MOSCOW (Kyodo) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Friday that any attempts by Japan to raise questions about Russia’s sovereignty over four disputed islands off Hokkaido would not help the two countries conclude a bilateral peace treaty.

Medvedev told new Japanese Ambassador to Russia Masaharu Kono, who visited the Kremlin to present his letter of credentials, that Japan has been making a “one-sided and unacceptable” assessment of the decades-old row and called on Tokyo to “assess the situation appropriately” and reach a “correct conclusion.”

Medvedev also said Russia will maintain its efforts to create “a new cooperative relationship in terms of quality” and “continue holding dialogues to find out a solution that is acceptable to both sides.”

In February, Medvedev and Prime Minister Taro Aso agreed in talks on the island of Sakhalin to intensify efforts to resolve the dispute by taking a “creative and unconventional approach.”

It was not clear at the time what concrete steps would be taken to break the deadlock, but the results of the meeting between the two leaders raised expectations in Japan that progress would be made in negotiations on the thorny territorial issue.

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