Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there should be no high expectations for any immediate progress on the signing of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan. Lavrov made the remarks after meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, who is here to prepare for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan on December 15.
“We have touched upon the issue of the peace treaty in detail. It is not easy to bring together our stances as we still have difficulties in ironing out differences,” Xinhua news agency quoted Lavrov as telling reporters on Saturday. But he promised to continue working on it, saying Moscow is interested in solving the issue.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Russia in May and met with President Vladimir Putin at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September.
Russia and Japan have not signed a peace treaty formalising the end of World War II due to a territory row over four small islands in the Pacific.
Russia claims sovereignty over the four islands, which have great economic and military significance.
The long held territorial spats are considered to be the main stumbling block and tipping point for their bilateral ties, in addition to Tokyo’s sanctions against Moscow over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis