2 September 2015
Moscow: 11:29
London: 09:29

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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

09.09.2011

Introduction by Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, FIRST Magazine, Special Report - Russia

The forthcoming visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron to Moscow this autumn is a good opportunity to review the current state of our political dialogue and areas of practical cooperation. We value multidimensional interaction between Russia and Great Britain in the UN Security Council, G8, G20 and other multilateral fora. This interaction is indispensable for international stability, including Euro-Atlantic region where the need for an open cooperative architecture of indivisible security without dividing lines becomes more and more obvious.
Within the context of an evolving, multipolar, more democratic and fair world system, based on the rule of international law, we cannot afford to be guided by politicised and stereotyped approaches inherited from a different era.
The visit of Prime Minister Cameron comes at an opportune time. More and more people, including politicians, understand that ideological obsessions must give way to pragmatism and the search for balance of interests, both internationally and in bilateral relations of states, in spite of the fact that governments might differ on certain matters. Key national interests of Russia and Britain are not contradictory. This is why we believe that the Moscow summit will provide further impetus to the mutual efforts to take our relationship to a new level.
This expectation is based on the results we managed to achieve lately in restoring the atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
We are witnessing a dynamic development of political dialogue based upon willingness to listen to and hear each other that underlie the relations between President Medvedev and Prime Minister Cameron. During their meetings in the margins of G8 and G20 Summits in Canada, Republic of Korea and France they could understand each other perfectly well and agreed to work together to strengthen the Russo-British relationship for the benefit of the two countries and that of the rest of the world.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Office are following the guidelines set by the two leaders. The dialogue aimed at achieving common goals is held at various levels. We have exchanged quite productive visits with Secretary Hague, and our respective departments and experts have developed useful working contacts.
An important component of our bilateral relationship is the interparliamentary dialogue which became livelier. The Russian Federal Assembly and the British Parliament are in touch with each other on a range of issues in different formats. Apart from the interaction in the multilateral bodies, such as Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and OSCE, there are regular bilateral meetings, including between the relevant parliamentary committees. The Chairman of the upper Chamber of the Russian parliament visited Great Britain last March, and further parliamentary exchanges between London and Moscow are being planned.
The cooperation between various departments of the two governments further enriches the fabric of the bilateral agenda. The Ministries of Education work hard on an intergovernmental agreement on adoption. The Federal Drug Control Service of Russia and the Britain’s SOCA have conducted several joint operations against drug trafficking. The interaction between Ministries of Justice is also evolving in a constructive fashion. Those are just a few examples.
Most importantly, our relations have a firm and solid economic foundation. In fact, trade and economic cooperation between Russia and the UK has been progressing over many years irrespective of political currents and differences in some other areas. Our bilateral trade in the first half of the year more than doubled and almost caught up with the level preceding the global recession. The UK is also one our top investment partners.
Prime Minister Cameron will bring with him to Moscow an impressive group of Britain’s business leaders. Many of them already have entered the Russian market or intend to do so to take advantage of its huge demand, as well as human and natural resources.
There are plenty of opportunities. Russia is working hard on diversifying its economy, introducing innovative approaches to growth based on modernisation and high-tech industries, and creating better conditions for mutually beneficial investments. Our priorities are very much like those of Britain as regards meeting the challenges of the current difficult situation on the global markets. The two governments have identified six areas of bilateral cooperation that deserve special attention and support. Those are energy and energy efficiency, financial services, including plans for the Moscow Financial Centre, high-tech and nanotechnologies, small and medium businesses, overall business environment and Olympic legacy.
When speaking about our ties, I cannot help mentioning that Russian culture is popular in Britain and the same can be said about British literature, drama, music and film in Russia. We hope that a series of high profile cultural events planned for  the coming year would meet keen interest of the sophisticated British public and foster mutual understanding between our peoples and nations.




LATEST EVENTS

19.08.2015 - Russian Embassy to "Financial Times" on Ukraine



14.08.2015 - Comments of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko on some issues of WWII to the “Independent”

May I join the debate sustained by Anthony Beevor and Mick Hall (11 August). Nobody denies that crimes were committed. But what is not taken into account is the fact that the Red Army (unlike, let’s say, the Americans) saw what the Germans had done on their soil on their way from Stalingrad to Berlin. Almost every soldier and officer had personal accounts to settle. That is why strict discipline was enforced as the Red Army entered German territory, including by the security bodies nobody liked.


14.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comments for Russian media (ITAR-TASS Agency) on the state of Russo-British relationship (30 July, translated from Russian)

QUESTION: What would you say on the present state of our relationship with Britain? It looks like after the May parliamentary elections our countries resumed contacts at political level, if we take the phone call of Prime Minister D.Cameron with President V.Putin and Ph.Hammond and S.Lavrov's meeting in Veinna. Still, the same very tough rhetoric by official London at all levels against Russia over the Ukraine crisis is striking. I mean the statements on 'Russian aggression' etc, and all of it in company with the 'Islamic State' and hacking attacks. Where are things moving, and are there changes for the better?


07.08.2015 - Regarding the comment made by the Home Office on issuing visas to the Russian Embassy staff

We have carefully examined the statement of the Home Office concerning the terms of issuing visas for Russian diplomats and other Embassy staff. In particular, it was said (quoted by "Novosti" news agency) that "diplomats must have right documents to come into UK". Does it mean that the Russian diplomatic and service passports raise suspicions of the British side? Our main concern, however, is delays in issuing visas for the Embassy staff. The Home Office spokesman, avoiding a direct reply, referred to what was said on entry into UK territory by all Russian citizens, which is "making sure false representations were not used to obtain the visa, and no facts were withheld".


06.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comments on the “public inquiry” into the “Litvinenko case”

In 2014 judicial authorities of Great Britain suspended a Coroner’s inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, wherein the Investigative Committee of Russia had the status of an “interested person”. In July 2014, against the background of the tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine, the British government decided to hold, instead, a “public inquiry”.


05.08.2015 - Reply by press-secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the UK to Russian media question on UK’s diminishing Russian diplomatic presence in Great Britain

Question: How do you assess the current bilateral relations between Russia and the UK on the visa track, have you advanced? Answer: The word “progress” means moving forward. That does not apply to the present picture of our bilateral relationship as the British side is trying to shape it.


03.08.2015 - Russian Embassy comment on the "Financial Times" editorial on the Litvinenko case

Dear Sir, I find outrageous your editorial on the Litvinenko public inquiry (3 August). It proceeds from the assumption that the inquiry is up to the standards of due process and a competitive scrutiny of evidence it provides for. It is far from that. In the first place, there is nothing public in the inquiry, which will consider the British special services' evidence in secret. It was the main reason, why Russia's Investigative Committee, participating in the Coroner's inquest (now suspended), decided not to be party to the public inquiry. It is notable that one line of evidence in the public inquiry is totally absent. I mean the fact of finding traces of polonium in the restaurant Abracadabra in Jermyn Street two days before Alexander Litvinenko was presumably poisoned in the Millennium Hotel. The owner David West was killed later on and his restaurant closed. Then another crucial witness Boris Berezovsky died under the circumstances, not established by the Coroner's inquest, which ended in an open verdict. Not to mention that any evidence, including his intention to return to Russia, was pushed aside to ensure that suicide version had no credible alternative.


03.08.2015 - Answer to British media question about foreign air activities on Russian borders

Thank you for your request regarding the activities of foreign Air Forces on Russian borders. It is important to look at the Russian Air Force flights (which consists mostly of training sorties) in international airspace within the broader context of NATO countries and their partners’ activities on our borders. Feel free to use those numbers that illustrate the point – i.e. the drastic increase in the activity of foreign reconnaissance and combat planes near Russian borders.


31.07.2015 - Ambassador Yakovenko's message for the book of condolences of the Indian High Commission

I extend my sincere condolences to the people and the Government of India on the passing away of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India. He will be remembered in Russia and by the international community at large as a highly respected leader at some of the defining moments in modern history. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.


29.07.2015 - Ambassador Yakovenko writes to David Smith and comments on Chatham House report on Russia

Dear Mr Smith, I am sorry for delay in my response to your letter. I wholly share your concern over the state of the Russo-British relationship. In the first place, Russia's policy in the Ukraine crisis was always reactive. Our Western partners admit that when they accuse us of both improvisation and pursuing a 'grand strategy'. It was not us who started all this destabilising mess. Not many care to have a look at its origins. So, I'll try to set the record straight on some key points.



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