MOSCOW, October 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia does not seek to make the Kuril Islands an unassailable fortress, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
“As for the issue of deployment of air defence systems, tanks and helicopters, the same is done on the entire territory of Russia, where it has army garrisons,” Lavrov said in an interview broadcast by the Radio of Russia, the Voice of Russia, and the Ekho Moskvy radio stations. “The process is not applicable to the Kuril Islands only. The process of morednizing the army is underway, and we have to get rid of the ‘old stuff.’”
He said there is no reason to say that Russia “is seeking to turn the Kuril Island into an unassailable fortress.” “The entire county is to be an unassailable fortress. The borders are to be properly protected.”
The Kuril Islands “have always been and will be our territory in line with the decisions taken after World War II and fixed in the United Nations Charter,” he stressed. “The United Nations Charter has it that everything done by the winner states is part and parcel of international law. That is why any mention of whatever other documents are pointless.”
“We have the United Nations Charter, which has it simply and clearly,” he emphasized.
Trips to the Kuril Island by the Russian president or any other top-ranking state officials “is an absolutely natural thing,” he said. “This is our territory, and no one should have any questions or feeling about how we travel throughout it.”
“Russia is interested in maximal realization of the entire potential of relations with Japan. We are developing a useful political dialogue, which, to a certain extent, is of trust-based nature. Economic cooperation is proceeding in an accelerated pace,” the Russian foreign minister noted. “We are ready to offer our help to satisfy Japan’s energy demand in various formats.”
In his words, Moscow has never evaded the subject of a peace treaty between the two countries, he said. “Although we already have diplomatic relations, the peace treaty is a thing that has gained rather a symbolic significance,” he noted. “The only thing we are talking about is as follows: discussions are to be held on the basis of mutual respect, with due account of historical and legal aspects that now exist, based on acceptance of the results of WWII.”
Lavrov called to hold the dialogue “in an atmosphere that excludes heightened emotions from both sides.” “Regrettably, they are heard from the Japanese side from time to time,” he noted. Russia, in his words, stands for a calm dialogue, “without unilateral interpretations of history, without politicizing.”