Brown Fails to Thaw out Relations with Russia; POLITICS
Gordon Brown failed to thaw relations with Moscow yesterday after his first face-to-face crunch talks with the new Russian president produced no end to the deadlock on key disputes.
The Prime Minister spent an hour locked in discussions with Dmitry Medvedev at the G8 summit in Japan, at which he said he raised "all the difficult questions" over Russia's policies. But they appeared to have produced no commitment to action on key issues such as Russia's refusal to extradite the chief suspect in the London radiation poisoning murder of dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
Other controversial moves on the table included the forced closure of some operations of the British Council cultural organisation and an escalating commercial dispute between BP and Russian oil giants.
Downing Street played down the continued freeze yesterday, insisting such problems were never going to be solved in one meeting and holding out the prospect of future meetings.
And Mr Brown pointed to "common ground" in areas such as Middle East peace and Iran's nuclear ambition. The talks came after Mr Brown hailed "growing support" for tougher sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe after G8 leaders debated the situation with African leaders. …