Russia regrets Japanese refusal to form a joint historians


Moscow, February 12 (Itar-Tass) The State Duma regretsthe Japanese refusal to form a joint historians commissionwith Russia.

"That was a good chance to resolve problems on thebilateral agenda. We are sorry that this chance is missed,"First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma (lower house of theFederal Assembly of Russia) International Affairs Committee,Leonid Slutsky, said yesterday.

"Following the latest critique of Russia, Tokyo wasoffered a chance to reach a compromise, including that in theterritorial problem. It is a pity that the Japanese side hasignored the Russian proposal," he said.

It is impossible to hold the dialogue on thebelonging of the Kuril Islands under these circumstances,Slutsky said, adding, "Japan has been blocking the signing ofa peace treaty with Russia since 1956 by prioritizing theterritorial problem. That is an endless circle.In addition,the situation developed into ugly forms lately,".

Slutsky called for a broad access of investors to theKuril Islands.

"President Dmitry Medvedev set the goal ofall-inclusive economic development of the Kuril Islands.

Russia is ready for cooperation in such projects, in the firstturn, with Japan," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered hisJapanese counterpart Seiji Maehara yesterday to form a jointcommission of historians, but Maehara said he doubted theefficiency of that idea. He also said that Tokyo and Moscowhad parallel positions in the territorial problem and thatpositions had no points of contact.

Tokyo opposes the involvement of third countries indevelopment projects in the South Kurils without its consent,Japanese Foreign Ministry press secretary Satoru Sato said inMoscow yesterday.

"Any activity and visits to the islands without ourconsent will cause official protests. We also opposeinvestments of third countries in this territory initiated byRussia," he said.

Sato admitted the possibility of cooperation interritorial waters around the South Kurils "without damage tothe official position of Tokyo."

He also said that Tokyo would protest if the Russianpresident visits the South Kuril Islands again.

"We will make a strong protest if the Russianpresident or other representatives of the Russianadministration visit the South Kurils again," he said.


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