Miliband: bilateral differences will not obscure our relationship

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called his talks with the head of British Foreign Office successful and fruitful.

He said he is grateful to David Miliband for the productive talks and expressed hope they could help each work more closely on the issues the two countries have not reached a consensus on yet.

Sergey Lavrov and David Miliband media conference.

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The Foreign Ministers of Russia and the UK have discussed non-proliferation, the Middle East, and the extradition request for Andrey Lugovoy at a meeting in Moscow.

When he met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, David Miliband said they wouldn’t try to paper over their differences, but would search for common ground.

“We are not allowing bilateral differences to obscure bilateral strength in our relationships of culture, of business or of politics, nor are we going to allow bilateral differences stand in our way of working together on the international stage. And I think it is very important that countries like Britain or Russia do show leadership on the international stage,” commented David Miliband.

“We have signed three joint statements: on nuclear proliferation with a conference to be held next year; on Afghanistan; and on the peace settlement in the Middle East. The documents define the common stance of Russia and the United Kingdom on these pressing international issues,” revealed Lavrov.

As for Iran’s nuclear programme, Lavrov said he expects Iran to accept IAEA proposal on enriching uranium abroad and called for an immediate meeting of the sextet on Iran.

He also said Russia would like to see EU ratifying the Lisbon Treaty as soon as possible to accelerate elaborating the future partnership agreement between Russia and the EU.

Speaking about the notorious Lugovoy case, Lavrov stated that his extradition to UK is absolutely out of the question.

“Our position has not changed,” Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference. “I believe our British colleagues understand that their demands that we amend our Constitution are absolutely unrealistic.”

“The horrific murder of Mr. Litvinenko in 2006 has been followed up by our independent prosecuting authorities and they have sent substantial information to their Russian counterparts. I have every reason to believe that the work of the Crown Prosecuting Service has been full and has engaged in all the appropriate mechanisms for international cooperation on this issue,” stated Miliband during a media conference.

“Let me just add we have not received the full set of documents necessary to hold an investigation in Russia in line with our laws and Constitution. Our prosecutors have their own criteria and rules. Our British colleagues do know what documents we need to be able to carry out the investigation on Russian soil,” retorted Lavrov.

Andrey Lugovoy, suspected by British police of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, has told RT that he sees no obstacles for London to launch an investigation in Russia.

"Unfortunately, what we're hearing from the British foreign minister is just more parroting. It's 'extradition this', 'extradition that' – the same thing over and over again. Sending the papers to Russia and starting an investigation here would have been very easy, but they still haven't done this. It seems like they just don't have anything to say," Lugovoy said.