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Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirms preparations underway for Johnson’s visit to Moscow

October 14, 18:51 updated at: October 14, 18:57 UTC+3

Russia does not understand why British officials had announced the visit unilaterally and prematurely, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said

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© Mikhail Dzhaparidze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. Preparations are in full swing for UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s first visit to Moscow, but Russia does not understand why British officials had announced the visit unilaterally and prematurely, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told reporters on Saturday.

"True, we and British counterparts are making preparations for a visit of the UK foreign secretary to Moscow," he said. "However, it is unclear why the British have betrayed the traditional diplomatic ethics. Usually, the sides announce a visit together and closer to the agreed date of the event.".

Russia hopes to improve the trajectory of bilateral relations during UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Moscow, Titov said.

"First, we mean to focus on how to normalize Russian-British relations though dialogue, which should not be fraught with either factitious references or limitations," he said. "We hope that while preparations are underway for Johnson’s visit to Moscow, we will be able to map out a positive trajectory of bilateral relations and of the international agenda. Definitely, much will depend on our counterparts.".

London’s references to deep divisions with Moscow over Syria indicate a misunderstanding of objectives of the Russian counterterrorism operation in that Arab state, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister said.

Commenting on preparations for UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Moscow, the diplomat said, "References to deep divisions between our countries, in particular over Syria, unfortunately, mirror a fundamental misunderstanding of the goals of Russia’s counterterrorism operation in that country.".

Visa issues weigh on relations of Moscow and London so a backlog of barriers and obstacles in visa-related issues should be cleared, he said.

"The bilateral relationship is plagued with visa issues. An array of problems and barriers have accumulated here, but they should be lifted," Titov said commenting on preparations for UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Moscow.

"Among the concrete issues seeking practical solutions, I can mention resumption of the intergovernmental commission, particularly with regard to the need of economic dialogue between our countries’ business quarters," he said.

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