19 Dec 2019 15:49

Russian State Duma speaker holds first meeting with UK MPs since 2016

MOSCOW. Dec 19 (Interfax) - Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin met with UK House of Lords members John Desmond Waverley, Desmond Browne, and Richard Balfe on Thursday, the press service of the State Duma said.

"We can speak about the restoration of interparliamentary contacts because this is the first meeting between deputies of the State Duma and members of the UK parliament. When there is no dialogue, there is no trust. A dialogue is emerging, so there will be trust too. In any case, there will be a better understanding of each other, and we can speak about the development of relations," the press service quoted Volodin as saying.

"It was an open conversation. We didn't dodge acute topics. It [the conversation] can be regarded as the start of our interparliamentary dialogue," Volodin said.

The participants in the meeting agreed that the dialogue needs to continue within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Arctic Council. They also discussed the possibility of holding a conference next year between countries of Europe, the United States, Israel, and other countries on defending the historical truth about World War II.

State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy, for his part, said that the historic results of WWII had been discussed at the meeting.

"A suggestion was put forth to meet with foreign parliamentarians and discuss the need to tell the truth about that war. A format in which this dialogue can be held should also be discussed," Tolstoy said.

The sides "could also discuss the possibility of holding a conference of European parliamentarians," he said.

Volodin and John Desmond Forbes Anderson, 3rd Viscount Waverley, first met on the sidelines of the 4th Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries' Parliaments in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan on September 24, 2019. At that meeting, they brought up the need to restore ties between the two countries' parliaments.

The last contact between the Russian and UK parliaments took place on April 26, 2016 at London's initiative, when members of the Russian State Duma's Defense Committee met with a delegation from the Defense Select Committee of the UK House of Commons.