Russian relations thaw
VLADIMIR Putin has been visiting Downing Street this week. It was the Russian president’s first visit to the capital for nine years. At the meeting of the two leaders inLondon, the subject on the top of their agenda was the current unrest inSyria.
The meeting took place before a visit to watch the judo competition at the Olympics, the pair also discussed trade links between their two countries and human rights.
Both men agreed to continue talks betweenLondonandMoscowabout the Syrian uprising, which has caused splits in the United Nations Security Council.
Russiahas repeatedly vetoed resolutions designed to increase pressure on Syrian president Bashar al Assad.
“We both want to see an end to that conflict and a stableSyria. We will continue to discuss with our foreign ministers how we can take this forward,” Mr Cameron said.
Mr Putin made no direct reference to his country’s stance with regard to long-standing allyDamascus, but said that there were areas whereRussiaandBritain”see eye-to-eye”.
“We agreed to continue working to find a viable solution,” the Russian president said.
Mr Cameron was keen to tread carefully in his talks with Mr Putin, which are the first inLondonsince contact was broken off after the 2006 murder of dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
Relations have now started to thaw and the Prime Minister went toMoscowlast autumn. He also held talks with Mr Putin at the G20 summit back in June.
He said: “Today has been about a further strengthening in our relations and having these important dialogues, even in areas where we do not always agree, so we can understand each other’s positions.”
The Prime Minister also joked that he was glad to be taking the Russian president, who has a black belt in judo, to watch the Olympic competition rather than take part.
Mr Putin lavished praise on Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, describing it as “quite a spectacle”. “It was a wonderful feast presented by you to mankind,” he said.
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