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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Meets his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono

    Lavrov Meets Kono: Moscow to Continue Russia-Japan Peace Treaty Talks

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    MUNICH (Sputnik) - Russia expects to continue talks with Japan on concluding a permanent peace treaty in accordance with the Soviet-Japanese declaration of 1956, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Saturday.

    "We are holding this meeting in accordance with the agreement of the Russian president and the prime minister of Japan on the need to step up the work on a peace treaty in accordance with the declaration of 1956", Lavrov said, adding that he expected "to continue the ongoing dialogue" with Kono "in strict compliance with the sequencing" defined by the Russian and Japanese leaders.

    When asked by reporters whether the sides would be able to overcome all the existing obstacles to the signing of the peace agreement until the G20 summit in Japan in June, the Russian minister stressed that the Russian side had no "artificial deadlines".

    READ MORE: Russia, Japan Confirm Interest in Signing Peace Treaty — Putin

    "We want to act on the basis of the 1956 declaration as agreed by our leaders in Singapore at the end of last year. This implies an indisputable first step – the conclusion of a peace treaty, which means, on its part, according to the position of Russia, that there is no alternative to the recognition by our Japanese neighbors the outcomes of World War II, including the sovereignty of Russia over the Kuril Islands, including the four islands of the Lesser Kuril Chain", Lavrov pointed out.

    Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II. The deal was never reached because of a disagreement over a group of four islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — that are claimed by both countries.

    READ MORE: US Actions in Japan Create Risks For Security of Russia, China — Lavrov (VIDEO)

    They are collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

    In 1956, Moscow and Tokyo signed a joint declaration that provided for the restoration of bilateral relations after the end of World War II. The Soviet Union also agreed to consider handing over two out four disputed islands — Habomai and Shikotan — to Japan.

    Last month, Lavrov and Kono held the first round of talks aimed at eventually signing a permanent peace treaty.

    Both Lavrov and Kono are participating in the 55th Munich Security Conference.

    READ MORE: Russian Pompeii: Volcano on Kurils Sends Two-Kilometer Ash Plume Into Air

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    Tags:
    peace treaty, meeting, Munich Security Conference, Taro Kono, Sergei Lavrov, Japan, Russia, Kuril Islands
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