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Sep 21, 2:58 PM EDT

Russia and Japan to continue discussions on peace treaty

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia says it's ready for more talks with Japan on a long-delayed peace treaty, but it firmly stands its ground on the two nations' territorial dispute.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after Monday's talks with visiting Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida that Moscow's approach to the territorial dispute has remained unchanged. The ministers did agree, however, to hold bilateral consultations on a peace treaty in early October.

The dispute over the islands called the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan has kept them from signing a peace treaty ending their World War II hostilities.

Lavrov also noted the Japanese legislation loosening post-World War II constraints placed on its military, saying the move worried some of Japan's neighbors. He also voiced concern about U.S.-Japanese missile defense ties.

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