YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK (Sputnik) — Medvedev made an announcement during a meeting with the representatives of the United Russia party in the country's eastern Sakhalin Region, where the Kurils are located.
"I would like to inform you that I have… signed a decision to create a new priority development area on the Kurils. So, this decision has been made right here," he said.
At a meeting with Sakhalin Region's governor later in the day, Medvedev said that the new priority development area would focus on the promotion of fishery, construction and infrastructure.
Russia's Southern Kuril islands are part of Sakhalin Region, however, they are also disputed by Japan, which calls them Northern Territories. No deal between the nations was reached due to a disagreement over the four disputed islands, including Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.
In recent years, Moscow and Tokyo made a number of steps aimed at normalization of relations, such as discussion of joint activities on the Southern Kuril Islands or cooperation in the fight against terrorism and strategic stability.