The Russian government "is ready to conduct a dialogue with Tokyo about the fulfilment of the joint Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956" and hopes that the Japanese side is also interested in searching a compromise solution of the problem of the border demarcation between Russia and Japan. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said this on Wednesday in an interview with RIA Novosti. He headed the Russian delegation at the consultations in Tokyo between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries. In the Declaration of 1956, Moscow expressed its readiness, as a gesture of goodwill, to give Japan two of the four Kuril Islands. The Russian side, said Alexander Losyukov, is not unequivocally confident that the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, which was formed this year, is prepared to discuss with Moscow the possibility of fulfilling the 1956 Declaration. The Deputy Minister pointed out that during the informal meeting between the leaders of Russia and Japan, Vladimir Putin and Yoshiro Mori, in Irkutsk in the spring this year, "this Declaration was confirmed as an effective legal document." "The 1956 Declaration," said Alexander Losyukov, "does not, and so much, mean only the giving of the islands to Japan, it is also the basis for the present relations between Russia and Japan and a kind of substitute for a peace treaty. The Declaration resolves a number of problems of a peace settlement, including financial questions, the establishment of diplomatic and consular relations and many other problems."
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