European Affairs

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 3rd June 2010.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe 5:45 pm, 3rd June 2010

I thank Chris Bryant for his welcome to me on my first appearance in my new ministerial capacity in a European Union debate. If he looks at the repeated comments of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary in opposition and since we came to office, he will see that, although we have said that we hope for a better relationship with Russia than has been the case in recent years, we do not regard it as something to be entered into lightly. We certainly expect Russia to abide by her international obligations, and events such as the occupation of territory, which is legitimately part of Georgia, are unacceptable. We are all too aware of the implications of the Litvinenko case and Moscow's refusal so far to respond. Although our approach to Moscow will be positive-we hope for Russia's co-operation on important global issues, such as counter-terrorist efforts and countering the threat of nuclear proliferation from Iran and other countries-it will also be cautious.

The hon. Gentleman will be all too aware of the complexities of the dispute in Cyprus, but the Government are intent on being energetic in supporting the relevant parties in seeking an agreement leading to the reunification of the island. That would be the best thing for both communities.

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