» Monday, July 7, 2008


Asked about the meeting with President Medvedev, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister had done a clip within the last hour which covered this. He also said some words at the start of the meeting with Mr Medvedev. Following the meeting the Prime Minister described the meeting as constructive. The meeting lasted just over an hour, which was about twice as long as originally planned. The Prime Minister congratulated Mr Medvedev on the victory of Zenit St Petersburg over the Scottish team Rangers, and praised the Russian performance at Euro 2008.

On the serious issues, the Prime Minister raised the three main outstanding issues that we had with Russia – that was the Litvinenko case, the issue relating to BP, and the issues relating to the British Council. On BP, clearly this was primarily a commercial matter between the two companies but there were some issues relating to visas for BP staff that the Prime Minister raised. It was clear that we were not going to solve all of these problems in one meeting, but it was important that we had a constructive relationship with Russia that allowed us to raise and discuss some of these difficult issues with them. They also discussed some of the other issues on which we were much closer to Russia. They had a discussion about the situation in Zimbabwe, they talked about issues relating to energy and oil markets, and they also talked about the global economy, climate change and food prices.

Asked if the Prime Minister was satisfied that enough visas had now been issued to BP employees to make this joint venture work properly, and if not what did he ask the President to do about it, the PMS replied that the number of visas that BP needed for its employees was obviously a matter for BP, but insofar as they were facing difficulties, this was an issue that the Prime Minister raised, and Mr Medvedev assured the Prime Minister that these applications would be treated in the normal way.

Asked if the Prime Minister specifically asked President Medvedev to reconsider his decision not to extradite Andrei Lugovoi over the Litvinenko case, the PMS replied that he was not going to get into a blow by blow account of specifically how and what form of language was used in these discussions, but the issue of Mr Litvinenko and the accusations that had been made about Mr Lugovoi were raised.

Asked what proportion of the meeting was spent on discussing the three critical issues mentioned, the PMS replied that he did not have a stop watch with him, but they probably spent just under half the meeting on the three difficult issues, and just over half the meeting on some of the other issues. This was the first time that they had met, and as he had said it was a good meeting and a constructive meeting. They had spoken on the phone shortly after Mr Medvedev was appointed and the Prime Minister looked forward to further meetings with Mr Medvedev in the future.

Asked if there were any plans for further meetings with Mr Medvedev, the PMS replied that he was sure they would be able to find opportunities in the future.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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