British PM urges Russia to uphold rule of law

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 11:50 hrs

Moscow, Sep 12 (IANS/RIA Novosti) British businesses need guarantees that assets will not be 'unlawfully taken away from them' before they can start work in Russia, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday during a visit to Moscow.

'I've talked to many British businesses. I have no doubt about their ambition to work in Russia, but it's also clear that the concerns that continue to make them hold back are real,' Cameron told students at the Moscow State University.

'They need to know that they can go to a court confident that a contract will be enforced objectively and that their assets and premises won't be unlawfully taken away from them. In the long run, the rule of law is what delivers stability and security,' he said.

Cameron is accompanied by a large business delegation on the first visit by a British prime minister to Russia since 2005.

He said Britain and Russia still disagree over the death of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

'We still disagree with you over the Litvinenko case. On that, let me say this. Our approach is simple and principled. When a crime is committed that is a matter for the courts. It is their job to examine the evidence impartially and to determine innocence or guilt,' Cameron said.

Cameron is expected to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his brief visit.

Speaking before his departure from London, Cameron said he hoped the two countries could make progress and cooperate for mutual benefit.

'Although our differences in recent years are well known, we face many similar challenges and both the president and I believe that we can make more progress by working together on matters of real importance for the prosperity and security of people in both countries,' he said.

Alexander Litvinenko, a former spy of the Russian federal security service, FSB and KGB, escaped prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in Britain. He wrote two books, where he accused the secret services of staging bombings to bring Vladimir Putin to power.

In November 2006, Litvinenko became the first confirmed victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome, according to media reports.

Later, Britain accused Putin's secret agents of murdering Litvinenko.

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