The Russian-Japanese forum, which ended today in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, has demonstrated "the great interest of both countries in improving and developing bilateral relations," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov, who had taken part in that meeting of ministers, businessmen and scientists of both countries, told RIA Novosti.
Losyukov, who was a co-chairman at the forum, stressed the urgency of the matters discussed, especially those which concerned co-operation in economy, energy and environmental protection.
As proposals were made at the forum on concluding an agreement between Russia and Japan on co-operation in science and technology, he assured that the Russian side "will try give it effect." According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, the final document of the forum confirms that bilateral economic relations between the two countries have grown more active of late and that "general interest in Russia on the part of Japanese businessmen has increased." Losyukov believes that this is associated with the favourable economic situation in Russia." It has been decided to hold the fourth Russian-Japanese forum in Japan in 2004. The idea of conducting such forums was proposed in September 2000 by Vladimir Putin and Yoshiro Mori, the then Prime Minister of Japan, during their meeting in Irkutsk.
Russia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine as per the 1991 Declaration of Independence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference following the 78th session of the UN General Assembly