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Senior government officials from Japan and Russia agreed Wednesday to make their utmost efforts to resolve the long-standing territorial dispute over four islands north of Hokkaido and conclude a peace treaty.

“We have strong interest in resolving the issue of the peace treaty,” said Mikhail Mikhailovich Belui, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Asian affairs department. “It serves the national interests of both Japan and Russia to seek a resolution.”

Negotiations over the territorial dispute have been at a standstill.

The two sides also agreed to hold vice-ministerial level talks on Oct. 2 in Moscow to further promote political dialogue between the two nations.