Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is cramming in bilateral meetings with other G8 leaders on the sidelines of their summit in Italy to discus Iran, North Korea and nuclear proliferation, according to RIA Novosti.
Medvedev held talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday, and was to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on Thursday.
The busy schedule meant the Russian head of state was eager to get straight down to business.
“Do we have anything to say?” Medvedev asked as he posed for photos with Brown ahead of their meeting. “We could talk about a lot, discuss many things. Let’s go, it’s better to get the meeting started.
“Absolutely,” said the British prime minister.
A representative of the Russian delegation said the two leaders discussed the post-election violence in Iran, the spread of nuclear weapons, North Korea, and a range of bilateral issues, particularly in the energy sphere.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Medvedev for his “constructive” approach to the group’s discussions on the contested reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was invited to attend the summit by host Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Medvedev was expected to discussed with Aso the increasingly contentious issue of the Kuril Islands’ sovereignty, pushed to the fore by a series of votes in the Japanese parliament recently. The islands were annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, and Japan’s claim on them has prevented Moscow and Tokyo signing a formal peace deal.
North Korea is also on the agenda with the Japanese prime minister, and is expected to dominate the talks with the South Korean president. All three countries were part of six-party talks - which North Korea has pulled out of - to resolve international concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Russia has traditionally urged caution in dealing with the North, but joined in a UN Security Council resolution broadening sanctions against Pyongyang following a nuclear test in May.
Medvedev was also to meet with the Chinese president on Thursday, but Hu Jintao canceled his trip over unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where at least 156 people were killed Sunday in interethnic clashes.