MOSCOW, September 12 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would not extradite its citizen (Andrei Lugovoi) to London in connection with the “Litvinenko case”. “This will never happen,” said the head of state, recalling at the joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in the Kremlin the appropriate article of the Russian Constitution that prohibits extraditing Russian citizens for trial to other countries.
“This article stipulates that a Russian citizen cannot be extradited at the request of a foreign state for trial or investigation,” Medvedev said. “This will never happen, no matter what,” he stressed. “This should be understood and respected. We, too, have a lot of questions as to how some or other decisions are fulfilled, say, on the British territory. But we don’t talk about this. Therefore, I do stress again, that we should have respect for our legal systems. Whoever is faced with this question, the answer will be the same – this is impossible, remember this.”
“First of all, there should be a juridical rather than political appraisal of some or other situation,” Medvedev said. “The question of the ‘Litvinenko case’ should be viewed through the prism of law; any other attitude is harmful,” Medvedev noted. In this connection he expressed the view that disputed questions should not hamper the development of positive relations between Moscow and London.
Medvedev described economic relations between Russia and Great Britain as “very good and almost excellent”. “I said today that we have the 40 billion investment of British companies [into the Russian economy], but the structure of these investments is far from optimal, as it is mainly connected with financing operations for trade in hydrocarbons,” the Russian president noted. “It is, certainly, desirable that the investment balance should be somewhat different. So we have things to work with in the area of the trade and economic relations,” the president said.
“Political contacts never broke off, but they were complicated by difficult questions,” Medvedev pointed out. “We began discussing with David [Cameron] these complicated matters, and, I believe, we managed largely to cope with the existing complexities”. As to “difficult questions”, “we take a clear position, stating outright what is possible and what is impossible from the legal viewpoint,” the Russian president said.
David Cameron has stressed, in his turn, that he does not ignore the “Litvinenko case.” However, this problem has not led to the freezing of relations between London and Moscow. He sees no reason that can prevent the effort to build stronger relations in the economy and international politics.
Cameron said there should be joint work on such matters as stability and peace in the Middle East, on global economic problems in the framework of the Group of Twenty and problems of the Eurozone and there must be the effort for economic progress.