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Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Friday he has postponed a scheduled trip to Moscow that was to begin Sunday.

The Russian government asked Komura on Thursday night to delay the visit because the country’s foreign minister post is vacant now that Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has been nominated as prime minister by President Boris Yeltsin, Komura said.

Komura said he hopes to visit Russia as soon as possible. He said he also hopes to meet with the next Russian foreign minister later this month when they attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Komura’s visit to Moscow is intended to lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s official visit to Russia in November. A Foreign Ministry official said Komura’s visit is likely to take place in October.

The two countries are making efforts to conclude a peace treaty by the end of 2000 by resolving the territorial row over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

Komura said that the postponement of his trip should not have a negative impact on efforts toward the treaty, and that former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s planned visit to Moscow next week has not been canceled.

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