Putin: UK-Russia relations 'not at their best'

Russian president acknowledges strains in relations with Britain at a meeting on fringes of G20

Putin: UK-Russia relations 'not at their best'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Relations between Britain and Russia are “not at their best”, Vladimir Putin told David Cameron at a meeting in Antalya on Monday.

Recent strains between the two countries over Syria and Ukraine were acknowledged when the two leaders meet at the fringes of the G20 summit in Turkey, but U.K. officials said the meeting was a “constructive, measured discussion”.

However, Putin reportedly thanked Cameron for sharing British intelligence that suggested ISIL may have bombed a Russian airliner that crashed shortly after taking off from an Egyptian resort last month.

“As far as bilateral relations are concerned, they are not at their best, but there is some upturn, including through the intergovernmental commission," Tass reported Putin as saying during the meeting.

“The recent tragic events in France show that we need to — and we should have done that a long time ago — join forces in the fight against this evil.”

One point of contention between the two countries is the role of President Bashar al-Assad in any future Syrian administration. Britain has adamantly insisted Assad must go as part of any peace deal, while Russia has expressed concern over the need to maintain a state apparatus in the country.

However, speaking to BBC radio before meeting Putin, Cameron appeared to suggest there was flexibility in Britain’s position on the Syrian president: “The disagreement has been that we think Assad should go at once and obviously Russia has taken a different view and we have to find a settlement where Assad leaves and there is a government that bring Syria together.

“We mustn't let the gap between us be the altar on which this country of Syria is slaughtered.”

The Guardian reported that while Russia has proposed holding elections in which Assad could take part, Britain has not changed its position that the Syrian president must stand down.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Kasım 2015, 14:49