TOKYO, December 3. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori have become special envoys of the two countries’ leaders at the negotiations on a peace treaty, the press service of the Japanese Foreign Ministry informed TASS on Monday.

“The Japanese and Russian leaders agreed at the talks in Buenos Aires to further accelerate the negotiations on a peace treaty, with the two countries’ top diplomats Taro Kono and Sergey Lavrov tasked with supervising work on it,” the press service said. “Deputy Foreign Ministers Takeo Mori and Igor Morgulov will conduct these negotiations. Igor Morgulov will be the Russian president’s special representative, and Takeo Mori – the Japanese prime minister’s special representative.”

“It was also decided to agree on the meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers in the run-up to Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Russia at the beginning of next year,” the spokesman said. “During the talks in Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Abe also spoke out in favor of developing cooperation aimed at the implementation of the joint economic activities in the four Northern Islands (the southern islands of the Kuril archipelago – TASS) and humanitarian measures for the benefit of former residents of these islands, including air travel to visit their ancestors’ graves.”

New negotiation mechanism

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said following talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires that an agreement had been reached with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a new mechanism for resolving the peace treaty issue. According to the Russian president, the two countries’ leaders will appoint special envoys, while the top diplomats will oversee that work.

At the meeting in Singapore on November 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to intensify Russian-Japanese talks on concluding a peace treaty based on the Joint Declaration signed on October 19, 1956, on ceasing the state of war. The two countries resumed diplomatic and consular relations, but no peace treaty has been signed so far.

Under Article 9 of the declaration, the Soviet Union agreed to hand over Shikotan and Habomai as a gesture of good will after the peace treaty is ultimately signed. The declaration was ratified by the two countries’ parliaments in December 1956.

However, in response to Japan’s signing a security treaty with the United States in 1960, the Soviet Union revoked its liabilities concerning the transfer of the islands. The Soviet government said back then that the islands would be handed over to Japan only when all foreign forces were withdrawn from its territory.

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