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Irresponsible Russia must halt hostilities, warns Theresa May
Gepost door  redactie redactie Gepostop  28-06-2019 22:56 28-06-2019 22:56 563  keer gelezen 563 keer gelezen  0 reacties0 reacties News News
NewsTheresa May has used her first full meeting with President Putin since the Salisbury novichok attack to warn that a normal relationship is impossible until Russia halts its “irresponsible and destabilising activity”.

The prime minister remained resolutely unsmiling as she met the Russian leader. They shook hands before sitting down for talks, initially with all aides except two translators told to leave the room.

Hours after Mr Putin declared liberalism “obselete” Mrs May vowed to “unequivocally defend liberal democracy”, demanded that the two military intelligence officials accused of the Skripal poisonings be “brought to justice” and hit out at the country’s “hostile interventions” around the world.

The pair met on the margins of the G20 summit in Osaka, the prime minister’s last major global event before she stands down next month. Afterwards a Downing Street spokesman said that Mrs May “told the president that there cannot be a normalisation of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilising activity that threatens the UK and its allies — including hostile interventions in other countries, disinformation and cyber attacks — which undermine Russia’s standing in the world.

“The prime minister said that the use of a deadly nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury formed part of a wider pattern of unacceptable behaviour and was a truly despicable act that led to the death of a British citizen, Dawn Sturgess.

“She was clear that the UK has irrefutable evidence that Russia was behind the attack, based on painstaking investigations and cooperation with our allies. She said that this behaviour could never be repeated and that the UK wants to see the two individuals responsible brought to justice.”

Only this morning Mr Putin dismissed the Salisbury incident as “fuss about spies and counter-spies” that was “not worth serious interstate relations” and insisted “traitors must be punished”.

The UK believes that Moscow’s GRU military intelligence agency was behind the Salisbury attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Both survived the assault but in July 2018 Dawn Sturgess died after coming into contact with novichok, a nerve agent, which is believed to have been in a perfume bottle.

Today’s was Mrs May and Mr Putin’s first formal bilateral meeting since relations went into diplomatic deep freeze, although the two leaders did speak briefly at last year’s G20 in Argentina.

In an interview with the Financial Times on the eve of the summit the Russian president said “this spy story” was “not worth five kopecks — or even five pounds, for that matter.”
He added: “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished.”

In the interview Mr Putin declared that “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose” because people were turning against immigration and multiculturalism.
Mrs May’s spokesman said that she told the Russian leader that “the UK would continue to unequivocally defend liberal democracy and protect the human rights and equality of all groups, including LGBT people”.

Today Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to succeed Mrs May and a former foreign secretary, was asked if he wanted to normalise relations with Russia.
“Every foreign secretary, every prime minister . . . comes into office thinking that they can have a reset, a normalisation, thinking they can turn things out . . . They try, they try and Russia always lets you down.

“I wanted things to get better in our relations with Russia. It’s very very difficult to find any excuse for their behaviour. One of the things I was proudest of when I was foreign secretary was actually orchestrating a global response after what happened in the UK.”
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said: “What I find really obsolete are authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs.”

Mr Putin also mocked the UK for allowing Conservative party members to choose the next prime minister. “In your country, one leader has left and the second leader, who is for all intents and purposes the top figure in the state, is not elected by a direct vote of the people, but by the ruling party,” he said. “It is different in Russia, as we are a democratic country.”
Jeremy Hunt hit back: “Parliamentary democracy can be a bit difficult to grasp if you’ve never had to bother with it.”

Olga Litvinenko, a Russian opposition politician who fled into exile on Britain after estrangement from her father, an oligarch close to Mr Putin, warned Mrs May that she risked being used by the Russian leader to rehabilitate his international standing.
“Putin wants to be part of world society,” Ms Litvinenko wrote in a letter to Mrs May after the planned meeting became public. “However he just plays with the government of democratic countries.
“Please do not believe Putin when you speak to him at the summit. I apply to you to prevent the danger of Russian corrupt practices incursion into western civilisation and block Putin’s attempts to damage democracy in western countries.”

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