25 November 2015
Moscow: 21:16
London: 18:16

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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.


18.11.2015 - Syrian solution demands truly inclusive compromise (article by Ambassador Yakovenko for the Daily Telegraph supplement, 17 November 2015)

Upon Russia’s insistence, a truly inclusive multilateral process was launched in Vienna on Oct. 30 to help find a compromise solution to the Syrian crisis. Iran, a major player, took part for the first time, as well as China. All agreed to the U.S., Russia and the U.N. co-chairing the meeting. Heated exchanges took place on the issue of President Bashar al-Assad’s future. As was the case three years ago, this could derail the entire process. But ultimately it was agreed to disagree on that issue. Lack of agreement on this subject resulted in three more years of bloody impasse. We should know better than that this time. All the more so that those are the differences between the outside players. Why not leave it to the Syrians to decide?

17.11.2015 - Welcoming points at the Russian-British business forum, dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Trade Mission in the UK (17 November, 9.00, Royal Garden Hotel)

Ladies and gentlemen! I am delighted to welcome you at the Russian-British Business Forum, dedicated to such a significant date – the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Trade Mission in the United Kingdom. It gives me special pleasure to congratulate our colleagues on this occasion, since this trade delegation established to promote trade links with the United Kingdom in 1920 and headed by People's Commissar of Foreign Trade Leonid Krasin became the first in history Soviet Russia's trade representation abroad. In fact, it set an example for a whole network of Russian trade missions abroad, which are still successfully operating. Ever since its establishment the Trade Mission has continued to work hard to promote business relations between Russia and Great Britain. It helps companies in both countries to find partners and enter each other’s markets.

29.10.2015 - Russian Embassy on the Times editorial

Your editorial, which accompanied Ambassador Yakovenko’s interview (26 October) is full of grossly misleading statements on Russia’s foreign policy. May I set the record straight before your readership?

23.10.2015 - Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Financial Times”

Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Financial Times”

21.10.2015 - Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Guardian”

Letter of Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy A.Kramarenko to the “Guardian”

19.10.2015 - Why Russia had to intervene in Syria (article by Ambassador Yakovenko published in The Independent)

Combating international terrorism has long been one of the top priorities of Russia's foreign policy. We have been consistently advocating genuinely global efforts in countering that evil. The fight against terrorism must be conducted on a universal legal basis, starting with the UN Charter. That is why Russia has been unable to join the US-led “global coalition” against Isis. The coalition was established in circumvention of the UN Security Council, and its operations in Syria violate the sovereignty of that country.

13.10.2015 - "Russian airstrikes won't solve the crisis" because they are Russian? (article by Andrey A. Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, published in "The Scotsman")

Having read your leader comments "Russian airstrikes won't solve crisis" from 30th September and "Effort needed to rein in lone wolf" from 2nd October I cannot help but notice that they represent a U-turn compared to your previous instalments (for instance, from 17th July "Conservatives made to look very bad again" and from 21st July "PM needs to do more to beat IS").

12.10.2015 - Letter to the Editor of The Sunday Times

On 11 October 2015 The Sunday Times published the article “RAF ready to shoot down Russian aircraft over Syria” which referred to “three senior Cabinet ministers and senior Defence sources”. Given clarifications from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, stating publicly that “reports about RAF rules of engagement in Iraq are inaccurate”, one may conclude that your newspaper was spreading rumours, which could have grave consequences for our bilateral relationship with Britain, and far beyond.

11.10.2015 - Answer by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to Russian media question regarding Syria

- Can you comment on the British media reports that UK Government has given the green light to RAF pilots participating in the operation against ISIS in Iraq airspace, to shoot down Russian combat planes? - These media reports are worrying, as they refer to senior Cabinet members. We have urgently requested explanations from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

08.10.2015 - Ambassador Yakovenko answers media questions on Syria

QUESTION: According to official statements the British Government intends to request Parliament's consent to extend anti-Isis air strikes to Syria. In another development, the 'FT' reported that the West and its allies in the region on the eve of 30 September were planning to establish so called 'safe zones' and no-fly zones to protect them behind Russia's back. What could you say on that? ANSWER: Britain is a sovereign nation and is free to make her own decisions. But it has to be noted that Russia's military assistance is provided at the request of the Syrian Government, i.e. fully in line with international law. Will Damascus request the British to assist in the same way, I don't know.

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