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Peace treaty possible only after Tokyo recognizes WWII results – Russia FM

Moscow and Tokyo will not be able to reach progress on a peace treaty without clarifying historical reality, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Monday.

"It is the historical aspect of this problem that is a major obstacle to its settlement. A dialogue must be continued, but we won't be able to move forward without clarifying historical reality," he said.

"The Russian approach bases on all agreements reached, they remain invariable for the present day. In particular, we reminded that progress on this issue is possible only after we get clarity as to Japan's recognition of all post-war realities, including the UN Charter in its entirety," Lavrov added.

The Russian diplomat stressed that South Kuril Islands are not a subject for dialogue between Russia and Japan, and the peace treaty is the only item on the agenda, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after meeting his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Monday.

Lavrov said the "northern territories" were not part of the agenda. "Neither the northern territories of Japan or Russia are the subject of our dialogue. The conclusion of a peace treaty is the only item on the agenda. It has been agreed by both leaders," he added.

Lavrov said the next round of consultations on the signing of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan at the deputy foreign ministerial level will be held in Moscow on October 8.

"We touched upon the problem of a peace treaty during the talks," Lavrov said. "We agreed that a next round of consultations that are conducted by our deputies upon instructions from our leaders will be held in Moscow on October 8," he added.

According to the top diplomat, cooperation of Russia and Japan meets long-term interests of the two peoples.

"We confirmed understanding reached by our president and the prime minister of Japan that the development of cooperation between our counties meets the interests of our peoples," Lavrov said, calling "intensive" his three-hour-long talks with the Japanese counterpart.

"We expressed mutual interest in continuation of reciprocal dialogue, including at the summit level," Lavrov said adding there would be many opportunities to do that this year, citing the possibility for summit meetings of the two countries' leaders on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits.

He also drew attention at two countries' intentions "to boost effort towards remedying negative tendencies in trade and economic sphere". "Some other bilateral events will be contributing to this apart from a session of the intergovernmental commission scheduled for tomorrow," he added.

The minister said Russia will consider Tokyo's proposals on concrete date of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan.

"The invitation has been accepted, so we expect the hosts to appoint concrete date," he said. "We will be ready to consider corresponding proposals."

Moscow ready to resume two-plus-two format with Japan

Lavrov also noted that Moscow is ready to resume the 'two-plus-two' format with Japan at the level of the defense and foreign ministers.

"At a certain point, we set up a 'two-plus-two' format. We are ready to resume the activity of this mechanism," Lavrov said. "I have felt that our Japanese colleagues don't reject this idea," he added.

Obstacle to signing peace treaty

The problem of the southern Kuril Islands is the key obstacle to a complete normalization of the Russian-Japanese ties and the signing of a peace treaty. After the Second World War, all Kuril Islands were made part of the Soviet Union. But Japan does not agree that the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai island group belong to Russia. Tokyo calls the islands "Northern Territories".

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 21Sep15]

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