Kurils visit won't mar Asian summit: Kremlin
The Kremlin voiced confidence on Monday that President Dmitry Medvedev's controversial visit to the disputed Kuril Islands would have no effect on the upcoming APEC summit of Asian leaders.
Presidential adviser Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters that Medvedev was visiting a part of Russia when he made his trip last week to an island that is also claimed by Japan.
"I am confident that the APEC summit agenda will not be affected by the president visiting a region of Russia," the Interfax news agency quoted Dvorkovich as saying.
But the adviser conceded that the visit was likely to come up at the November 13-14 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which is being chaired by Japan.
"Territorial issues are always covered in the course of these meetings," said Dvorkovich. "This time should be no different, I should think."
Medvedev became the first Russian leader to visit the islands when he toured one of the four Kuril Islands claimed by Japan last week.
The dispute has prevented the signature of a formal treaty ending World War II hostilities between the two nations and drew a furious response from Japan, which temporarily recalled its ambassador to Moscow.
The Kuril Islands lie north of Japan and have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops in 1945.
The visit came amid concerns within more nationalist Russian circles that the Kremlin was softening the tough foreign policy position of Medvedev's presidential predecessor Vladimir Putin.
© 2010 AFP