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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Lavrov says compromise needed on islands dispute with Japan

RIA Novosti

01/11/2008 14:32 MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia wants to reach a compromise with Japan on the territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, the foreign minister told Japanese reporters on Saturday.

Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to visit Japan in early November to discuss the signing of a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities, which has been delayed due to the ongoing dispute over the South Kurils, a former Japanese territory annexed by the Soviet Union after WWII.

The four southernmost islands of the Kuril chain, which stretches from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula to the north-east coast of Japan's Hokkaido Island, remain Russian territory.

"We have the desire to solve this problem. A compromise is needed for the resolution of various issues," Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

"It is important for our nations not to get stuck in problems of the past, but to turn their attention to the potential of the future cooperation, and to form public opinion in a spirit of good-neighborliness," Lavrov said.

During his visit, which includes stops in Hokkaido and Tokyo, Sergei Lavrov will meet with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone to discuss the territorial dispute.

The foreign ministers will also consider the possibility of holding a high-level meeting between the Japanese and Russian leaders in November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru.

The plans by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to pay a visit to Japan later this year as part of agreements reached at the G8 summit will be also on the agenda of the forthcoming talks.



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