MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, World War II put an end to the story of the Kuril Islands’ transfer from one state to another.
"We are not ceding the Kuril Islands to Japan, not begging for a peace treaty," Lavrov said on Tuesday in an interview to the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily website. "We, as a solid responsible power, the successor-state of the Soviet Union have confirmed that we are committed to all obligations assumed by the USSR. These obligations also include the Soviet-Japanese declaration of 1956, which says that the parties undertake to conclude a peace treaty and only after that the consideration of the issue that the USSR, as it had pledged then, was ready to transfer the Kurils as a goodwill gesture."
However, the minister said, it is impossible to talk about any mutually acceptable solution to this territorial dispute without recognition of the World War II results. "We talked about it at negotiations with the Japanese partners," the Russian foreign minister said. "In particular, at the recent rounds of the consultations we have proposed to consider the historical aspect of this issue, to make it clear to all that World War II put an end to the story of the islands’ handover."
"We are ready to look for some ways of cooperation with our Japanese neighbors," Lavrov said. "It’s a great country, a great nation that also has a very difficult history of relations, putting it mildly, history of poor relations with its neighbors. But we are all interested in friendly beneficial relations between the Japanese and Russian people and peoples of all other countries."
The Russian foreign minister recalled the existence of a special visa-free travel program for Japanese citizens. "The Japanese visit these islands," the minister said. "And we have been long inviting the Japanese neighbors to engage in business activities on these islands together with us, make investments and possibly organize special economic zones." "All this is possible, and I hope that the Japanese colleagues will conduct activity in these spheres, at least we have passed the corresponding proposals to them," Lavrov said.