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Russian diplomat calls not to politicize talks on Kuril Islands

February 06, 10:00 UTC+3 TOKYO

Russia and Japan see the joint economic activities on the islands as a step towards signing a peace treaty

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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

TOKYO, February 6. /TASS/. Negotiations between Russia and Japan on joint economic activities on the southern Kuril Islands should be carefully protected from politicization, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said in Tokyo on Tuesday ahead of talks with his Japanese counterpart, Takeo Mori.

"I am sure that, if we strictly abide by the agreements that have been reached and understanding and carefully protect our negotiation process from politicization, we will be able to resolve the existing numerous complex issues and achieve truly qualitative results in our negotiation process," he said.

The third round of consultations on bilateral relations and the peace treaty kicked off in Tokyo on Tuesday. The key issue on the agenda is the joint economic activities on the southern Kuril Islands. Morgulov stressed before the talks started that there is tangible progress in the negotiation process, with the two sides’ positive approach contributing to that.

The two sides see the joint economic activities on the islands as a step towards signing a peace treaty. At the same, Japanese observers noted that they still disagree on ways of implementing such projects. Russia believes that this should be done within the framework of its legislation, while Japan proposes creating some kind of "a special system" for the aforementioned territories.

Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the middle of last century. The main stumbling block to this is the issue of the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is challenged by Japan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated on numerous occasions that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond doubt. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ceasing the state of war, but no peace treaty has been signed until now.

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