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Russia's Lavrov urges anti-terror cooperation with British intelligence

RIA Novosti

15:38 02/03/2011 MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s foreign minister says he hopes cooperation between Russian and British intelligence services will help improve damaged relations.

Ties between Russia and Britain worsened sharply after the 2006 murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London.

“We are interested in strengthening cooperation between our intelligence service and those of other countries with good potential, and Britain is certainly among them,” ministry Sergei Lavrov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Wednesday.

Lavrov urged cooperation against terrorism and said he had discussed the issue with British Foreign Secretary William Hague during his visit to London last month.

“Our British partners froze [cooperation] after the Litvinenko affair… but indicated that it didn’t mean that they didn’t want to develop it,” Lavrov said.

He said Britain should act first on un-freezing contacts with Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Tensions remain high after Britain expelled a Russian diplomat from London over allegations of spying in December. The Russian authorities responded in kind.

After meeting Lavrov in London last month, Hague said Britain was seeking a “patient, steady improvement” in ties with Russia but warned that it would take time.

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