» Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with President Bush’s characterisation and comments of the pressures facing dissidents across the world, especially with regards to Russia and its reform process, as it appeared to be "derailed", the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that as he had said this morning, people had to only go back to the EU Summit at Lahkti to see that there were concerns across Europe about developments and relations with Russia. As the PMOS had said yesterday, it was up to Russia to decide what sort of relationship it wanted; we wanted it to be constructive, but part of being constructive meant sharing the same values both politically and economically. The question was: would Russia want that too?

Asked if we felt that Russia was taking their lead from China by having democratic reforms take second place behind economic ones, the PMOS replied that people had to look at each country on its own merits. The key point for Russia was that if it wanted, for example, to have international investment one a sustained basis, then it had to provide a stable environment within which that investment could take place. It was a matter for Russia to decide whether that happened or not.

Put that stable did not necessarily mean democratic, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had in the past expressed concerns about human rights and liberty issues within Russia, and we had not been shy about expressing those views. Equally, however, there were two sides of the coin, and in terms of the economics, it was a simple fact of history that democracies tended to be more stable places in which to invest than in countries run differently.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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