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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Russian-Japanese Summit in February

An anticipated Russian-Japanese summit is not on President Vladimir Putin's agenda for February, Interfax said Friday, quoting a senior diplomat in Moscow.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono is due to meet his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, Jan. 16 in Moscow for talks aimed at paving the way for the summit, previously expected to be held in the Siberian city of Irkutsk next month.

The unnamed diplomat, quoted by Interfax, dismissed reports that the two leaders would meet in February. He did not give any indication when the summit might take place.

Both the Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin said they could not immediately comment on the report.

Moscow and Tokyo are locked in a bitter dispute over four rocky islands off Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, which the Soviet Union seized at the end of World War Two and Japan wants back.

Hopes that the row would be solved by 2001 faded when both sides agreed last year not to set any further deadlines for a settlement of the issue, which stands in the way of normal economic and political cooperation between the two neighbours.