By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - Russia and Japan held the first round of talks on Friday for a peace treaty which was not signed by the two countries after the second World War.
Russian and Japanese delegations headed by Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Taro Kono gathered this morning in Moscow.
The talks lasted about six hours and did not lead to a breakthrough. In separate statements, both Lavrov and Kono stated there were 'considerable disagreements' between the two countries during the talks.
"We still have significant differences [on the peace treaty]. The positions were initially diametrically opposed. We've talked about this more than once. But the political will of our leaders to fully normalize relations between Russia and Japan encourages us to intensify this dialogue," Lavrov said.
According to Kono, the dialogue will continue. Deputy foreign ministers of the two countries will meet on Jan.15 on the sidelines of the Munich Security conference. The issue will also be on the agenda of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting in Moscow on Jan. 22.
The signing of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan is hampered by the territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, which has not been resolved since the second World War.
Tokyo considers several islands its own, while Moscow insists that the islands became its territory in 1945 when the allies agreed to return the islands, lost in the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, in return of the Soviet troops participation in the war against Japan.
Russian authorities are concerned over possible deployment of U.S. missile systems on the islands in case of their return to Japan.