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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan, Russia Near Peace Accord

Russia and Japan have made substantial progress toward a peace treaty that would resolve differences dating to World War II, Russian officials said Friday.

However, Russia remains adamant that it will not give up any of the territory it claimed from Japan after the war, the chairman of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee said, Itar-Tass reported.

"Of course, Russia will not cede the southern Kurils," Vladimir Lukin said.

Russia's claim to the Kuril Islands, which lie off the southeastern Russian coast, just north of the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido, has been a major sticking point in negotiations. Japan has insisted for years that Russia return the islands.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Grigory Karasin, said deputy ministers from the two countries would meet in Tokyo next week to discuss a draft peace agreement.

A Russian-Japanese summit is scheduled next month, and leaders of the two countries will continue to work out details of the treaty, Karasin was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.