Russia, Britain pledge to enhance cooperation on Afghanistan

08:21, October 14, 2010      

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued a joint statement on Afghanistan here on Wednesday, pledging to enhance cooperation on Afghanistan.

The two countries "discussed enhanced cooperation" supporting Afghan government, "in its efforts to ensure security and stability," said the statement as quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

"The spread of narcotics, terrorism and violent extremism from Afghanistan continues to pose trans-boundary threats to Britain, Russia and our international partners," it said, adding that the two senior diplomats have agreed to joint tackle these shared threats.

Meanwhile Lavrov said Russia was ready to discuss the easing of visa regime with Britain.

"Though Britain is not included in the Schengen zone we hope to provide more comfortable conditions for visa applicants, particularly those who are doing business and are participating in educational and cultural exchanges," Lavrov said.

Ties between Moscow and London have been strained in recent years over a number of issues such as the August conflict between Russia and Georgia, the dispute on the murder of exiled former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, as well as Russia's decision to close down offices of the British Council in the cities of St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.

During Wednesday's talks, both Lavrov and Hague said the two countries were willing to cooperate and settle the remaining differences by means of dialogue.

This is Hague's first visit to Russia since taking office in May.

Source: Xinhua


(Editor:张茜)

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