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Russia Says Japan PM's Remarks On Kurile Islands 'Undiplomatic'

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today called the Japanese prime minister's latest remarks on the disputed Kurile Islands "clearly undiplomatic."

Lavrov's comments came after Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan today referred to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's November visit to the southern Kurile Islands as an "unforgivable outrage."

"These remarks contrast sharply with the respectful and positive tone of the meeting that took place between Prime Minister Naoto Kan and President Dmitry Medvedev in Yokohama last fall," Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev's foreign-policy adviser, Sergei Prikhodko, as saying the sovereignty of the Russian Federation "in respect to the Kurile Islands will not be subject to any review -- either today or tomorrow."

The southern Kurile Islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, have been held by Russia since the end of World War II, keeping the two sides from signing a formal peace treaty ending hostilities.

Japan has designated February 7 as Northern Territories Day.

compiled from agency reports