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David Miliband(Archived), London
I've now finished my Moscow programme. You can see my press conference with FM Lavrov here. We have reviewed difficult issues in bilateral relations, and discussed the whole range of international challenges on which Britain and Russia have a responsibility to work together as Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. I met NGOs, human rights defenders, businesses, politicians (and ex-politicians - President Gorbachev). And I met my remarkable great-great aunt/second cousin twice removed, Sofia.
I wanted my visit to add drive and depth to British/Russian relations. That does not mean ignoring difficult issues; but it can't mean taking out one's frustration about those issues by neglecting opportunities for joint work.
The best hope for the sort of Russia we want is serious and principled engagement. The statements we signed on Afghanistan, nuclear disarmament and non proliferation, and the Middle East show how much we have in common. We need to work together on Iran. We have a thriving trade and investment relationship which our two governments have a strong interest in promoting. Peter Mandelson and Deputy PM Kudrin will be co-chairing our bilateral steering committee on trade and investment in London later this week.
It’s best not to have illusions. The Russians don't. Their history warns against it. But we need each other, so we’d better make it work. Today we are a step forward from yesterday.
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