Lavrov visits the Northern Territories

Interpret this as you will, but in advance of the Abe-Putin meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is touring the Kuril Islands (Northern Territories), the first visit by a Russian foreign minister since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

At a press conference in Sakhalin, Lavrov claimed that his inspection of the islands is not designed to find a solution to the territorial question, but rather a matter of finding a way for both countries to profit.

Whether Lavrov’s remarks should be taken at face value are open to question; as I discussed here, the time may be right for Russia and Japan to forge an agreement on the heretofore irresolvable Northern Territories issue.

So again, watch the meeting between Putin and Abe this week.

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