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Lavrov tells Johnson only dialog based on mutual respect can improve Moscow-London ties

November 22, 2016, 21:36 UTC+3

The Russian top diplomat says Moscow is ready to take reciprocal steps, if the UK leadership amends its policy towards Russia

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MOSCOW, November 22. /TASS/. Russia is prepared to normalize relations with the UK, if London revises its policy towards Russia and shows readiness for equitable dialogue based on mutual respect, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a telephone conversation with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

"In response to the issue of the bilateral agenda raised by Johnson, Lavrov pointed out that there is no alternative to the normalization of relations through the dialogue based on mutual respect," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Russia’s top diplomat recalled the remarks of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China in September who said that Russia is ready to restore the bilateral relations insofar as its partners are.

"The Russian foreign minister expressed readiness to meet London halfway, if the UK leadership amends its policy towards Russia and confirms its intention to build cooperation on the basis of mutual consideration of interests." "The two sides reaffirmed their support for the 2016 UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature and the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education announced for 2017."

Syrian conflict

The sides also dwelled upon the situation in Syria. 

Russia points to the need of avoiding actions, which contribute to the escalation of the conflict in Syria, and believes it is important to seek separation of the Syrian opposition from terrorists, Lavrov said 

"The two ministers raised the issue of the situation around Syria," the ministry said. "The Russian side noted the need to avoid actions provoking the escalation of the conflict and the importance of practical steps to separate the Syrian opposition from extremists. Russia’s top diplomat voiced deep regret over Washington’s refusal to implement the Russian-US agreements signed on September 9. The two ministers reiterated the importance of the comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which, demands that the intra-Syrian talks are launched at an early date without any preconditions."

In addition to the prospects for normalizing the bilateral relations, during the conversation initiated by the British side the two ministers discussion cooperation in resolving the crises in Yemen, Libya, Ukraine and the Cyprus settlement.

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