Moscow Refutes Reports On Lavrov Voicing Conditions For Kurils' Transfer To Japan
Any reports indicating that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has allegedly laid out conditions for a handover of the disputed South Kuril islands to Japan, are fake, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday
Earlier in the day, Lavrov said at an educational forum for the Russian youth that the main problem preventing Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty was that Japan was still refusing to recognize Russia's sovereignty over the Kuril islands, which was established as a result of World War II. At the same time, the minister noted that the situation was not at an impasse.
"We are surprised by the unscrupulous interpretation by a number of media of Sergey Lavrov's words, reiterating Russia's official position on a peace treaty with Japan. Please note that any speculations like 'Sergey Lavrov announced conditions for the islands' transfer to Japan' are unacceptable as disinformation," the ministry wrote on Twitter.
Russia and Japan have not signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II mainly due to the dispute over a series of the Kuril Islands referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan which remains one of the main stumbling blocks in the peace talks.
In November 2018, Moscow and Tokyo agreed to speed up the negotiations on the long-pending peace agreement, but there has been little progress on the issue ever since. The two parties held a number of the so-called 2+2 format talks between ministers of foreign affairs and defense. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the issue again during the G20 summit in Osaka. Some of the results include launching joint economic projects on the disputed islands and arranging the visit of former Japanese residents of the Kuril Islands to the tombs of their relatives.