Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov met yesterday in Jakarta with President Suharto of Indonesia, and held separate consultations with counterparts from Japan and India. Suharto urged that relations with Russia be developed both at the bilateral level and under the aegis of the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Russia was recently granted full-fledged Dialogue Partner status in ASEAN, and Primakov described the grouping as a "highly influential center of a multi-polar world in the making." He also called for greater economic cooperation between Russia and Indonesia, and said that the two countries hold similar views on such international issues as security on the Korean peninsula, relations between China and Taiwan, and the need to sign a comprehensive test ban treaty. (Itar-Tass, July 22) Primakov had arrived in Jakarta over the weekend and met earlier with Indonesia’s foreign minister.
During talks yesterday with Japanese foreign minister Yukihiko Ikeda the two sides agreed that Primakov will travel to Tokyo in November and that his visit will be followed by the second session of the Russian-Japanese inter-governmental commission on trade and economic cooperation. Military contacts will also be increased. Russia’s defense minister is to pay a visit to Japan next year, and a series of political consultations between military delegations will be held in the interim. The head of Japan’s National Defense Department, Hideo Usui, visited Moscow at the end of April. Primakov and Ikeda also discussed the Kuril Islands territorial dispute, as well as differences over fishing rights related to that dispute. In a remark that must have pleased Ikeda, Primakov declared that Moscow would adhere to the 1993 Tokyo Declaration in its dealings with Japan on the islands. The two sides also observed that the 40th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Japan and Russia, to be marked on October 19, could provide an impetus for improved relations. (Itar-Tass, July 22)
Primakov’s talks with India’s minister of external affairs, Inder Kumar Gujral, reportedly focused on Asian security, growing cooperation between India and Russia in the area of military technology, and instability in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. On the last point, Primakov claimed that the two sides had expressed concern that "Islamic extremism is raising its head." Finally, Primakov suggested that Russia had lobbied India to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, with no success, while Gujral said that he and Primakov had not discussed the issue. (Itar-Tass, July 22)
Power Struggle on Russian Left.