Russian Ambassador to the UK Yury Fedotov: Russia to continue to seek Berezovsky, Zakayev extradition from the UK
Russia and the United Kingdom have not made significant progress toward overcoming their disagreements of late, but the tone of dialogue between them has improved, said Russian Ambassador to the UK Yury FedotovRussia and the United Kingdom have not made significant progress toward overcoming their disagreements of late, but the tone of dialogue between them has improved, said Russian Ambassador to the UK Yury Fedotov in an interview with Interfax.
"The intensification of political dialogue has not so far brought about noticeable progress in overcoming the well-known problems in our bilateral relations, which occurred because of London," Fedotov said.
Russia and the United Kingdom have still not resumed interaction in combating terrorism and negotiations on facilitating visa regulations, he said.
"The fact that people accused by the Russian justice system of committing crimes are hiding in Britain is also bound to affect our relations," he said.
"Many of these problems are certainly in place and are not becoming less acute," Fedotov said. "It is understandable that real interests of our countries do not always coincide. The existing differences cannot disappear on their own and require permanent attention," he said.
At the same time, "the general tonality of our relations is changing for the better," Fedotov said. During contacts at the G8 summit in Toyako and the G20 summit in Washington, Russia and the UK reached understanding "regarding the need to bring bilateral political relations out of the current deadlock."
Meetings between the Russian and British leaders on the sidelines of these summits have helped improve cooperation on the most pressing international problems, Fedotov said.
"The general situation in the world dictates the need to listen better to each other and try to reach compromises," he said.
"We expect that positive dynamism that has lately taken shape in our contacts with the British at the high political level will ultimately provide preconditions for removing these irritants, which would only benefit both parties," Fedotov said.
He also said that Russia would continue to seek businessman Boris Berezovsky‘s and Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev‘s extradition from the United Kingdom.
"We are continuing to actively seek the extradition of Russian citizens against whom criminal cases have been opened and who are hiding here. Relevant requests are being regularly forwarded to British authorities," Fedotov said.
"Unfortunately, there have been no results so far," he said.
"British courts in most cases even do not consider documents provided by the Russian Prosecutor General‘s Office, saying that the people who have been granted political asylum here cannot be turned in to Russia. As for the government institutions, which, by the way, grant political asylum, they are telling us that extradition is within the jurisdiction of the independent judicial system. This is the kind of juggling we are seeing," Fedotov said.
This situation inevitably affects relationship between Moscow and London, he said.
"The fact that people accused by the Russian justice system of committing crimes are continuing to hide in Britain is bound to affect the atmosphere of our relations," he said.
Russian ambassador said also that Moscow expected London to agree to the consideration of the so-called Litvinenko case at a Russian court.
"Emotions on this problem were overheated in the previous period. The issue was driven into a political dead end, and therefore it is difficult to expect some magical decision now," Fedotov said.
He, however, expressed the hope that Moscow and London could cooperate more constructively.
"We expect our partners to listen to our proposal on holding judicial hearings on the Litvinenko case at a Russian court, using documents provided by the British side," he said.
At the same time Fedotov underlined that The United Kingdom remained a leading investor in the Russian economy, Fedotov said.
"Despite the unfavorable international financial situation, the United Kingdom still remains a leading investor in the Russian economy. It is holding the second position in terms of current investments and the fourth in terms of accumulated ones," Fedotov said.
As of the end of September 2008, the amount of accumulated British investments in the Russian economy had grown by 29.8% to $31.3 billion compared to September 2007, thus making up 12.5% of all accumulated foreign investments in Russia, he said.
As for accumulated Russian investments in the British economy, their volume remains quite modest - around $900 million, according to official statistics, he said.
"It should be noted that this indicator does not reflect real investments made through companies registered in third countries or offshore zones, like, for instance, the purchases of stakes in British football clubs," he said.
"The London Stock Exchange remains appealing to Russian businesses as usual," Fedotov said. "Stocks of about 60 of our companies are traded on its main floor, although activity of new placements has somewhat declined in the past several months," he said.
The UK is also remaining one of Russia‘s largest economic partners, Fedotov said. "Trade and investment cooperation between our countries has been expanding in the past several years," he said.
Trade turnover between Russia and the UK grew by 35% to $22.5 billion in 2008, Fedotov said. Russia‘s exports to the Ukrainian last year grew by 35% to $14.9 billion and imports from that country by 33% to $7.6 billion, he said.