Business Secretary Vince Cable gave a wide-ranging interview in Moscow in which he discussed his mission to boost business with Russia and secure fair and proportionate treatment for the Greenpeace detainees.
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The Minister is here with a major business delegation and in between a busy programme of official engagements spoke to the BBC.
He told Moscow correspondent Daniel Sandford: “I’m primarily here in Moscow to promote British trade and exports which create jobs back in the UK.
“ I am here with 30 delegates from a variety of small and medium sized British companies, quite a few of which are in the sports business, building stadia, while another is proposing to design a new a city on the border with China. We are trying to build on the success of the Olympics in London.
““We already have rapidly expanding trade with Russia. British exports to Russia have grown by almost 80 per cent since 2009 and Russia is now the fourth biggest market for goods outside the US, EU and China.
“I met with the Russian organisers of the World Cup this morning. Britain delivered the Olympic Games on time and on budget and impressed the world and we want to build on that legacy.”
Turning to news that the Greenpeace detainees are being moved from Murmansk to St Petrburg today Mr Cable said: “I spoke to Greenpeace before I left the UK and one of their main concerns was lack of knowledge and clarity about what is going on. The news that has emerged today that the detainees will be moved to St Petersburg will be well received by their families.
“I will be raising it again in my discussions with Russian Ministers and I will continue to make the case for the importance of fair and proportionate treatment.”
He continued: “We have been raising this issue repeatedly from the Prime Minister downwards. The Embassy is working to support the individuals concerned and our main priority is to ensure that they get fair and proper treatment.
“I am leading on business discussions in Russia but I will make sure that this issue is properly raised and that we make progress with it.”