The Russian Foreign Ministry lodged an official protest with the US Embassy in Moscow Friday in connection with Ambassador Thomas Pickering’s call for Moscow to peacefully return the southern Kurile Islands to Japan. The Itar-Tass news agency quoted Pickering as telling journalists on the Russian island of Sakhalin that Japan has had "priority" over the four southernmost islands in the archipelago and advocating their "peaceful return" to Tokyo. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said the issue "is not the affair of the US ambassador in Moscow." First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and chief spokesman Grigori Karasin issued additional protests statements. A "senior official" of the Ministry said Moscow may urge Washington to recall Pickering. (2)
Lebed Favors Restoring Single Defense Space.