MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev hopes that a visit by representatives of the UK House of Lords to Moscow will help recover interparliamentary relations between Russia and the UK, as both countries have many areas of cooperation and mutual interest.
"As far as I can see, you treat your visit here as a personal initiative, and not as a visit of a delegation of the House of Lords. We understand this. We would like to see these meetings in Moscow as a precursor to recovering our relations at the level of houses, at the level of parliaments. The Russian side is ready for this," Kosachev said during a meeting with members of the UK House of Lords held on Friday at the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament).
He noted that Russian lawmakers welcome the visit of their British colleagues. "This is a rather difficult decision in current conditions, given the current state of relations between Russia and Great Britain, taking into account the virtually frozen interparliamentary cooperation between the states," the Russian senator said.
"We can endlessly focus on our well-known differences, be it Crimea, the developments in southeastern Ukraine or the Skripal case, however, it is absolutely clear that we have a broad agenda and identical interests in combating a great number of common challenges and threats: terrorism, illegal migration, global warming, environmental issues. The agenda is extensive, and, unfortunately, we do not cooperate on it, whereas our adversaries, our opponents are using it to their gain," the senator went on.
Contacts with UK lawmakers
The Russian senator stated that in the past 5-6 years, there has been practically no contact between Russian and UK lawmakers. "If such contacts do take place, it only happens on the sidelines of interparliamentary assemblies — the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In our opinion, this is not enough," he commented.
Kosachev considers the current situation "strange" as Russia maintains "intensive and productive dialogue" with parliaments of other EU and NATO member states, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries. "To my mind, the lack of parliamentary dialogue between Russia and the UK is a wasted opportunity. We understand that intergovernmental relations are complicated. I am confident that lawmakers are able to maintain dialogue despite the difficulties of this kind and to develop new constructive ideas for these relations to go back to normal," he added.
The meeting is held at the Russian Federation Council on the initiative of the British side.
On November 26, Kosachev met with UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow upon the request of the UK diplomat. This was the first meeting with the UK ambassador held at the Russian Federation Council since the beginning of his term in 2015.