilateral relationships. (Xinhua/RIA)
MOSCOW, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said here on Thursday that he is expecting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Moscow.
"I'm awaiting the Japanese prime minister's visit, and we are working now to fill its agenda," Putin said during a meeting with Abe's special envoy Yoshiro Mori, former Japanese prime minister.
Putin asked Mori to convey Russia's invitation to Abe, while Mori handed the Russian leader a personal letter from Abe, local media reported.
The long-standing dispute over the ownership of the South Kurils, a group of islands Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, has prevented the two countries from concluding a peace treaty. Putin described the absence of the treaty as an "abnormal situation," Mori told a news conference here following their meeting.
The Japanese political veteran told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that "it is important that the two sides find a mutually- acceptable way of settlement, and that the leaders of the two countries make a decision."
Mori was Japan's prime minister in the early 2000s, and later became a co-chairman of the Japan-Russia Wise Men's Council.