» Monday, July 16, 2007


Asked if the Prime Minister had any plans to meet President Putin, or any plans to speak to him, the PMS replied that they had spoken prior to him becoming Primer Minister, indeed they had met prior to him becoming Prime Minister, and clearly there had been contact with the Russian Government as you would expect. There were no plans for any future meetings, but obviously these things were kept under constant review.

Asked if there was scope to try a suspect in the Litvinenko case in his absence, the PMS replied that he was not a lawyer or legal expert. We had made an extradition request, and clearly that was what we were seeking to pursue.

Put to him that with our relations with Russia on a downward path, and relations with the US not exactly on the up, were we looking for some sort of "third way", the PMS replied that he realised that there had been attempts to characterise the American relationship in that way, but as the Prime Minister emphasised on Friday, and as the Foreign Secretary emphasised on Sunday, we want a strong relationship with the US and we see the US as our single most important bilateral relationship. On Russia more generally, we wanted to seek to have a constructive relationship with Russia across a range of issues, Iran and Kosovo for example, and we had a very strong commercial relationship with them. But in relation to the Litvinenko case, as we had said many times, this was a serious crime, committed on British soil against a British citizen.

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

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