Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Moscow, May 10, 2019
We are glad to welcome you to Moscow. You are visiting Russia immediately after the ascension to the throne of Emperor Naruhito and the beginning of the Reiwa beautiful harmony era. We hope that this era will be a beautiful one for Russian-Japanese relations as well.
Today, we are opening the third round of the talks that we have been conducting in conformity with our leaders’ decision to speed up the dialogue on the peace treaty based on the USSR-Japan Joint Declaration of 1956. In keeping with these understandings, you and I have been charged with the very ambitious task of ensuring that our bilateral relations consistently rise to a qualitatively new level, which will make it possible to look for mutually acceptable solutions to delicate problems.
During the two previous rounds, which we held in January and February of this year, as well as during consultations between our deputies, the sides have set forth their principled approaches and most thoroughly discussed the historical and legal aspects. I hope that these talks and consultations will enable the sides to better understand the nature of the divergences between the positions – and these divergences are so far quite considerable – and to realise where there are reserves and opportunities for bringing our approaches closer together. This comprehensive understanding of the situation is of fundamental importance for a realistic assessment of the prospects for our negotiating process.
I count on the continuation of a meaningful and constructive discussion between us. Thank you.