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Russia and the U.K. should resume "normal" intergovernmental contacts, Russian First
Russia and the U.K. should resume "normal" intergovernmental contacts, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Friday.

"It is time to return to normal forms of intergovernmental cooperation," said Karasin, who is currently on a visit to London. "This is necessary both for Britain and Russia."

Russia and Britain have been at loggerheads over London's refusal to extradite fugitive ex-oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Chechen emissary Akhmed Zakayev, accused by Moscow of terrorist activities, as well as Moscow's refusal to hand over Andrei Lugovoi, who the U.K. claims murdered intelligence defector Alexander Litvinenko in the British capital in late 2006.

Bilateral ties were further strained by the closure of British Council offices in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg over tax and status violations early this year as well as a dispute over the running of the TNK-BP joint oil venture.

Karasin expressed hope that the issue would "be in the spotlight during the forthcoming meeting of [Russian] President [Dmitry] Medvedev and [U.K.] Prime Minister Gordon Brown."

The two officials are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Washington, set for November 14-15.


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