Japanese Prime Minister seeks rapprochement with Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, currently chair of the G7, has said he wants to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin back into the fold to engage Moscow's help over a litany of crises in the Middle East.

Abe's remarks, in a joint interview with Japan's Nikkei business daily and the Financial Times published Monday, come with Washington and Moscow taking opposite sides over the years-long civil war in Syria, with the region also wracked by conflict in Yemen, a Saudi-Iran row, as well as countless other issues.

"We need the constructive engagement of Russia," Abe told the news outlets. "I believe appropriate dialogue with Russia, appropriate dialogue with President Putin is very important."