In the context of his remarks on Russia’s unwillingness to consider any territorial concessions, Yeltsin also claimed that he had hoped during the presidential election campaign to visit the disputed Kuril Islands, and said that he still intends to make a trip there in the election’s aftermath. "Consider that the presidential banner already stands on Kunashir (one of the four islands in question)," Yeltsin declared. (Interfax, June 30) While the Russian president did not elaborate, his remarks certainly suggested intransigence on Moscow’s part in discussing the fate of the islands.
During G-7 talks in Lyon one day earlier, however, Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov reportedly reached agreement with his Japanese counterpart, Yukihiko Ikeda, to continue negotiations on the islands. Indeed, Primakov was said to have agreed that talks would proceed on the basis of the 1993 Tokyo Declaration and an agreement reached in April of this year by Yeltsin and Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto that calls for creation of a joint negotiation committee. (Reuter, June 29) But less than two weeks earlier Primakov had himself proposed that talks on the islands be put off indefinitely, a remark that elicited a sharp note of protest from Tokyo. (See Monitor, June 20 & 24) The recent about-faces by Moscow suggest again the extent to which political expediency and Russia’s election campaign have influenced the rhetoric coming out of Moscow on several key foreign policy issues.
Tajik Government Pressed on Three Fronts.