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Putin visits British premier’s residence, first time after seven years

August 02, 2012, 18:38 UTC+3

The previous time he came to Downing Street was in October 2005 when he took part in a Russia-EU summit

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LONDON, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited 10 Downing Street, the first time after an interval of seven years.

The previous time he came to Downing Street was in October 2005 when he took part in a Russia-EU summit. He held talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair then.

Putin did not have bilateral talks with Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, and his current interlocutor is the incumbent head of the cabinet, David Cameron.

“At the talks, the sides will certainly discuss the Syrian problem,” Putin’ press secretary Dmitry Peskov said prior to the meeting. “Also, we hope for an opportunity to continue dialogue and to bring our arguments to the attention of the British side. Our position on the /Syrian/ problem is very consistent and clear.”

Peskov recalled that Putin and Cameron took up the problem at a meeting of a summit of the G20 in Mexico in June.

He also commented on David Cameron’s claims after the previous meeting that Russia was ostensibly ready to host the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. “We’d rather look at it as a translation problem,” Peskov said.

“The two leaders also plan to discuss the bilateral agenda and in particular the prospects for bilateral trade and investment,” he said adding that Russian-British trade reached $ 21.2 billion in 2011.

“That’s big enough an amount but it falls short of both countries’ potential, and that’s why Putin and Cameron will discuss the things that can be done to help utilize this potential to the full,” he said.

“The Russian side proceeds from the assumption that the existing problems won’t in any way put brake on the expansion of future cooperation in a variety of areas,” Peskov said.

Seven years ago, Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair also focused on cooperation in the energy sector and trade, but on the international plane they found the counteraction to international terrorism to be more important.



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