Russia regrets Japanese refusal to form a joint historian’s commission

The State Duma regrets the Japanese refusal to form a joint historians commission with Russia.

Updated: Feb 13, 2011, 00:03 AM IST

Moscow: The State Duma regrets
the Japanese refusal to form a joint historians commission
with Russia.

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

"Following the latest critique of Russia, Tokyo was
offered a chance to reach a compromise, including that in the
territorial problem. It is a pity that the Japanese side has
ignored the Russian proposal," he said.

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

Slutsky called for a broad access of investors to the
Kuril Islands.

"President Dmitry Medvedev set the goal of
all-inclusive economic development of the Kuril Islands.
Russia is ready for cooperation in such projects, in the first
turn, with Japan," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered his
Japanese counterpart Seiji Maehara yesterday to form a joint
commission of historians, but Maehara said he doubted the
efficiency of that idea. He also said that Tokyo and Moscow
had parallel positions in the territorial problem and that
positions had no points of contact.

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

"Any activity and visits to the islands without our
consent will cause official protests. We also oppose
investments of third countries in this territory initiated by
Russia," he said.

Sato admitted the possibility of cooperation in
territorial waters around the South Kurils "without damage to
the official position of Tokyo."

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

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