The Prime Minister met Russian President Vladimir Putin today for an hour in the margins of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The talks focussed on terrorism, Syria, Ukraine, and the UK-Russia relationship.
The Prime Minister reiterated his condolences on the tragic loss of life in the Metrojet air disaster in Sharm el-Sheikh. President Putin thanked the Prime Minister for his condolences and for the information the UK had shared with Russia following the crash. They agreed on the importance of working together to strengthen airport security, noting the importance of tourism to Egypt’s economy.
On Syria, the Prime Minister and President agreed that the international community needed to find a way to work together to bring the fighting to an end, and to focus on the shared aim of destroying ISIL. They agreed Vienna was an important first step and that foreign ministers should follow this up promptly. The Prime Minister made clear his view that Assad’s indiscriminate violence against civilians made it impossible for him to be accepted by the majority of the Syrian people, and that a transition to a new government able to represent all Syrians was essential.
On Ukraine, the Prime Minister and President Putin agreed on the importance of implementing the Minsk Agreements in full. They also discussed the trade and economic relationship between Russia and Ukraine, and the Prime Minister repeated his view that Ukraine’s choice of free trade with the EU does not mean it cannot trade freely with Russia.
They also discussed the bilateral relationship, agreeing that despite some significant policy disagreements there remained positive aspects to the UK-Russia relationship, noting in particular the current Cosmonauts Exhibition in London and the forthcoming voyage by a British astronaut to the International Space Station with Russian colleagues.