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Sovereignty over Southern Kurils admits of no dual interpretation — Russian ambassador

"We proceed from the fact that the Southern Kurils are part of Russia’s territory," Mikhail Galuzin stressed

MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. There can be no double interpretations regarding the territorial affiliation of the Southern Kuril Islands, Russian ambassador to Tokyo, Mikhail Galuzin, said on the Rossiya-24 TV news channel on Thursday.

"For the Japanese side, the conclusion of a peace treaty is primarily connected with the solution of a so-called territorial issue. In other words, the Japanese side insists that a peace treaty should be concluded on the basis of or after the solution of a so-called territorial dispute. The Japanese side understands this solution as Russia’s consent to satisfy its unfounded claims to Russia’s Southern Kuril Islands," he said.

"Accordingly, here the positions of the parties at the time when the dialogue was conducted on this issue diverge. We proceed from the fact that the Southern Kurils are part of Russia’s territory. They were transferred to our country on legal grounds as a result of World War II. There can be no dual interpretations," Galuzin stressed.

The ambassador noted that Russia saw a future peace treaty as a broad and comprehensive document aimed at promoting relations of friendship, cooperation and partnership in a wide range of areas, and not "as a document that is concluded the day after the end of hostilities."

Moscow and Tokyo have been negotiating a peace agreement regarding the results of World War II since the middle of last century. The disagreement regarding the sovereignty over the southern part of the Kuril Islands remains the stumbling block. After the end of the war, the entire archipelago was included in the Soviet Union. Japan disputes sovereignty over Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of small uninhabited islands. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stressed that Moscow's sovereignty over these territories, which has the appropriate international legal framework, is beyond doubt.

In March, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow was terminating negotiations with Tokyo on a peace treaty due to Japan’s unilateral restrictions imposed on Russia in connection with the situation in Ukraine. Moscow quit the dialogue with Tokyo on joint economic activities in the Southern Kuril Islands and blocked the extension of Japan's status as a partner of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization in the sectoral dialogue.