Medvedev to host British foreign secretary: Kremlin

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is to host British Foreign Secretary William Hague when he visits Moscow this week, the first such meeting amid strained ties, the Kremlin said.

The meeting will be on Wednesday, the Kremlin said in a statement, adding only that Hague's visit was at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia and Britain have spoken of resetting their frigid bilateral relations -- in a similar way to the recent warming of Moscow-Washington relations -- since the Conservative-Liberal coalition took power in Britain.

But attempts to improve ties have long been stymied by a bitter dispute over the murder of a Kremlin critic in London in 2006 that badly chilled relations ever since.

Russia has always dismissed Britain's calls for the extradition of Russian lawmaker Andrei Lugovoi, the main suspect in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, but London has stood by its position.

A trip to Moscow by Hague's Labour predecessor David Miliband in November 2009 was the first visit by a British foreign secretary for five years but he was not given the chance of a meeting with Medvedev.

© 2010 AFP

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