The UK authorities decided to go for rapprochement with Russia, expecting that the same step will be the US President Donald trump, writes The Independent, citing two high-ranking diplomats.
According to them, to this decision, the authorities came in early March, when the foreign Ministry announced the visit of the head of the Ministry Boris Johnson to Moscow. Meeting of the Russian and the British Minister was to be the first in the last five years. The parties were to discuss the Syrian crisis and the Ukraine, Libya and the fight against terrorism. However, in late March, Johnson has postponed his visit to Moscow, citing the change in the schedule of meetings of foreign Ministers of countries — members of NATO.
However, one senior European diplomat who is based in London, in an interview with the publication said that the British government are ready to reconsider relations with Moscow.
“The UK had to rethink its relations with Russia in light of the fact that the trump will do the same. The British position now is that pragmatism trumps dogmatism”, — said the interlocutor of the newspaper.
He assured that dialogue is important in a context of increased Russian presence in the middle East and North Africa.
“We will not cease to condemn such things as the annexation of Crimea by Russia. But at the same time, it is clear that we must talk with Moscow”, — said the diplomat.
According to another Western policy, criticism of Russia should be, if it is justified. He stressed that cooperation with Russian authorities is particularly necessary in the context of Brexit.
“There is a need for dialogue. We witnessed the terrible events in London and St. Petersburg, which becomes the common threat of terrorism. And in fact we can’t talk about terror and how to fight it, not discussing what is happening in Syria and Libya,” the diplomat said in an interview with The Independent.
The newspaper writes that London may have to change its attitude toward the Libyan issue. Russia is expanding its influence in this country. For example, in Libya until February 2017 were a few dozen private Russian mercenaries, who helped to clear the cement plant in Benghazi. According to representatives in the Libyan army, the Russians appealed for help to the management of the plant, not the official government of the country. However, the General Director of “RSB Group” Oleg Krinitsyn, whose experts defused the object, in conversation with clarified that it was “the official handling of Libya.”
In addition to Libya, the UK and Russia have differences on Syria. The newspaper writes that the Minister of foreign Affairs Boris Johnson are likely to Express concern about the deaths of civilians in the air strikes, which, in the opinion of Western countries, strikes the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, supported by Moscow. Another reason may be the recent chemical attack in Idlib.
Overall, Johnson has taken a tough line towards Russia. In early March he called to increase pressure on Russian authorities over Crimea, which, in his opinion, “was occupied” in 2014. Meanwhile, the international Committee of the house of Commons of the British Parliament urged the foreign Ministry to establish contacts with Moscow. In his opinion, the authorities should conduct “a meaningful and regular political dialogue with the Russian government in a spirit of sincerity and honesty, preserving the core values of the UK.”